“Principle For a Day” Program Helps Harlem Middle School Fund Resources For Students


HARLEM, GEORGIA – Harlem Middle School students will create the future this fall.

Earlier this year, the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce paired businesses with schools through an initiative called Principle for a day. Kendrick Paint and Body was paired with Harlem Middle School.

Owners of the body shop say the school wanted to introduce Makerspace.

The program allows students to learn science and technology in a hands-on way in schools.

Kendrick Paint and Body funded the $10,000 dollar educational tool and the Columbia County Board of Education donated the space for the classroom.

“It’s important to us because we want the kids to have on-hands experience and we feel like this will give them the hands on experience to get them started at an earlier age instead of high school,” Kendrick Paint and Body Chief Operating Officer Tracy Bryant said.

The program steams from the possibility of a massive shortage of trade-workers by the year 2030.

Statement from Columbia County Chamber: 

Tracy Bryant with Kendrick Paint and Body participated in the Columbia County Chamber’s Principal for a Day program in December 2014. This program pairs a business executive and a principle together to share best practices and to discuss future workforce needs. Principal for a Day is a part of the Chamber’s Workforce and Education initiatives. Principal for a Day brings local business leaders directly to the schools. The executives are paired one-on-one with a principle in each of the 31 Columbia County schools.They spend the day shadowing the principal, learning the realities of leading a public school.

Because of this program, Tracy and Mrs. Carla Shelton, Principal for Harlem Middle School, began discussing the needs of the school. Mrs. Shelton expressed how important it was for students to have hands on learning. She wanted her STEM students to be able to put things together; to actually go in and create. A project like the Makerspace would “develop critical thinking at an earlier stage,” said Shannon Moore, Media Specialist for Harlem Middle School. Moore expressed the ability for students to put ideas in to practice.

With the idea in mind, Columbia County Board of Education moved a portable (double wide trailer) out to Harlem Middle School. Kendrick Paint and Body then began work on making this in to a usable space. They repainted it, and built tables. Ample shelving was brought in and they purchased printers. Tracy Bryant stated that Kendrick Paint and Body has over $10,000 invested in this project. “The Makerspace is over a year in the making and it all began when I visited Harlem Middle School as a part of Principal for a Day,” said Bryant. The Makerspace is the only one like it in the area, and the first school in Columbia County to create a facility like this one. Bryant wanted to give the students a reason to “look forward to coming to school.”

Tammy Shepherd, President/CEO for Columbia County Chamber, is elated for this project to have “originated through a relationship that started with the Chamber’s Principal for a Day program.” Shepherd says, “Seeing our workforce and education program be the catalyst for such an inaugural and important component in the Columbia County School system gives us great pride in what our Chamber is doing for our county.”

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