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Loyd Star Foundation marks one year of serving school

WESSON — One of the best ways to improve the future is to startwith the children of today.

That was the main focus of the first annual Loyd Star SchoolFoundation Banquet, held Monday at Copiah-Lincoln CommunityCollege.

“I think this is a wonderful thing that you are doing with thestudents in K-12,” said Frank Melton, chairman and chief executiveofficer of WLBT-TV3, to the crowd of almost 200.

Melton provided an inspirational speech about how importantprograms like the Loyd Star School Foundation are to children.

“When you put those kids in the middle of the classroom and youdemand performance and you demand accountability, that’s whatyou’re going to get,” Melton said.

During the last year since the foundation was created, themembership has grown to 145, one scholarship has been awarded and ageneral endowed scholarship fund was started.

“The fund currently has $6,000 in CDs, and we are continuing toaccept donations,” Dr. G. Dale Smith informed the group.

Funds raised so far were also used to provide awards forstudents who excelled in the classroom.

“We’ve been pleased with what we’ve been able to accomplish thispast year,” said Loyd Star School Foundation President Fred CalcoteJr.

The dream one Loyd Star graduate had of attending college becamea reality with the help of the foundation scholarship.

“The scholarship I received is very helpful to me, not only inmy tuition, but also with my books and school supplies, and I’mvery appreciative of it,” said Co-Lin student Jeremy Vanover, therecipient of last year’s scholarship award.

Melton said helping a student realize the dream of college wasan important role for the foundation to play, but he hoped theywould continue their efforts in other ways as well.

“Instead of funding the school, I want you to fund thestandards,” he remarked. “I don’t care how high you make thestandards, the kids in Mississippi will reach them and some willsurpass them.”

He added that it is important to make sure children learn torespect and love others. They should be mindful of their appearanceand look past racial lines, Melton said.

Melton encouraged parents, teachers and administrators to bringdiscipline and good work ethics to the lives of children and teachthem the importance of caring for others by participating inactivities such as volunteering.

He has found success in those philosophies at his summer campfor children in the inner city in Jackson.

At YMCA on Farrish Street, Melton has seen success afterdemanding the best from the thousands who attend each year.

Melton, who has ownership in 15 television stations, 18newspapers and several radio stations, takes time from his scheduleto work full-time at the camp every summer.

He has also had success with the more than 15 children he andhis wife, Dr. Ellen Melton, have adopted during their marriage.They have two children of their own as well.

Melton encouraged the foundation members to stay strong in theirefforts and they would see the benefits for years to come.

After receiving a second standing ovation, Melton turned theprogram over to Calcote Jr., and departed the building.

Calcote was renamed to the board of directors Monday night.Also, Ricky Ferguson and Donna Horton were appointed to the boardto join Randall Lofton, Dr. Dianne Watson, Lisa Bodin, Dr. G. DaleSmith, Dr. Talmadge Smith, Julius “Peck” Vaughn and KennethWarren.

In closing remarks, Calcote encouraged everyone to attend thenext foundation meeting, which would be held the third Monday inMarch, and continue looking for ways to improve the lives ofchildren in the Loyd Star community.

“We only travel this trail of life one time. Let’s leavesomething good behind,” he commented.