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Outstanding Teen pageant tops off an eventful week

Summer is just around the corner and swimming just got safer for Vicksburg children.

Thanks to a collaborative effort called SPLASH, which stands for Schools Practicing Life Altering Swim Habits, second grade students were given the opportunity to conquer their fear of the water and learn the basic skills needed to be safe when swimming.

The pilot program, which is designed to eventually expand into every elementary school in Warren County, had students from Sherman Avenue Elementary School, St. Francis Xavier Elementary and Dana Road Elementary, participate. Children received a 30-minute class each day for a week and will then return for five more days in the fall when they start third grade.

SPLASH was created by Vicksburg Swim Association head coach Mathew Mixon and is a cooperative effort between the Vicksburg YMCA, Vicksburg Warren School District, the City of Vicksburg and Vicksburg Catholic Schools.

“It is life changing,” Mixon said of the program.

“The opportunities are unlimited now. I was proud so many of them(the children) conquered a big fear of just getting in the water and going under. It was huge fear for the majority of them.”

More positives in Vicksburg this week:

  • Miss Vicksburg’s Outstanding Teen Holly Brand, who is from Meridian, was crowned Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen, Sunday, at the Vicksburg City Auditorium. Brand, who is the daughter of Barry and Connie Brand, said she was shocked when she heard her name announced as the winner. “I just stood there for a second in disbelief,” she said. “I have done this for three years and never thought this would happen. My birthday is Tuesday, so this is an early birthday present.”

The newly crowned teen, is also the recipient of a $5,000 scholarship.

  • On Thursday, a total of 270 volunteers spent the day at 17 sites throughout Vicksburg and Warren County for the 20th annual Day of Caring. Volunteers painted, played bingo, did yard maintenance and much more to give back to organizations in the community that strive to help those in need.

“We had all kinds of things happening in our community today,” Michele Connelly, the executive director of the United Way of West-Central Mississippi, said. “It is a wonderful opportunity for businesses and individuals to get together and show how passionate they are for the non-profits in our community that make a difference every day.”

  • Students will soon be able to receive a bachelor’s degree from Alcorn State University without ever leaving Vicksburg.Starting in the fall 2017 semester, students who have already obtained an associate’s degree will be able to finish their last two years toward a bachelor’s in business administration, sports management, recreation, criminal justice or psychology at Alcorn’s Vicksburg Extension center.