Student Council Workshops at MC Provide Leadership Guidance to Budding School Government Reps
Hundreds of junior and senior high school student council representatives from across the state filed into the A.E. Wood Coliseum at Mississippi College Nov. 2-3 to hear valuable advice from business and educational leaders, visit service booths, and participate in breakout sessions to expand their leadership skills.
Sponsored by the Office of Continuing Education at MC, the two-day Capital Area Student Council Workshops provide guidance to student government leaders on a host of relevant topics, from service opportunities to fund-raising for their respective schools.
Each three-hour workshop consisted of a full slate of activities, including guest speakers, breakout groups led by the MC Student Government Association, and a Service Fair that included presentations from several community service organizations in the Jackson metropolitan area.
More than 200 junior high students and adult sponsors attended the Nov. 2 workshop, and more than 400 high school students and adult sponsors participated in the activities on Nov. 3.
According to Cheli Vance, program coordinator in MC’s Office of Continuing Education, the workshops were an annual event at MC before the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s sessions are intended to mark the return of the workshops on a yearly basis.
“We’re excited to see the positive responses from schools as we kick off these workshops for 2022,” Vance said. “Many of the (school) sponsors have said they’re pleased that we’ve rebooted the program. Their students are excited to be with us again.”
The workshops have proven to be valuable recruiting opportunities for the Christian University.
“We always like to put MC’s best foot forward,” Vance said. “These days, you have to start recruiting younger students and those in junior high.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to let people see what a great place MC is, to interact with MC students, and to interact with MC staff. We love making them feel welcome and a part of our family for the day.”
Following a spirited welcome from MC’s varsity cheerleading squad, participants from each school crafted their own cheers for a lively “call and response” wakeup call that netted the loudest participants some free Choctaw swag.
The junior high students heard from Stafford Shurden, a justice court judge in Sunflower County and a renowned serial entrepreneur with businesses in many different industries, most notably as owner of Stafford’s Market and Deli in Drew.
Shurden shared his story of success in building his social media resume as an expert and influencer specializing in helping small businesses navigate the Internet. Many follow him online for his daily motivational videos and life insights.
His love for his home state, especially the Mississippi Delta, is evident in everything he does. Of the Delta, Stafford said, “This place is easy and hard. I’ve planted seeds and flags on the beauty of this place. I am still not ready to let go.”
DeSean Dyson, assistant professor in the School of Education and special assistant to the president at MC, served as the keynote speaker for the high school session. Dyson has taught Christian apologetics and ministries’ responses to societal issues in academic, professional, and ministry settings.
Dyson, who obtained his Master of Education in educational leadership at MC, served 15 years as a K-12 educator and administrator in Mississippi public and independent schools, and has assisted in creating Christian schools across the country.
Shari Barnes, director of the Mississippi College Community Service Center, discussed service opportunities with both groups before they each toured the Service Fair on the Coliseum floor.
“The students visited the booths, and their student councils often adopt some of the programs and help them with service projects in our area,” Vance said. “It’s a great way to integrate what MC does into a broader community, and it’s exciting to see.”
Following the fair, the visiting students participated in two 20-minute sessions with MC’s SGA leaders.
“They talked about how to get other students involved on their campus,” Vance said. “They also discussed service opportunities and fund-raising at their schools.”
Vance said each session was well received by the participating students and their sponsors.
“This was a great opportunity for MC to do what it does best – to include people, bring them in, and make them feel like they belong in our community.”