Jobs program welcomes students

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 1, 2010

NATCHEZ — Life won’t be easy, but it can be rewarding.

That was the message students in the Natchez High School Jobs for Mississippi Graduates program heard from local leaders Thursday. The speakers and students attended a special ceremony to kick of the year’s participation.

JMG is a private, non-profit program aimed at providing at-risk, public-school students with the transitional skills they need to be successful after school.

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The local program, led by Linda Bowers, is dedicated to enforcing the importance of education and helping to develop working skills in students. Bowers, upon introduction, gave a teary-eyed welcome.

“I get very emotional,” she said. “I want them to succeed. These are my kids. I drive here every day from Liberty, and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Among the speakers sharing a few words with students was Natchez Mayor Jake Middleton.

“Lead by example, you never know who is watching you,” Middleton said.

Those in positions of success and authority must always treat others with respect and to watch their actions and words, Middleton said, because you never know who is watching and listening.

Circuit Court Judge Lillie Blackmon Sanders told the teens to be wary of what they are posting online social network sites and to pick their friends carefully.

“People will judge you by the company you keep,” Sanders said. “Birds of a feather flock together.”

Sanders also told the students to put others first.

“The road to success is not easy,” she said. “Failure is a part of life. Even the most successful have experienced failure.”

Other speakers at the ceremony were Natchez High Principal Cleveland Moore, Assistant Principal Jerry Knight and Superintendent Anthony Morris.

Several students also received awards and titles during the ceremony.

John Givens and Denzel Stewman were named coordinators of career preparation. Michael Washington was named coordinator of civic activities. Joshua Bacon was named coordinator for leadership development. Erlisha Tenner was named association secretary and coordinator of social activities. Curtisha Knight was named association treasurer and historian. Asia Holloway was named association vice president and coordinator of community service, and Clarnecia Arbuthnot was named association president.

“We’ve learned a lot in this program. We do community service and we’ve been taught how to write resumes,” student Holloway said.