The future of Vernon Parish's children in its education system was the focus at Fort Polk Thursday, as the much-heralded and eagerly-anticipated Fort Polk Progress Education Symposium was held at the Bayou Theater.The future of Vernon Parish's children in its education system was the focus Thursday here, as the much-heralded and eagerly-anticipated Fort Polk Progress Education Symposium was held at the Bayou Theater.

FORT POLK — The future of Vernon Parish’s children in its education system was the focus Thursday here, as the much-heralded and eagerly-anticipated Fort Polk Progress Education Symposium was held at the Bayou Theater.

The general session began at 9 a.m., which started with South Polk Elementary second-grader Katie Kennison leading the Pledge of Allegiance and the Vernon Middle School choir sharing their gift of music with the attendees.

The Symposium’s intent was to focus on explore the relationship between education and the workforce; to take a closer look at the Common Core State Standards and goals for the LA4 program; how Vernon Parish schools compare on the national level; and the programs, tools, technologies and opportunities available for Vernon Parish parents and students.

Guest speaker Jamie Vollmer described his own experience growing up in school.

Among other speakers were Superintendent of Vernon Parish Schools Jackie Self; Brig. Gen. William Hickman, commanding general of Fort Polk and the Joint Readiness Training Center; Paul Sawyer with Louisiana Economic Development; Kerry Laster with the Louisiana Department of Education; and representative of the Rapides Foundation.

Additionally, Fort Polk Progress gave away seven 529 College Savings Plans and a $1,000 to one Vernon Parish school best represented at the symposium.

The full story will be printed in the Sunday edition of the Leesville Daily Leader.