Community, schools at heart of HTC

  • Sunshot by Michael Hall — Seventh-grader Wyatt Zimmerman, left, shows HTC president Randy Daniel his work recently at Hart County Middle School. HTC is a regular supporter of the Hart County Charter System.
    Sunshot by Michael Hall — Seventh-grader Wyatt Zimmerman, left, shows HTC president Randy Daniel his work recently at Hart County Middle School. HTC is a regular supporter of the Hart County Charter System.
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By Anna Hall
Hart Co. Charter System

Community is not a word Randy Daniel takes lightly. It is, instead, a word that encompasses his drive for overseeing a business, for raising a family and for devoting special attention to what he knows to be the core of success.
It is this sense of devotion to community, notably to Hart County, that drives Daniel to invest in the local school system. As president of Hart Telephone Company and a Hart County native, Daniel takes every opportunity he can to support the Hart County Charter System, be it from a personal perspective or through HTC operations.
“One of five core values of HTC is community,” Daniel said. “Without that, without a strong sense of community, we all lose. Any time we can give back, we do. Education is at the center of strong community. You can’t have one without the other.”
Anyone who has ever been to a Hart County athletic event has seen the HTC logo plated firmly, somewhere, along the sidelines, be it on the scoreboard of a football game or along the fence of a tennis court. HTC makes its presence known in Hart County schools, but that, likewise, stretches beyond the bleachers. It also goes into the schools as a supporting factor.
The company has members on the College and Career Academy board, helping steer the innovative institute in a positive direction. It also supports the Technology Student Association organization and the REACH Hart Community Education Foundation, all among other investments within the educational network at play in Hart County.
“I may be repeating myself, but it can’t be said enough. We can’t be a strong company, be a strong community, if we don’t have strong schools,” Daniel said. “Strong schools mean good doctors, a good newspaper, a good business front and good employees. A good community means we are all connected and that draws in new residents and keeps current residents here. It creates a thriving environment in which to grow a family, develop strong, educated children and be ever-evolving to be better, as a whole community. It’s all interconnected.”
Daniel would know. Being a Hart County native and a graduate of Hart County High School, he raised three children in the community, two of which are now at the University of Georgia and one who is at the high school. He moved from Hart County to attend Mercer University in Macon, but after graduation, came back home and began working for HTC, a business he has been with for some 30 years.
During his decades connected to the county, he has admittedly seen his fair share of growth, especially within the confines of the educational system. The creation of the College and Career Academy marked a major move into the modern world of teaching skills to students beyond textbooks. The amped up academics of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Technology (STEAM) has indeed been an encouraging aspect of the county’s academic outlook, Daniel said. The creation of the Lonnie Burns Fine Arts Center has allowed students, even his own three children who took part in band, a space to showcase their achievements and talents. The building of the AgriScience Center has offered the county space for conventions, conferences and community gatherings.
“These changes and improvement are all major assets to our community,” he said.
Most recently, the renovation of Hart County Middle School has proven to be an asset for the community, he said.
On a recent tour of the middle school with assistant principal Trae Jones, Daniel learned more about recent renovations to the school, as well as the school’s sharper focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineer, Arts and Math) initiatives and the REACH Hart scholarship program. Daniel’s time at the school with Jones can be seen throughout the month on HTC, with the #OneHartBeat campaign video. The video was created by Hart County High School production teacher Greg Gaines and several of his freshman
students.