Pictured, left to right: Jeremiah Smith, Boyce Upholt, Sarah Brown and Jon Delperdang.
The Teach For America Graduate Fellows Program at Delta State hosted “Connect & Celebrate” at the Delta Music Institute April 14. The event’s purpose was to honor and celebrate the inaugural graduating cohort from the two-year TFA Graduate Fellows Program. The graduating group, Cohort 1, consists of eight TFA fellows from around the state of Mississippi.
The program is a two-year fellowship funded by the Hearin Foundation, with the goal of retaining TFA alumni in Mississippi. Each year since 2016, the program has identified a select group of 8-12 TFA alumni who desire to continue their careers in Mississippi.
During the fellowship, participants pursue a graduate degree at Delta State, while also working to design and develop a social entrepreneurship project. Through the project, fellows work to find solutions to some of the toughest challenges facing the state.
During the Connect & Celebrate event, four of the graduating fellows from the inaugural group shared stories from their two-year journey. Speakers included:
-Jon Delperdang, director of Greenville Renaissance Scholars
-Boyce Upholt, author of “Between The Levees”
-Sarah Brown, author of “Student Data Journal”
-Jeremiah Smith, founder and director of Rosedale Freedom Project
Other graduating fellows include: James Forte, who assisted with Clarksdale Collegiate Public School Charter School; Javier Peraza, who founded Jackson Kids Code; Jena Howie, who founded Magnolia Coin; and Kandace Stevenson, who has focused on serving Greenville, Mississippi.
Fellows in Cohort 2 closed the event with a conversation about their project goals as they begin their second year as fellows. Guests were then encouraged to connect with fellows and share resources, connections, and work to establish a support system in Mississippi.
Fellows in Cohort 2 include: Lucas Rapasarda, Kaitlyn Barton, AK Suggs, MK Honeycutt, Alexis Williams, Latasha Capers, Charlotte Arrowsmith, Catie Denham, Leigh Hill, JJ Townsend, and Sean Brown.
“The TFA Graduate Fellows Program would like to extend a huge thanks to everyone who joined us to celebrate the fellows and this amazing journey they’re on to make Mississippi a greater place to live,” said Harrison Wood, program coordinator. “This was truly a special event. We were able to honor and celebrate our first cohort’s growth and accomplishments, while also actively working to provide resources and support as Cohort 2 starts their second year in the fall of 2018.”
For more information on the program and service opportunities, visit www.tfafellows.com, or find the program on Instagram @tfafellows and Facebook. The program is funded through a grant from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation. The principal goal of the foundation is to contribute to the overall economic advancement of the state of Mississippi by making funds available to four-year colleges and universities and graduate professional schools located in the state.