Since 1845, the City of Oaks has been home to the only school in North Carolina that educates the visually impaired. The Governor Morehead School celebrates a long and rich history while continuing to serve our community today.
For former student Matthew Bazemore, the Governor Morehead School gave him more than a great education.
“From all the trained teachers and staff here that work with people who are blind and visually impaired and all the resources I had. I was able to play sports again. I was able to travel places outside of state like Boston and West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania. And it was just a great opportunity. And you know, when I think of the Governor Morehead School I think of opportunities because that’s what it gave me.”
Those opportunities do not end once you turn the tassel. The Governor Morehead School Alumni Association continues to support their students in the new classroom called life. In his second year as President of the Alumni Association, Fred McEachern’s mission is to propel all GMS students toward their dreams.
“My focus is to help the visually impaired, the deaf and the disabled to match their skill level with the types of jobs that are available. And we may have to do some training. But our mission is to really get in there and work with kids, like Matt, to have pre-transitional skills to move into better facilities.”
Bazemore is incredibly thankful for the Alumni Association and their constant presence in his life.
“Even after I’ve moved on and living on my own, they’re always reaching out saying ‘Hey, is there anything we can do to help out? Is there anything you need?’ And you know, if I ever need anything, I can always contact them and contact Mr. McEachern if needed. And he’s always on it and the Alumni Association is always on it.”
The pandemic not only affected the Alumni Association’s fundraising, it also brought challenges to their current students.
“The school was impacted because we had to go virtual. And that was an experience within itself. It’s difficult for most visual students, or the normal students to do virtual learning using a computer, and it’s extremely hard for those that are visually impaired. But we can do that. And we have been able to help them transition to virtual learning,” says McEachern.
Whether it is in the classroom, at home or in life, GMS will stop at nothing to prepare their students. To continue their mission, they need your help.
The Governor Morehead School is producing literature and information in both Braille and large print. GMS has manual Braille writers for their current students, but they are also in need of Braille embossers, manual Braille writers and other items for alumni use.
The vision doesn’t stop locally. The Alumni Association wants to extend their reach beyond our state borders.
“We are an organization that is not just a social organization to have fun and to go out and party. We want to help the visually impaired, blind and deaf of North Carolina, and eventually the entire United States,” emphasizes McEachern.
Once you walk the halls of GMS, you join more than a school body. You find a forever family.
“If you’ve never heard of the Governor Morehead School, just think of a family. That’s who we are. A family who likes to reach out and support other people. Rather if you’re blind, deaf you know, or visual or not, they’re always wanting to reach out and help out and connect with the community as much as they can,” says Bazemore.
To learn more about the Governor Morehead School, visit https://www.governormorehead.net/.
To discover more about the Governor Morehead School Alumni Association and how you can help, visit https://gmsaai.org/.