Mississippi College

Congressman Gregg Harper Addresses MC Educational Leaders

June 25, 2012

Mississippi educators should never give up on any student in their classroom.

Speaking as the parent of a special needs child, Third District U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper delivered that message to Mississippi College’s summer educational leadership luncheon on Monday.

Despite obstacles, Livingston Harper, 23, graduated from Pearl High School, spent three years attending Hinds Community College and now is only the second student to attend an innovative college access program at Mississippi State University. In August, the new program on the Starkville campus will enroll five university students with intellectual disabilities. Livingston joins other students living in MSU dormitories.

“I urge you, don’t give up on anybody,” Harper told dozens of Mississippi College graduate students in the master’s program in educational leadership. “These are beautiful children.”

Livingston Harper’s remarkable journey as a special needs student was recently featured in “Newsweek” magazine.

Harper, and his wife, Sidney, both MC graduates, raised two children, Livingston, 23, and Maggie, 20, both Mississippi State students.

Other notable guests at the School of Education’s annual summer leadership luncheon included former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, Eric Clark, the director of the state Board for Community and Junior Colleges, Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn of Clinton, Sen. Hillman Frazier of Jackson and Clinton Public Schools Superintendent Phil Burchfield.

Ready to receive his master’s in early August, Clinton High track coach Jim Harrison said being part of the MC program was “a very eye-opening experience.” Classroom studies branched off to areas ranging from school safety to financial issues, said the Clinton Arrows assistant football coach. Professors also mixed in their personal experiences during decades of service in the educational arena.

Mendenhall Junior High educator Jacob Blakeney said the program in Lowery Hall was well worth it. “You are around leaders who have been there and done it.” He’s learned from MC professors with a combined 250 years of experience. He’s hoping to become a high school principal and possibly a superintendent in a few years.

“I hope to become a powerful leader,” said Meredith Rosenblatt, an educator at Ann Smith Elementary in the Madison County schools. She began her MC classes in June and will graduate in August 2013.

“I’m glad I did it,” said McLaurin High Athletic Director Marc Herrington. A 1993 MC graduate, he will receive his master’s in educational leadership in just over a month. “I believe I’m ready to take on some administrative tasks.”

Former Winona Schools Superintendent Doris Smith is the MC education professor who serves as coordinator of the 15-month program. Audience members, including President Lee Royce, Vice President for Academic Affairs Ron Howard and scores of students, applauded her outstanding service with a standing ovation.

For more information, contact program coordinator Doris Smith at 601.925.3845 or smith24@mc.edu.


Photo: Congressman Gregg Harper and MC Professor Doris Smith

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