WCEDD provides a ‘Salute to Success’

By Joseph McCain The Winston County Journal

They are the top 5 percent and they were recently recognized for their academic efforts. The Honor Students from all five schools in the county were recently honored with a Salute to Success breakfast with featured speaker Chief Phyliss Anderson of the Choctaw Nation. Gerald Mills of the Winston County Economic Development District Partnership opened the event and explained how the WCEDD works with the schools in the county to help promote an educated workforce to help make a better Winston County. Several elected officials spoke to the group of students to recognize their efforts in the classroom and encourage them to work hard for the future. District 43 Representative Michael Evans noted his encouragement and discussed his support of scholarships for all the schools in the county. Louisville Mayor Will Hill congratulated the students on their present success. “This is a distinct honor to recognize the very top of the young people in our community,” said Mayor Hill. “The Getcha Head in the Game program is working with you to help you succeed and go onto college.” Noxapater Mayor Tommie Gardner encouraged the students to bring their knowledge and skills back home to Winston County. “We hope each of you go onto college and prepare yourself for the future and come back home to Winston County,” said Noxapater Mayor Tommie Gardner. Chief Anderson who was the featured speaker for the breakfast encouraged the students, discussed the future tribal projects. “I encourage you to pursue higher education,” said Chief Anderson. “You are the ones going to make a difference.” Anderson also outlined the tribes’ plans to update its healthcare facilities, plans to update the resort and have the water park ready for this summer. The Louisville Municipal School District in conjunction with the Winston County Economic Development Partnership and Mississippi State University gained the “Getcha Your Head in the Game” program through the Mississippi Higher Education Initiative, which is funded through a grant. Over the three years of the grant, it has funded the Salute to Success breakfast, an ACT workshop, three financial aid workshops, several trips to community colleges and universities for local students, and other events to encourage local students to further their education. Funds were also used to create promotional items for in-state colleges on the wall of the Winston-Louisville Vocational Center. The grant funds have also helped fund the Mississippi Scholars Banquet last year with this years event set for May 4. The grant is being used for educational attainment programs that help local students better plan and prepare to attend a college or university. “Educated citizens are the key to economic development,” said Mills. The grant is a partnership between Mississippi State and the Appalachian Regional Commission, MS-HEI developed from a $339,000 ARC grant provided the $10,000 in funding for the local program. The grant advisors hope to gain similar funds next year and continue students to follow a proven path of better education for a better life according to Mills. They hope to provide more trips to college campuses, more college preparation workshops and other encouragers such as a free T-shirt for those who make plans to further their education