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BES recognizes young scholars

A 51-year-old student at Copiah Lincoln Community Collegerecently received recognition for her 3.77 GPA with acceptance to ahonor’s society, but it was her grandson that took home thebragging rights.

“‘Grandma, I got you beat, I got all As,'” said Teresa Autrey asshe retold her grandson Ethan’s story while he boasted of hisinvitation to receive an award for making outstanding grades in hisfirst semester of third grade at Brookhaven Elementary School.

Ethan Autrey was just one of 225 third- and fourth-gradestudents recognized at the Brookhaven Elementary School MississippiScholars, Mississippi Rising Stars and Scholars program at BES onMonday.

“This is a start for them,” said BES Principal Delores Gearing.”If we don’t start reaching them at a young age, we may lose someof them.”

The program recognized Rising Stars, students with an A average,and Rising Scholars, those with at least a B average, in hopes ofobtaining young students’ interest in maintaining above averagegrades. School officials think acknowledging the students at anearly age will help them carry their success to high school.

“This encourages them and gives them a chance to make that nextstep as they move though the grades,” said third-grade teacherMignon McKennon. “It gives them more than anything an academic goalwhich will in turn lead to college; if they continue through theprogram, it will give them an opportunity to have some of theircollege paid for.”

The program Monday acted as an introduction for many studentsand parents to the Mississippi Scholars program, which awarded 96area students with college scholarships last year. The programfocuses on more rigorous coursework in high school, advancedacademic guidelines and requires some community service to receiverecognition as a Mississippi Scholar.

“It really gives your student something (colleges) are lookingfor,” said Kay Burton, program director for the Brookhaven-LincolnCounty Chamber of Commerce, to parents.

In its first year recognizing elementary level students, theprogram also had other motives at work. As plenty of handshakeswere given out to deserving young scholars in an effort to keepthem motivated for the second semester, program officials took aimat proud parents to preach the message of staying involved in theirchildren’s academic endeavors to ensure further success.

“We realize this is the venue to do it at,’ said ScholarshipCommittee Chairman Kenny Goza. “(Parents) come to thesethings.”

Goza added that getting the message across to parents was theprogram’s biggest concern since 2004. However, with a similarprogram and turnout at Lipsey Middle School earlier this year,parents seem to hear the message loud and clear as they clap fortheir students and snap photos of their young scholars walkingacross the stage.

“The kids aren’t going to push themselves,” said ThomasHamilton, parent of third-grade student Ashlynn Hamilton at BES.”It takes parents to push them.”