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MSA tour inspires New Hope dreams

Brookhaven resident Gwendolyn Sartin stood at the AMTRAK stationwith a sign she’d printed for the arrival of her granddaughter andher class from New Hope Christian School in Jackson.

Destiny Todman, 9, and her fellow fourth-graders from New Hoperode in on the noon AMTRAK, headed for a tour of the MississippiSchool of the Arts.

MSA Public Relations Director Jennifer Jackson said the childrenspent the day touring the school, eating in the cafeteria andlearning about what MSA is all about.

“They were really inspired because that school has a musicprogram, and of course they recognized (2009 American Idol Finalistand MSA student) Jasmine (Murray),” Jackson said. “If you caninstill a dream in a child that age, we’ll probably end up havingstudents from that school.”

The group were led on campus by Arts Ambassador Franklin Turner,a senior vocal student from Jackson, and were surprised to find outhe had gone to New Hope when he was a child as well.

“I think it was really neat that Franklin was there, because hecould say that he used to go to their school, and they can seethemselves in Franklin’s position one day,” Jackson said. “Itinspires dreams for them.”

Jackson said the children were just excited to see that therewas a whole school devoted to arts and music, calling the day a”wow experience.” She said bringing schools like New Hope toBrookhaven is a way to encourage children to set high goals for thefuture.

“They were just enthralled with the whole experience,” she said.”I just hope more schools will do that, because it’s a wonderfulfield trip to ride the train and come to Brookhaven.”

On the way back to the train, the students stopped by theMilitary History Museum at the old depot, and were shown around itby volunteer curators. Jackson said it was another way thatBrookhaven could show off not only its perks, but itshospitality.

“We’ve just got so much to offer in Brookhaven in general, thinkwe should be a field trip Mecca,” she said. “The teachers wereamazed that the men came out as volunteers to open the militarymuseum.”

Jackson said she hopes in the future to bring other schools into see the things that Brookhaven has to offer.

“They were inspired and I’m really excited about it,” Jacksonsaid. “We hope to bring more of that, to bring groups to Brookhavento tour the school, and to take advantage of our other educationalopportunities, like the museum.”