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Dropout prevention topic of meeting

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce officials areshining the spotlight on keeping kids in school at their nextquarterly meeting.

Executive Vice-President Cliff Brumfield said MississippiDepartment of Education Dropout Prevention Director Dr. SherilSmith will be the keynote speaker at the July 9 quarterly meeting.He said Smith will discuss current issues with the dropoutsituation in Mississippi.

“The Chamber of Commerce keeps local education close in our siteswith programs such as Mississippi Scholars, and we recognize ourneed to keep our youth in school until they graduate,” Brumfieldsaid.

Smith will discuss the state’s dropout prevention program, and givelocal chamber members a chance to ask questions about MDE’s effortsand plans.

Brumfield said one reason chamber officials feel school retentionprograms are important locally is that the higher the educationrate in an area, the better for its economy.

“It’s of utmost importance that our students not only graduate butstay in school until they complete their education,” he said.”There’s still a startling number of kids who opt out before theygraduate statewide. This will have a definite effect onMississippi’s economic future, as new employers will seek outpeople with higher levels of education and leadership ability.”

Through the business leaders of the community, it’s possible toimpress upon teenagers how important a high school diploma andfurther education can be, Brumfield said.

“Naturally anyone who chooses to opt out of the school system todaywill have a much lower chance of a bright future for tomorrow, andthis is something that adolescents might not always take intoconsideration,” he said. “Through Dr. Smith, we can make sureBrookhaven area youth know how important it can be to stay in theschool system and go on to higher education, not only forthemselves, but for the community.”

The quarterly meeting takes place Wednesday, June 9, at 7:30 a.m.at the Western Sizzlin. All chamber members are invited toattend.