Chamber hears about community based instruction

By Sara Patrick

The Amite Chamber of Commerce met at the Boston Restaurant last Wednesday for their monthly luncheon. This month, Amite High School Principal Renee Carpenter brought two guest speakers to discuss the life skills and community-based instruction of special education students. 

Chamber President Claire Bel opened the meeting at noon with a greeting before inviting Carol Brooke to make a few announcements. Brooke introduced 2017 Oyster Queen Kallin McDaniel and told everyone that the Oyster Queens would be painting faces at the Amite Market that weekend. Then she asked local business owners to help the Chamber put together their directory. 

“We’re doing another directory. We did this one in 2014, and it was a tremendous success,” said Brooke. “Patti Roubique is going around selling advertisement. We’re working on editorial. If you could look at one and see anything we need to do different, you can give me a call or the Chamber office. These are really beneficial.”

Brooke also made an announcement about the Northshore Focus meeting on May 17. She said members from all Chambers of Commerce in the state attend this meeting at the state capitol. 

Then Darrell Michael with Runners for Heroes presented a $10,000 check to Craig Brower of Disabled American Veterans. 

“We appreciate this donation,” said Brower. “This donation will go to help strengthen our mission of fulfilling our promises to those who have served this great nation.”

Brower spoke of the DAV’s services for veterans. He said that recently a staff member met Donald Barriner, an 82-year-old veteran who had been injured in Korea in 1951, but had never been awarded the Purple Heart. The DAV filled out the paperwork, and Barriner was awarded his Purple Heart earlier this month in a ceremony on the USS Kidd in Baton Rouge. 

“We take this personally,” said Brower. “We can relate because we are veterans ourselves. We appreciate it. This is where your donations are going. We’re helping each other.”

After the presentation of the check to Brower, Carpenter introduced her first guest speaker, Kathy Currier, who took over the community-based instruction program at Amite High this past year. 

“We want all of our students to be prepared for college, but for those who choose to go straight to the workplace out of high school, our jobs are just as important to those students,” said Carpenter. “We want to make sure we are doing everything we can at Amite High School to ensure these students leave with the skill sets, responsibility, and work ethic to be your valuable employees one day.” 

Currier showed pictures of students learning about kitchen safety, basic cooking skills, fire safety, and other things. After learning some basic skills, the CBI program takes the students to visit job sites including the Amite Fire Department, the Tangipahoa Landfill, the Courthouse, Northshore Technical Community College, and even Painting with a Twist for basic art education. 

“Community-based instruction includes job training and life skills training,” said Currier. “The goal of our program is to set students on the path to become independent community members.”

Then David Drude, support teacher for secondary education in Tangipahoa Parish, told Chamber members about upcoming additions to Amite’s current CBI program. 

Drude said the school recently received a grant and bought PAES labs with the money. These labs are a simulation of a day in the workforce where students will start their day by punching in and then performing a job or skill in the classroom. The CBI program will start students off with these labs, teach them basic skills, then bring them out into the community, and eventually have them working jobs and internships with local businesses.

The next Chamber luncheon will be held on Wednesday, June 8, at noon at the Florida Parishes Arena. The event will feature catering by Mike’s Catfish Inn, and Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pearson will speak. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, or $120 to reserve a table for eight people.


P.O. Box 698
Amite, LA 70422
Phone: 985-748-7156
Fax: 985-748-7104

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