FRAZIER: Quality education means life or death for the community

Published 4:00 am Saturday, August 7, 2021

It is hard for me to believe there are folks in our community who have had issues with the school bond referendum that passed in 2018. 

The last time there was a bond election was in 1966. I started first grade that year. I won’t get into hard numbers of how long ago that was; I’ll let you do the math. But I can assure you from the time I stepped foot into Jett Elementary all those years ago, a lot has changed. 

One of the big changes was with the student population. In 1970, when I started 5th grade, Warren County schools became integrated. 

While this didn’t seem like a big deal to me since I didn’t have to alter my surroundings, I am sure it was quite transformative for the Black students who had to walk into a new learning environment. 

Also, during my 5th-grade year, the dress code changed. It became a bit relaxed for the female students.  

Up until that year, girls had not been allowed to wear pants. Obviously, there were some of us who would slip a pair of shorts on underneath our skirts or dresses, so we could climb the monkey bars or do somersaults on the playground. But now, we were allowed to wear “pantsuits.” 

And let me be clear, like my elementary school principal stated over the intercom, a pantsuit was considered a matching ensemble.  

For anyone needing a visual of what constitutes a pantsuit, there are images of them on Google. 

Speaking of Google, there was no Google in my day. We kids used encyclopedias and periodicals to find out information, and if your family didn’t have a set of Encyclopedia Brittanicas in the home, that meant a trip to the public library.  

During my lifetime, technology has continued to evolve and for those of us who are Boomers, it feels like it’s been dramatic. 

Gone are the days of teachers relying solely on blackboards. Classrooms now have large screens which convey the lessons. 

Microfiche and microfilm are both archaic, as well as typewriters unless a manual one is used as a home décor accessory. 

Computers and Chromebooks are necessary for learning, now. 

For 12 years, I benefitted from the Vicksburg public school system — so much so that it allowed me to continue my education and graduate from college. 

Vicksburg public schools also provided my four children an education to which they were able to pursue their goals. 

This must continue, and thank goodness enough of the community realized the need to provide upgraded equipment and spaces for our children and voted in the bond referendum almost three years ago.

It may have come with a price tag, but the return on the dollar could be the difference between the life and death of a community. 

Our children deserve the best. They are our future.  

Nelson Mandella once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” 

Doesn’t Warren County deserve a little change, too?

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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