Gov. Cooper visits Enka Middle for National Volunteers Week

Governor Roy Cooper visited students and parents at Enka Middle School on Tuesday. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Gov. Roy Cooper visited students and parents at Enka Middle School on Tuesday.

The visit was part of his efforts to bring attention to National Volunteer Week.

The middle school offers free tutoring and dinner weekly through a partnership with the United Way, Green Opportunities, the county, the school district and Asheville-Buncombe Middle Grades Network. The program is called Homework Diner.

Seventh-grader Eli Dougherty has been attending the program with his parents since early in the school year. They were one of several families who got to sit down with the governor Tuesday evening.

Dougherty's mother Traci Wallace appreciates the extra help.

"I don't have to spend time trying to make the meal and help with homework," said Wallace. "And some of the homework questions I don't understand, they can help him."

Dougherty hopes to become an engineer when he grows up. He does his homework alongside his mother, who is studying at UNC Asheville to get her teaching license.

Cooper spoke to Wallace about the investment he would like to see in teachers. He hopes the Homework Diner program can be launched across the state. Right now, it is offered at Enka, Asheville and Erwin middle schools. Organizers hope to start it at Owen Middle School next school year.

"You know, I'm dealing with a super-majority Republican legislature," said Cooper. "We've been talking about investment in education and teacher salaries for one thing. A number of Republicans have said where they can do better with teacher salaries and my answer to that is great. It doesn't matter who gets credit, as long as we get the job done."

On Monday, the governor helped deliver meals to seniors who are served by Meals on Wheels. Later this week, he will be helping Habitat for Humanity with homes impacted by Hurricane Matthew.

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