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McKENZIE (July 26) — An open house and ribbon-cutting was held Friday at Webb School for a special new business. Owner and Director Renee Hobson welcomed guests and offered tours of her new …
McKENZIE (July 26) — An open house and ribbon-cutting was held Friday at Webb School for a special new business. Owner and Director Renee Hobson welcomed guests and offered tours of her new after-school program, Two Sisters And A Book.
The program is the latest chapter in the rich history of Webb School as an educational landmark. It’s also the realization of a longtime dream for Hobson, who continues her career in education in the private sector after many years in public education.
She attended Memphis State to enter the medical field, but didn’t find it fulfilling. While there, she worked at an after-school program at the Campus School and loved it. She changed her focus and eventually earned an associate’s degree at Jackson State Community College and a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Tennessee at Martin. She worked as an education assistant at Head Start and McKenzie Elementary School before earning her certification in Special Education.
She stepped down earlier this year from her position as MES Special Education teacher as the pieces began to fall into place for the new project.
The inspiration for her after-school program (and the name) came from her sister, Carol Holt, a teacher at McKenzie Head Start who ran a summer program in Milan. Hobson has also offered many after-school activities over the years at Webb School, the Housing Authority, Greater Enon Church and MES.
“This is my dream job,” Hobson told The Banner. “I’ve always known I wanted to work with kids. I’ve done several jobs... but I get the most joy when I work with students. Especially students that struggle, those are the kids that kind of grab my heart. I want to be able to help the children, to be able to help the families, and that will in turn help the community. And I want to try to close the gap between home and school. Kids get homework, and the parents don’t know how to help. And then you look at the area we’re in as well, after school, there’s nothing here for the kids to do, really. So, just being able to allow them to come to a safe environment, to get help with homework, to get snacks and to have some fun.”
Two Sisters And A Book will begin serving students in first through sixth grades on Tuesday, August 6, operating Monday through Friday from 3-6:30 p.m. The program will follow the Carroll County schools schedule of holidays, closures, etc.
The program is currently accepting applications for enrollment. There are 69 spots available on a first-come, first-served basis. The fee is $50 per week; cash will not be accepted. Qualifying families can receive assistance from the Department of Human Services; applications for assistance can be acquired from Hobson.
Two Sisters And A Book operates under all of the rules and regulations of a daycare facility, including background checks for all employees and volunteers. As it opens, Hobson will be joined by two part-time employees: her aforementioned sister, Carol Holt, and her mother, Priscilla Williamson. Bethel University’s Community Engagement program has pledged its support. Director Garrett Burns plans to provide at least one or two student volunteers daily.
Each day when students arrive, they will have snacks and then enjoy games in the Webb gymnasium. They will then study and do homework in the Webb Historical Museum. The facilities also include a resource room with several computers.
During Friday’s open house, Mayor Jill Holland said, “We are delighted to welcome this program. We think it’s going to be a wonderful service.” Hobson thanked everyone for coming, and offered special thanks to her family and to the Webb Alumni Association, without whom she says “none of this would be possible.”
Hobson lives in McKenzie with her husband, Craig. They have four children. Briana (Hamilton) is an MHS and TSU graduate, now a nurse in Clarksville. Brandon will be a freshman at the University of Memphis, studying computer engineering. Brooke and Braxton will be seniors at MHS.