Chatham County residents strongly support education and lifelong learning. That is evident by the passing of three bond referendums since 1989, for six new schools; Silk Hope, Bonlee, Bennett, North Chatham, Chatham Middle and Perry Harrison. Two new schools have been constructed within the past eight years. Virginia Cross Elementary opened in October 2007 and Margaret B. Pollard Middle school opened in January 2011. The positive consequences of lifelong learning cannot be overstated. For this reason, Chatham County Schools highly encourages parental and community involvement.
Providing for the community use of public school facilities and encouraging citizens to participate actively in education at all levels continue to be primary goals of Chatham County Schools. The partnership of community and school provides the necessary atmosphere for children to become responsible adults. Chatham County Schools firmly believes that parental involvement and dedicated volunteers truly make a difference in children's lives.
A major component of community schools is a county-wide volunteer program. More than one thousand volunteers provide services to the schools each year. One of the largest volunteer programs is the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Thrift Shop. PTA Thrift Shop volunteers provide countless hours of service and have raised over $8.5 million for the schools.
The Chatham Education Foundation, a private not-for-profit organization, includes members from the business, education and professional communities. Grants, mini-grants and other special projects provide a continuous flow of supplemental support for education.
More than 25 colleges, universities and technical institutes are located within a 50-mile radius of the county, many of which offer graduate programs. Several of the most popular are UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke and North Carolina State University.
Chatham County and surrounding areas offer a variety of opportunities for leisure and recreational activities. Chatham's central location provides close proximity to both North Carolina beaches and mountains. Nearby Jordan Lake offers 150 miles of shoreline and opportunities for boating, fishing, water-skiing and camping. Golf, tennis, and organized sporting activities are also available locally. The world-renowned North Carolina Zoological Park is located in nearby Asheboro. Cultural events including concerts, symphonies, dance performances, art exhibits and cultural performances, take place throughout the year in neighboring cities.