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TFA Graduate Fellows host day of service

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The Teach For America Graduate Fellows Program at Delta State University hosted their first Service Day on June 3 at the Rosedale Freedom Project (RFP) in Rosedale.

Two current fellows, Jeremiah Smith and Lucas Rapisarda, have dedicated their social entrepreneurship project to serving the RFP, a leadership program that works to prepare middle and high school students to be leaders in their schools, communities and collegiate pursuits.

The fellows, RFP and a group of volunteers came together to support cleanup efforts at RFP. They were joined by friends and families, RFP students, RFP summer interns from around the country, and doctoral candidates who teach during the Freedom Summer. The group spent the day preparing RFP for Freedom Summer 2017 by revitalizing the basketball court, cleaning the inside of the building, classrooms and library, and working in the RFP garden.

Each summer, RFP hosts Freedom Summer, a five-week summer school program, offering seventh through ninth grade Freedom Fellows rigorous instruction in reading and math; creative opportunities in visual arts and drama; and access to health and wellness training through fitness, gardening, and a healthy lunch program. After completing the academic portion of the summer, Freedom Fellows travel to Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee to camp in the wilderness, visit civil rights monuments and museums, and learn more about the deep history of empowerment and social justice in the South.

Smith said he was thrilled to utilize joint resources between Delta State and TFA.

“The Teach for America Graduate Fellows program has allowed me the opportunities and resources necessary to make the Rosedale Freedom Project a reality,” said Smith. “The support, resources and education that I’ve benefited from at Delta State has helped me to organize community members, build a strong and diverse staff, enlist supporters, and plan a rigorous summer program that promotes leadership within the community.

“At the RFP, young people take ownership over their growth as leaders and community members. Opportunities like the Service Day are perfect demonstrations of how our fellows and our staff see their role in Rosedale holistically — we do not simply provide fellows with educational opportunities. Rather, we contribute to and engage with the community; we strengthen intergenerational and interracial bonds; and we bring vision, drive and passion to the challenging but rewarding task of social change.”

Harrison Wood, program coordinator for the Teach For America Graduate Fellows Program, was thrilled to see progress made through the fellowship.

“Thanks to support from the Hearin Foundation, Delta State and TFA came together to make these partnerships possible,” said Harrison Wood, program coordinator. “The TFA Graduate Fellows Program provides TFA alumni the opportunity to continue their education in Delta State’s graduate school, while also helping to reimagine what is possible for Mississippi. Each TFA Fellow works on an individualized social entrepreneurship project that will ultimately have positive social impact in communities throughout Mississippi.”

Learn more about program at http://www.tfafellows.com.

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Literacy Across the Curriculum Institute kicks off

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Delta State University’s College of Education and Human Sciences kicked off its 13th Literacy Across the Curriculum Institute (LACI) for teachers of grades 6-12 on June 1.

The institute, which runs June 1-28, is designed to enable teachers in middle and secondary schools to effectively incorporate the teaching of literacy skills in their respective content areas.

LACI’s curriculum is rigorous and broad in scope to enable both new and experienced teachers to attain highly qualified status according to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Participants gain skills regarding the Mississippi Curriculum Frameworks, test blueprints provided by the Mississippi Department of Education, College and Career Ready Standards, national standards, and data driven instruction and performance based assessments.

“The institute provides teachers with a whole new toolbox of literacy strategies to help struggling and proficient readers become stronger students in all academic areas, not just literacy,” said Dr. Merideth Van Namen, institute director. “This helps students perform better on their state tests and ultimately, be more successful.”

LACI is provided through the support of the No Child Left Behind Act: Improving Teacher Quality State Grant.

Participants in this year’s programming represent various school districts from the Mississippi Delta who are eager to improve their classroom instruction and student performance. They will attend the 22-day institute, which includes 20 days in June and a spring and fall follow up session.

The administrative staff for 2017-18 includes Van Namen; Pam Maxwell, instructor; and Dr. Cheryl Cummins, instructor. For more information, contact Van Namen at mvannamen@deltastate.edu or 662-846-4412.

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Upholt paddles “Big River”

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Sleeping under the stars, rising with the sun to the sounds of the Mississippi River, paddling daily in a handcrafted canoe — Boyce Upholt, a graduate student at Delta State University, spent six weeks on the Mighty Mississippi this spring.

Upholt, a candidate for a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (geography), is documenting the “batture,” the woods between the levee and the river, as a part of his thesis.

He calls this important and little-known landscape the “walled-in wild.”

“In a way it’s the leftovers,” said Upholt. “It’s half domesticated, contained by the levee wall, with concrete lining much of the river’s edge, too. But it’s half wild, too — maybe more than half.”

See the full story and photos: http://www.deltastate.edu/photostories/2017/05/25/upholt-paddles-big-river/

 

Roger Wicker

Salute to Delta Honor Graduates held in conjunction with Delta Council Day

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The 14th annual Salute to Delta Honor Graduates will be held in conjunction with Delta Council Day on June 9. Senator Roger Wicker (left), the keynote speaker for the event, will be joined by co-host Archie Tucker, senior executive with the Department of Agriculture.

Delta Council will hold its 14th Salute to Delta Honor Graduates Event during the 82nd annual meeting of the regional organization at Delta State University on June 9.

The Honor Graduate event is slated for 9 a.m. in a tent on the parking lot outside the east entrance of the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker will be the keynote speaker for the event, and United States Department of Agriculture senior executive Archie Tucker will serve as co-host for the event.

“We are pleased that two exceptional Mississippi leaders — Senator Wicker and Mr. Tucker — will be there to underscore the importance of continuing their educational and professional pursuits to these top young men and women of the Delta,” said Cass Pennington of Indianola, Delta Council Educational Policy chairman. “The Delta Honor Graduate event is designed to raise the level of awareness of parents, teachers and our local communities of the importance of bringing these bright young minds back to the Delta after they have completed their formal and advanced education.”

Wicker, a native of Pontotoc and resident of Tupelo, has represented Mississippi in the United States Senate since December 2007. Wicker serves as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and he chairs the Subcommittee on Seapower. He is a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, serving as chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet; Environment and Public Works Committee; and the Rules Committee.  Wicker is also a member of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Congressional Board of Visitors.

Co-hosting the event will be Archie Tucker of Greenville, who is the deputy administrator of USDA’s largest Agricultural Research Service regional location in the country. Tucker’s extensive professional and civic activities have led to personal recognition including the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005 and the Herbert White Preeminence Award for Achievement in Excellence from Mississippi Valley State University, a resolution from the Mississippi House of Representatives and Parent of the Year for the 1999-2000 school year from the Mississippi State Board of Education. Additionally, Tucker is a member of several organizations including the Advisory Board of the National Society for Minorities in Agriculture, Executive Board of Alcorn State University and the National Alumni Association for MVSU.

The Honor Graduate Event is designed to bestow special honor upon two exemplary students from each of the high schools throughout the Mississippi Delta Region, including public, parochial and private schools. Students are selected by school administrators based on grade point average, extracurricular activities and community service.

In addition, a $2,500 scholarship will be awarded to the top Delta Honor Graduate as selected by higher education officials in the Delta, to help defray tuition and expenses as the student’s college of choice sees fit. The top Delta Honor Graduate will be recognized on stage at the Delta Council annual meeting during the Business Session, which begins at 10:30 a.m. Wicker will also be on hand to introduce the keynote speaker for the 82nd Annual Meeting, United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

Sponsors for the meeting: BankPlus, Catfish Farmers of Mississippi, Cotton, Inc., Sanders, Mississippi Corn Promotion Board, Mississippi Rice Promotion Board, Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board, and Southern Ag Credit/Mississippi Land Bank.

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Spring graduates receive degrees – Fireside Chat

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Joining President LaForge are three students who graduated this past Saturday.

This spring, Delta State awarded degrees to more than 430 students. The university also awarded honorary degrees to Lucy and Paul Janoush. Lucy, who was named Delta State’s Alumnus of the Year in 2015, has been a dedicated supporter of the university and was instrumental in the completion of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi. Paul, also an alumnus, has not only supported Delta State, but has been deeply involved in youth and scouting activities in the Bolivar County community.

In other news on campus, it is time again for Delta State’s summer camps, and there are a wide variety of opportunities ranging from athletics to music to art. For more information and to register, visit www.deltastate.edu/summercamps. And, summer school classes begin May 30, and it’s not too late to register. To see a full list of courses available, visit www.deltastate.edu/summerschool.