Successful AHS grads noted for public service

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, July 26, 2012

     Editor’s note: Today The DAILY LEADER continues a series highlighting the 16 inductees into the 2012 Alexander High School Hall of Honor. Four honorees are being featured each day during the series.

 Josie Byrd Hightower, Dr. Willie D. Humphrey, Tyree McBeth Jr. and Dolores Calloway Lane will be inducted into the Alexander High School Hall of Honor during a reception and program Friday at the Old National Guard Armory, 689 Highway 51 North, Brookhaven, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Friday, July 27. The program will start at noon.

Josie Byrd Hightower

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     Josie Byrd Hightower is a native of Brookhaven; she attended and graduated in 1960 from Alexander High School. She served as a cheerleader in her high school and college years. She continued her education earning a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Alcorn Agricultural & Mechanical College, now Alcorn State University, in 1964.

     After graduating, she moved to Springfield, Mass., where she worked at a child development center. While in Springfield, she met John Hightower, who was stationed at Westover Air Force Base. They were married in 1966.

     As Mr. Hightower traveled to different places, Mrs. Hightower attended school in Sacramento, Calif., and the University of California at Berkley. While in Acapulco, Mexico, she attended the University of New Mexico.

     Upon Mr. Hightower’s retirement, they moved to Brookhaven, where they joined Kynette-Pilgrim United Methodist Church. Mrs. Hightower became a teacher with the Brookhaven Public School at Mamie Martin Elementary School. When she retired in 1990, she was the assistant principal at Lipsey Middle School.

     Honoree Hightower has been active in the community through her church and various organizations. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., the Lincoln County Alcorn State University Alumni Association and Booster Club, the Brookhaven Humanitarian Auxiliary and has served on the board of directors for the Brookhaven Boys and Girls Club, Redmond Daycare and Pre-School, Lincoln County Habitat for Humanity and the ‘O’ Foundation. She is also the former chairman of the Brookhaven Colored School/Alexander High School Reunion. She has received numerous awards for her active role in serving the Brookhaven community.

Willie D. Humphrey Ph.D.

     The academic development and personal experiences of Dr. Willie D. Humphrey have been diversified since the completion of his high school training at Alexander High School in 1964. He received his B.S. degree in 1968 from Alcorn Agricultural & Mechanical College, now Alcorn State University.

     His first professional experiences involve being a laboratory tester/analyzer of water and pulp from 1968 to 1969 at the Monticello St. Regis Paper Mill; being a science instructor for Covington and Lincoln counties of Mississippi while obtaining a M.S. degree, 1970-1972; a laboratory coordinator and instructor for the Department of Biology at Alcorn State University 1973-1975. These experiences motivated and provided the drive necessary to pursue the terminal degree. He enrolled in Mississippi State University in 1975 majoring in Zoology and Wildlife Ecology where he obtained a Ph.D. in 1979. While at the Mississippi State, he gained additional professional and academic training while serving as a teaching assistant in the Zoology Department and working as a research assistant at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.

     He has had experiences working as an associate professor of Biology Sciences, 2000-2009, an assistant professor of Biology and chairperson of the Department of Biology Sciences, water quality analyzer for the Jefferson County Public Water and Lagoon System, 1982-2005, participant in the Developmental Consortium JAMAR-CFDCO of Jackson State University, 1985-1987, participant in the MISIP Marine and Environmental Program of Jackson State University, 1989-1992, Mississippi College Board Faculty Fellow for Institution of Higher Learning, 1995-2005, wood scientist for the North Central Forest Experimental Station, Rhinelander, Wis., 1985-1990, Ecological research and teaching assistant in the Department of Zoology at Mississippi State University, 1975-1979, instructor and laboratory coordinator for the Department of Biology at Alcorn State University, 1973-1974; 10, high school science teacher for Lincoln County Public School System at Eva Hall Harris and Loyd Star Schools’ 1970-1972, high school science teacher for the Covington County Public School System, 1969, and Alcorn State University 1964-1968.

     To maintain and enhance his professionalism, up-to-date training and memberships, he is a member of the following social, professional, honorary and religious organizations: Alpha Kappa Mu Honorary Society, Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity, Beta Beta Beta Biological Society, Beta Kappa Chi Scientific Society, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., Elk’s Lodge, Masonic Lodge, Association of Southern Biologists, Mississippi Academy of Science, Gulf Coast Estuarine Research Society, National Minority Health Affairs Association, Alcorn State University National Alumni Association, The Knights of St. Peter Claver Religious Order and St. Ann’s Parish Council.

     Humphrey retired from his professional duties at Alcorn State University June 15, 2009.

     Community involvement and outreach activities have always been important to him in meeting his personal goals. The focus for Humphrey has been centered on interactions with the human mind and attempts to discover new information through research activities. As the result of striving to achieve these goals in life, Humphrey received “Star Teacher” of Lincoln County Public Schools in 1975 and Outstanding Young Man of America 1980 and 1983. During his professional career, he performed professional research with NSDA, NASA and the Mississippi College Board. He has been actively involved in teaching, student evaluation, student-centered research and student extra-curricular activities. He is also using this time to reflect and write about his many experiences. He finds time to read and for vocal music. Humphrey also found time to serve on numerous university and departmental communities. His future plans are to continue his professional, personal, academic and religious growth through community service works, university resource output, religious and governmental activities. These goals are to this date and continue to be Humphrey’s major focus.

     Humphrey has been a member of St. Anne for 30 years. He is an active layman and counsel president. He also served as the founder and grand knight of the Knights of Peter Claver.

     Humphrey was born in Hazlehurst to the late Woodrow and Octavia Queen Humphrey. He is the father of three children, Monica Humphrey Hughley, Bryant Humphrey and Christopher Humphrey; grandfather of six grandchildren and the great-grandfather of one great-grandchild.

Tyree McBeth Jr.

     The late Tyree McBeth Jr. was a native of Brookhaven and the son of the late Lela and Tyree McBeth Sr. He was a member of the 1950 Class of Alexander High School. A noted educator and coach in Jackson, McBeth attended Jackson State College, now Jackson State University (JSU) where he received a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1954. He obtained a master’s degree from Tennessee State University and returned to JSU for a specialist degree in education.

     McBeth began his career as the assistant director of the YMCA in Jackson. He taught physical education at Sam M. Brinkley Junior-Senior High School. He was the head basketball coach, head track and field coach, assistant football coach and head football coach at Brinkley. He was a teacher and head football coach at Lanier High School; he was a teacher, head football coach and track coach at Central High School; he was a teacher, track coach and assistant football coach at Callaway High School all in Jackson. As the football coach at Brinkley, McBeth’s team won seven City Football Championships, four “Big 8” Girls Track Championships, one “Big 8” Boys Track Championship, and two Southern Division State “Big 8” Championships.

     Active in various community activities, McBeth was a member of the Mississippi Association of Coaches, the National Association of Coaches, Mississippi Teachers Association and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.

     McBeth positively influenced the lives of many youth during his tenure. As an educator and coach, his influence with student success extends to the National Football League and various halls of fame.

     Honoree McBeth was married to the late Mary Jennings McBeth and they were the parents of Sylvia, Kenneth Carl (deceased), Kimsye and Danielle. They were the grandparents of six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Dolores Calloway Lane

     Dolores Calloway Lane is a proprietor and business woman in the field of cosmetology. She is the daughter of the late L.J. Johnson and Lentie Calloway Johnson. Lane attended Alexander High School, graduating in the class of 1964. Lane was active at AHS in the band, track team, basketball team and Drama Club. She studied Business Administration at Manhattan Community College and the Wilford Academy Beauty School.

     Professionally, Lane owned and operated two beauty shops and one barber shop called Dee’s Beauty and Barber House located in Staten Island, N.Y., for 11 years. Civically, she worked with the United Cerebral Palsy for 17 years. This organization allowed her to share her life and work with children and adults; efforts to change and improve progress for adults and children with disabilities, whether it was a disability evidenced from birth, the result of an accident, or as a consequence of aging. She was an active member of the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church.

     Honoree Lane returned to Brookhaven and joined the Abundant Life Church. At Abundant Life, she is active with the Drama Ministry and assists with the Praise and Dance Ministry.

     She is very community conscious. She has served as president of the Toast Master’s Club for two years. She worked very close with the youth of the Staten Island teens during the summer. She provided a series of social and educational activities and events to keep students learning and enjoying the summer vacation. She was affectionately called “Momie Dee.” Lane works with the Chariots of Fire Phase II Praise Dance, the Mime Ministry and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She has worked with various organizations to ensure that residents in her neighborhood receive workforce training opportunities.

     As an artist, she was awarded the ATM Certificate of the P.G. Articulators Club. She has published her poetry in The Colours of the Heart, The World Awaits and The Colors of Life.

     Lane is married to Milton B. Lane Jr. and they are the parents of Charmane, Monique, LeKeith and Cramontee. They have eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.