MAPE Recognizes Efforts to Reduce Dropout Rate

By: Ashley Conroy Email
By: Ashley Conroy Email

The Mississippi Association of Partners in Education Thursday held its 25th annual Governor's Awards.

Former Governor Ronnie Musgrove shook hands with and congratulated winners on their efforts.

"I tell people all the time the best economic engine in your community is your school house," said Musgrove.

This year's theme was "Weathering Tough Times Through Strong Partnerships". Several agencies were recognized for their efforts to try to improve education in Mississippi.

Darlene Carter, founder of Moss Point Visionary Circle, on the Gulf Coast, was awarded for non-profit efforts in helping students at schools affected by Katrina get focused.

"It was kind of getting out of control," said Carter. "The kids didn't have anything to do. We started a mentor program. We started a character education program. We gave them talent shows to compete in."

Entergy, Inc. was another winning agency that was awarded for its efforts in helping Wingfield High School in Jackson.

"Last year we just realized, 'hey we need to kick it up a notch.' We need to get more involved with the students, get more of our employees involved in the adopt-a-school partnerships," said Entergy spokesperson Liz Brister.

Entergy works with fifteen different schools throughout the state. Brister said she thinks that jobs in the energy business will be booming in the future. It's a reason, she says, to help students get prepared now.

"Teachers there have prepared special science, and math, and engineering classes, helping the students take more advance classes," Brister.

Keynote speaker, Beto Gonzalez, is the superintendent of Mercedes Independent School District in Texas. He shared his experience growing up in a migrant family where he says his teachers were his inspiration.

Gonzalez came to Mississippi to share his vision of why partnering agencies are critical for students in education.

"It's when we tend to just leave education up to the school that we don't get a chance to really develop the entire child," Gonzalez said.

Musgrove said he hopes everyone in Mississippi can put priorities back on education.

"I want you to know that opportunity to me is spelled out, and made meaningful in people's lives at the school house," Musgrove said.

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