STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - Former Georgia Governor Zell Miller passed away Friday morning at age 86.
Miller's education reforms came with a state lottery paying the tab. It included the HOPE Scholarship for college students in Georgia. Miller also launched another initiative for the state's pint-sized students. Lottery-funded Pre-K has now helped three million Georgia four-year-olds get their educations off to an early start.
Pre-K classrooms in Bulloch County and across Georgia owe their existence to Zell Miller and the lottery that funded them. Many of the youngest teachers in the state themselves went through Pre-K when it first started. Directors in Bulloch County say it not only teaches students some of the building blocks like letters, numbers, shapes, and colors, but also the social skills of getting along with others, teamwork, and following rules to make them better students throughout their careers.
"Pre-K gives an extra boost that wouldn't have that opportunity any other time, and would have to wait until they're five-years-old to attend school," said Dr. Yvette Ledford, Bulloch County Schools.
Dr. Ledford says it's especially worth noting that Miller passed during this school year as Georgia Pre-K celebrates its 25th Anniversary.