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PLC gets TLC from employee
Rachael Akridge assists all Performance Learning Center students
rachel ackridge
Rachael Akridge is shown by the garden at Bulloch County's Performance Learning Center. - photo by ROGER ALLEN/special
    Bulloch County has many traditional schools, and one that is anything but. It is called the Performance Learning Center and academic coordinator Daniel Edenfield said he is proud of what the PLC has accomplished this year.
    Edenfield credits his administrative assistant, Rachael Akridge, with much of this year’s positive results. According to Edenfield, “She’s on the ‘front lines’ daily, interacting with students, staff, parents and all of the schools.”
    Edenfield explained that this year the PLC has 75 students from all three of Bulloch County’s High Schools. They come to the PLC to do both their computer-based instruction (via Nova Net) as well as their service projects.
    As the school’s primary contact person, Akridge must make sure that all students “clock-in” daily, often acting as a sympathetic ear for their numerous other issues which may be having a negative effect on their performance.
    Akridge was raised in Emanuel County. She is married to Joe Akridge, owner of Southern Maintenance and Fabricating. They have four children: 2-year-old Parker; 5-year-old Rebecca; 7-year-old Julianna; and 14-year-old Jimmy.
    Parker is a blood relative that the Akridges’ adopted after he was physically abused at the age of six months. His injuries were so severe that he spent a full year in and out of the hospital fighting for his life.
    Doctors had to install a feeding tube in his stomach and a stunt in his brain to relieve the swelling. Parker requires constant attention. Even the smallest accomplishments for Parker have been major milestones, such as when he learned how to laugh.
    Akridge came to work at the PLC from Farmer’s Furniture, where she held the job of credit manager for over seven years. As the economy worsened, the hours required to keep up with her work began to be too much for her to deal with Parker’s needs.
    Struggling with whether or not to change jobs, she was offered an interview on her wedding anniversary, a day which she had already arranged to take off. Ackridge took this happenstance as a positive sign.
    Discovering her background in finance, Edenfield hired her immediately. He described her duties “as our book-keeper, helping with registrations and the intake process, solving grading issues, and doing the staff’s payroll.”
    She continued, “Mr. Edenfield, the teachers, and me all work together real closely to monitor all of the student projects, as well as organizing blood drives and participating in cancer events, not to mention getting ready for graduation.”
    Edenfield immediately sensed that Rachael “had a good heart, and knew she’d fit right in.” Ackridge admits that “the kids here are my kids now, and the teachers and facilitators have become my family.”
    An example of how tight knit this little school is was made clear when Rachael went in for surgery. As she recovered, her mom called with some news.
    She told Rachael that the students and staff delivered a meal they had fixed to her home so that “her husband and kids wouldn’t go hungry.” Admitting she’s cried when she heard this, she declared, “I knew without a shadow of a doubt I now had a much larger family.”

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