Miss Mississippi promotes childhood education

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Ebony Pollard and her son Antwoine Pollard look on as Miss Mississippi 2002 Jennifer Adcock tells Alfonzo Pollard and his brother, Anfernee Rawls, a story about the ruby slippers pinned to her shirt Tuesday at the Pollard’s home in Valley Court. (The Vicksburg Post/Melanie Duncan)

[07/31/02] Miss Mississippi Jennifer Adcock wore her ruby red slippers pin during visits with 15 Vicksburg families Tuesday as a reminder “there’s no place like home” for learning.

“My goal has been to help parents understand their role in the development of their children,” she said.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Adcock, who turned 22 Monday, is a Hattiesburg resident who was crowned Miss Mississippi July 6 on the Vicksburg Convention Center stage. She remains in Vicksburg preparing to represent the state in the Miss America Pageant in September.

Her platform is early childhood education, and, as part of it, she encourages parents to read to their children for 30 minutes each day to help the children increase word recognition and vocabulary.

It was in “The Wizard of Oz” that Dorothy tapped the heels of her red slippers while remembering the importance of home. The sparkling button, Adcock believes, can help her create awareness for early childhood development.

“There’s no place like home to start education,” Adcock said.

Vicksburg Housing Authority Executive Director Jim Stirgus invited Adcock to visit families living in Rolling Acres, Valley Court, Urban Court, Waltersville Estates and Beechwood Estates.

“I try to talk to my kids every day about how good it is to go to school,” said Larissa Parson, who lives in Rolling Acres. “I try to do my best as a single parent raising my kids.” Parson, 24, is a student at Hinds Community College.

“If we really want to help out in the country, we’re going to have to go to the grass roots,” Stirgus said.

“I thought this would be a good effort to motivate these parents and get Miss Adcock to see real need for early childhood education.”

Adcock handed out literature with information on local programs, including phone numbers to Head Start centers, the Vicksburg Warren School District and the Warren County Health Department.

She also encouraged parents to spend time playing with their children and to have their children immunized.

“There are windows of opportunity where development must happen,” she said. “What’s most important during development happens between birth and 3 years old.”

“This is going to be a big impact on their self-esteem,” said Rita Cutley, occupancy director at the housing authority. “This will be a big booster for them.”