Thanks for making Tour a success

Published 12:01 am Monday, May 21, 2018

What an amazing day. I appreciate The Natchez Democrat, May 16 editorial kudos; however, I give credit where credit is due. Natchez United and the Natchez-Adams County Educational Development Foundation celebrate local community members and Career Professionals who made this event a success.

Sponsoring Partners: Teresa Busby, Ph.D., and Zach Moulds, CoLin Natchez, and, Pam Wood and Beverly Adams, ASU, opened their campuses as the venue. Superintendent Fred Butcher and his team organized the field trip, transporting 500-plus students from Morgantown Middle, Robert Lewis Magnet and the Freshman Academy. NECA Principal Campbell recruited dozens of her quite remarkable students — shining stars of the community — to be tour guides. President Ida Anderson, CC Harper and Demetrice Anderson, NASD P-16 Council and Parents of the Year Laura Drake, NHS and Earline Kinnie, McLaurin, distributed materials and welcomed participants. NASD Board President Amos James showed support by attending as well. Co-Lin Chemistry instructor Ramaraju Ph.D. mesmerized and awed students with demonstrations of multi-colored fire, etc. for the science cluster. Natchez Airport Director, Ron Hall, NASD P-16 member also, provided triple duty representing the engineering and technology cluster with air-traffic controller simulations and aviation with drones and balsa gliders.

Arts and humanities blossomed with time-lapse videos of John Grady Burns, the Nest, demonstrating floral design and Sarah Anne Winchester, Natchez Pottery resident artist, presenting the world of clay; artifacts and artistic décor accents from Jim Smith, Natchez Architectural and Art Discoveries; local history/culture from Rebecca Martin-Anderson, Grand Village of Natchez Indians; history/archives, from Robin Pearson, Historic Jefferson College. Author/video producer/teacher, Mark LaFrancis, coordinated communications with photography/print media, live video and film. Ben Hillyer, Scott Hawkins and David Hamilton, The Natchez Democrat, discussed news/journalism and the print media field. Ellen Ayers, C-Spire, participated representing our most common sources of communication in cellular/mobile services.

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Both the law enforcement and the fire and EMS lawns delivered shock and awe demonstrations teams from Natchez PD Chief Walter Armstrong; Paulette Benefield, Aisha Norma and Chasity Ellis-Wyatt, Core Civic/Natchez Correctional Facility; and Adams-County Travis Walter Patten. EMA Director Bradford collaborated with Bennie Boone, AMR; Patricia Lozon, Air-Evac; Chief Wesley, Natchez Fire Department and Brad Shirley, new Co-Lin paramedic director, enlightened students relative to ambulance/helicopter rescue and the 911 system process.

Social Services were well-covered by teams from Neifa Hardy’s Helping Hands Counseling, and Sherlene Vance with Southwest Mississippi Mental Health, elaborating on counseling/intervention careers.

Health Care careers were a hit with pediatric Physical Therapist Cheryl Givens, and Sta-Home Health team led by NASD Board Member Dr. Renee’ Wall, sharing PT/OT careers. ASU Nursing Dean Spring, Assistant Dean Fairchild, Instructor Delores Williams, and other staff/students intrigued participants with ICU Simulations, videos, etc.

A Mayor’s Office attention-grabbing display, his staff, and Natchez-Adams County Supervisor Ricky Gray welcomed students to Law and Government and Business Career Cluster areas.  Co-Lin security/Natchez Alderman Benjamin Davis and UMB Marketing/City Alderwoman Sarah Smith, UMB, did double duty.  Army Recruiter Sgt. Antonio Haynes represented armed forces while veteran Doug McCallister, McCallister Contract Services, provided an enormous American Flag for veteran groups Point Man International Ministries Miss-Lou, VFW Post 4573, and American Legion Post 590. Tracey Miller, MDE Office of Teacher Recruitment, introduced students to education careers. Business featured Carl Clark Insurance, Michael Gray, Coldwell Banker Stewart Realty, Beverly Adams, ASU School of Business and Kenny Stewart, Concordia Bank, who also provided participant pencils.

I must thank Jay Stewart, founder/president of the NACED Foundation, for believing in our vision and starting the foundation and Teresa Dennis for providing guidance/support. I also am grateful to the young men of Natchez United who initiated efforts to support the Natchez-Adams community, and particularly to NU Member Jeremiah Rios for stepping up as event manager, ensuring that everyone involved was supported and comfortable. Finally, thanks to the students attending the event. The Career Professionals continue to sing your praises for your engagement and good behavior. You should be very proud of the impression that you made.

We will be meeting 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Grand Hotel for our regular weekly meeting to debrief and look ahead at future events. We invite you to join us, and like our Facebook group and page for updates on our efforts.

MARVIN H. Jeter III, Ph.D., is a consultant for the Natchez-Adams County Educational Development Foundation.