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Pine Belt Activities and Accolades: School Notes from 2016

Pine Belt Activities and Accolades: School Notes from 2016

2016 has wrapped up, and NewYear’s is always a nice time to look back at what’s been happening in our children’s schools. There’s no way to touch upon everything, but here’s a few 2016 “Activities and Accolades” worthy of mention from school districts in the Pine Belt region.

Hattiesburg Schools

The Hattiesburg schools have had another successful year during 2016, and part of that success is demonstrated in accolades for students. Here’s a partial list of some accomplishments of the 2015-2016 year, or of fall 2016:

Grace Christian Elementary

2016 School of Merit National Beta Club

N. R. Burger Middle School

State Recognized-Awarded Jobs for Mississippi Graduates (JMG) Program

State and National Award Winning Junior BETA Club

National Junior BETA School of Merit Status

Hattiesburg High

2016 MAPE Governor Partnership Awards

Forensics: 2016 MHSAA Overall State Champions, Runner-up

Baseball: Finished as #15 ranked team in the state

Mary Bethune Alternative Center

2016 MAPE Partnership Excellence Award

Jones County Schools

As with all school systems, teachers make up the backbone of education. Teachers throughout Jones County schools deserve kudos, but here are just two examples of educators who have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom.

Glade Elementary School

Mrs. Debbie Buckhaults was selected as the 2016-2017 Glade Elementary School Teacher of the Year. She has taught for over 28 years and is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and Scarritt College. She is married to James Buckhaults of Ellisville. She and her husband attend Fairfield United Methodist Church where she teaches Sunday School and serves as Lay Leader.

South Jones Elementary

Kim Rivers was selected as Teacher of the Year for South Jones Elementary. Ms. Rivers is a graduate of William Carey University. She has a love for teaching and a drive to ensure that every child in her room excels. As a teacher of special needs students, she recognizes that children learn differently and provides them multiple opportunities using a variety of techniques and positive support systems. She continually strives to grow personally as a teacher as she encourages and motivates her students to grow academically.

Laurel Schools

“The Mission of Laurel School district is to build a community of lifelong learners by providing diverse educational opportunities.”

The statement above is the goal, and the everyday activities are the proof. Children in Laurel schools participate in activities ranging from sports to academics to community outreach. Here’s a few highlights from 2016:

— The Laurel Middle School sixth grade GOAL (Greater Opportunities for Accelerated Learning) students recently completed a unit of study on the blues. The students studied famous blues artists including B.B. King and Muddy Waters.

— Laurel High School students Nigel Brown and D’Anthony Page served in leadership positions at Mississippi American Legion Boys State. Boys State is the premiere leadership program for rising high school seniors in Mississippi.

— Laurel High School seniors Tierra Cooper, Khadejah Moody and Skykeria Watson all received college scholarships during their time at this summer’s Magnolia Girls State. The American Legion Auxiliary Girls State is a nonpartisan participatory program that teaches young women responsible citizenship and is among the nation’s most respected educational programs of government instruction and leadership development for high-school students.

— Laurel Middle School’s INSYNC show choir hosted an arts and crafts festival in October. Tornado Fest featured arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, a kids carnival area and an entertainment stage that featured a variety of local choirs and performance groups.

— In October, Laurel Middle School hosted a World Culture Fair. The eighth grade students displayed artifacts, food and authentic dress from seven continents. The student ambassadors gave a tour of the world without leaving Laurel.

— AmeriCorps’ America Reads — Mississippi tutors at Maddox Elementary School hosted a National Day of Service to commemorate 9/11 and honor local first responders for their service to the community. The patriotic event began with a performance by the school’s choir, the Wise Clefs and a history of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States was shared.

These were just a few of the activities and accolades of 2016. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2017!


Kara Bachman is a writer, editor, and parent to two teenagers.

About The Author

Kara Bachman

Kara Bachman is a Managing Editor for Parents & Kids. She's also a book editor, former newspaper reporter, and is author of the humor essay collection, "Kissing the Crisis," which deals with the zanier aspects of parenting, relationships and turning 40. She's read her work on NPR radio and over 1,500 items have appeared in dozens of literary and commercial publications, including The Writer, The Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, the New Orleans Times-Picayune and, Dogster, Mississippi Magazine, American Fitness and many more. She's a New Orleans native, but lived for over a dozen years on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, including during 2005 when her house was flooded by Hurricane Katrina. She's a mom to two teenagers.

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