Students prepare all year long for the Mississippi Curriculum Test. With test time fast approaching, a little encouragement goes a long way.
"Our younger kids love our athletes so much and they love to be around them. What better way to stress the importance of state testing than by letting their role models tell them," said Diane Freeman, cheerleading coach at Meridian High School.
"When our older kids, especially our student athletes, when they come out and they're excited about a state test, then those little kids realize these older kids want to do well, too," said Sherrod Miller, assistant principal at MHS.
Cheerleaders and student athletes from the high school joined pep rallies all over the city Friday in preparation for exams.
"Having this kind of support makes the kids feel pretty good about themselves. They come in take the test, be confident," said senior Anthony Brown.
"Little kids look up to us, like we're role models to them. We're role models and it's a great thing, giving back to the community and that's what I look forward to," said MHS senior Cyrus McGowan.
"It is very important," said Dominic Spinks, also a senior at MHS. "You have to do well now so you can succeed later on in life."
Students begin taking the MCTs in the second grade. The program continues every year throughout the eighth grade. It's a measure of progress and education.
"To show steady growth, we want them at their grade level or above every year and we want the kids to continue to grow," said T.J. Harris Elementary Principal Owida Roberts.
State testing will be May 3-5, one subject per day in reading, language and mathematics."
"They've studied; they've worked hard. They've learned a lot, and the anxiety of the test, we're trying to relieve," Roberts said.