South Park students dive into their careers

Published 11:42 am Friday, November 18, 2016

Education is the foundation for employment.

It is a message students have heard from Vicksburg Warren School District superintendent Chad Shealy, and South Park Elementary School students got to here a similar message from a few community leaders this week.

The school held a career day Wednesday during the National Education Association’s 95th annual American Education Week. Three guest speakers told the pre-K through sixth grade students about their career, how education is important to their profession and that it takes an education to reach their occupational goals.

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“They are role models, and these children are our future leaders so it is important for them to hear from various people from the city and the county,” South Park principal Wanda Smith said.

Warren County Board of Supervisors president Richard George told students the board is a governing authority that often deals with funding in an effort to serve the public.

“Our purpose is to work towards an enhancement of the way of life that you can be proud of and look forward to for your children,” George said. “You children, while you’re in school, need to take advantage of every opportunity, particularly a day like today.”

George told students not to be afraid of making a mistake because everyone makes mistakes, but the important thing is to learn from the experience.

George then reminded students to pay attention to teachers and administrators because they have the students’ best interest in mind.

Russell Sumrall, an officer in the traffic unit of the Vicksburg Police Department, said he is one of two certified accident reconstructionist in Warren County.

“One thing I want you to leave here with today — always wear your seatbelt,” Sumrall said.

He has to do math every day in his job, he said, adding he uses the things he learned in school regularly at work. In addition to 12 years of grade school, Sumrall said he had to continue his education to become a police officer.

“Currently I’ve been to 18 weeks of school for various training at different points,” he said. “There is always something new to learn. Never stop until you get to where you want to be.”

Fourth grade student Xavier Williams introduced his dad Roderick Williams to the school.

Roderick works in information technology with Micro Systems, and his main focus is working as one of two IT specialists with the Vicksburg Warren School District. He told the children how he helps make sure the internet is working, the Wi-Fi is connecting and the server is running.

“We make sure all the computers are working,” he said, as well as maintaining the district’s new Chromebooks.

The students came to school dressed as what they wanted to be when they grew up, and many students got up in front of the school at the end of the program to state their aspirations.

“If they keep their mind set on goals, then they can become whatever they want to become,” teacher assistant and organizer Kathaleen Goodwin said. “We’re just wanting to inspire them to do better in school and learn how to be leaders so in the future they can lead. The children are our future.”

After the program, district 3 supervisor Charles Selmon visited each sixth grade class at the school to speak with them individually on a more personal level.

South Park recognized American Education Week with a full week of programming at the school.

“This year I tried to sauce it up a little bit and do something different,” Goodwin said.

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. visited Monday. Tuesday the school celebrated by having teacher day where the students got to act and dress like teachers as well as assist in the classroom.

Parents were encouraged to visit their students’ classes Thursday for parent involvement day. Then the finale was Friday where each grade presented a skit or performance about the Leader in Me leadership program the students are incorporating in their daily lives.