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Brookhaven Panthers are proud to be public

They’re proud to be public.

A community group has formed to show support for the Brookhaven School District and members attended the district-wide staff meeting at Brookhaven High School Tuesday.

The Partnership for Brookhaven Schools is selling spirit packs for $5, which include a yard sign and a car decal with the group’s logo and its slogan, “Proud to be public.”

“This is really just to show support for the public schools,” said Dexter Holloway. “The money raised from selling the packs goes right back into making the products.”

Holloway is a BHS graduate and has an 11th-grader at Ole Brook. His wife also teaches in the district. In order for Brookhaven to thrive, he said, the schools must thrive first.

Partnership for Brookhaven Schools will sponsor events and activities throughout the year that will promote civic pride in the district, Holloway said.

Brookhaven Mayor Joe Cox opened the district-wide staff meeting by stressing how important it is to have good schools in a community.

“There are many things that separate Brookhaven apart from other cities in Mississippi. Our city is growing and a strong school system is an excellent public relations tool for our city,” Cox said. “Newcomers that move to Brookhaven quickly see the pride and tradition that runs deep here. As we begin a new school year, I want y’all to know how much we appreciate you.”

Superintendent Ray Carlock said he looks forward to school starting at the end of each summer. This is the start of his second year in Brookhaven.

“It’s something about the start of school that reminds me of why I got into education,” Carlock said.

He encouraged teachers to love their students unconditionally.

“This isn’t just a job, it’s a calling. Kids notice when you give them your best and when you care,” Carlock said. “I encourage each of you to get up every morning knowing that you can make a difference. It’s not always easy, but our community expects us to get better and by working together we will become the best school district that Brookhaven schools can be.”

Federal Program Director Rob McCreary, former principal at Mamie Martin Elementary, said this is a day for faculty to rally around each other and get ready for the new year.

“This day gets everyone fired up and ready to go. It’s a great day,” McCreary said. “I’m looking forward to working with all of the schools. For 14 years I have been at Mamie Martin, but now I’ll be dealing with all of the schools.”

In his new job, McCreary will oversee all federal funding and how it will be divided throughout the district.

Carlock announced employee additions in the district with help from school principals.

“We’re looking forward to this year. Our schools are growing. We’re looking forward to seeing where we go this year. This is the start of another great school year,” Carlock said.