Holloway announces internship program at Vicksburg Warren Chamber meeting

Published 1:35 pm Thursday, September 21, 2023

The Vicksburg Warren County School District is preparing to start a paid internship program to give students the opportunity to get work experience while in school.

“We’re bridging education through employment,” Superintendent of School Dr. Toriano “Tori” Holloway said to members of the Vicksburg-Warren Chamber of Commerce at their monthly meeting.

Holloway said the school district is working through an accelerated Mississippi and Central Mississippi Planning and Development District plan to develop the program, adding the program’s career coaches will be calling on local businesses to develop partnerships.

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“If you see them beating on your door, answer it, OK?” he said. “They may come bearing gifts, but we need you to answer it; they are going to work on finding paid internship opportunities for our students. That’s one of the things we want to start pushing.”

In other programs, Holloway said the school district has seven students taking engineering classes at Mississippi State and Alcorn State universities.

“Those kids get up at 7 o’clock in the morning. We have eight students in HVAC and electrical courses at 7 o’clock in the morning, 681 students taking CTE courses at Hinds and that includes welding, automotive, carpentry, energy, precision machining, welding, agricultural culinary arts, early childhood health science, law and public safety, marketing simulation and innovation and work-based learning,” he said. “Our kids have opportunities that other kids across this state are not receiving.”

He said another 373 students are taking career and technical education (CTE) courses at Vicksburg High School and Warren Central High School, and 14 students are currently enrolled in an Alcorn State dual credit general biology program.

“We’re working on other micro-credentials and things like this,” Holloway said. “This past summer we had five camps that we hosted in the district in June; 12 students participated in manufacturing, seven students participated in biomedical science and more than 50 participated in a science camp,” he said. “We have a lot going on in our district and I’m glad that I’m here because one of the things we’re about to do is re-establish a strategic plan.”

Holloway said the school district may be calling on the community to help with the plan, “because it is the community’s plan it. We execute it, but we serve the community. And if you want to help the community, you have to have a healthy school district.”

He said some of the school district’s goals include installing a system to ensure that programs like the Leader in Me program the chamber began in the school district several years ago “continue after we’re gone.

“We have four Lighthouse schools and we are one of the only school districts in the nation to have two legacy schools,” Holloway said. “That is outstanding and the district appreciates that contribution. The goal is to have all 16 schools reach Lighthouse status by the time I’m gone, which I hope is a long way down the road.”

Another goal, he said, involves getting the school district’s career academies recognized as model career academies through the National Career Academy Coalition. He also wants to ensure that the River City Academy remains healthy and in place.

“Since I’ve been here, I’ve talked about us being a school district, not a district of schools, meaning you should be comfortable sending your child anywhere in our school district, and that is one of the goals that I have,” Holloway said. “We will be pushing our teachers and administrators to do that because that benefits all of the children.

“One of the things I firmly believe in is that all means all; not a certain neighborhood, not certain kids. It has to be all,” he added. “And one of the things I think our staff has learned is that I am in it for the kids and it’s all about the kids for me. I think it’s very important that you all feel comfortable sending your children to our schools. We have our community’s most precious commodity and resource, which is our children.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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