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    Capitol High School breaks ground for half-acre community farm

    Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome recently hosted the groundbreaking of a half-acre school garden at Capitol High School.

    The garden is a result of the collaboration of Geaux Get Healthy, a program out of the Mayor’s Healthy City Initiative, and the Baton Roots community farm. It implements community farms at Capitol High School, Glen Oaks High School, and Scotlandville High School.

    “Geaux Get Healthy’s collaboration with community stakeholders allows us to address food access in Baton Rouge. Through our school garden programs, we are empowering our youth with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to cultivate nutritious foods,” said Broome. “Our work here is allowing us to improve access to healthy foods, and create a stronger foundation for our community here in Baton Rouge.”

    Through a partnership with Baton Roots Community Farm and Geaux Get Healthy, the Hustle and Grow program will work with schools to teach local students how to grow fresh food. The Hustle and Grow program provides youth the opportunity to develop necessary leadership, business, and agriculture skills in an effort to empower the next generation of leaders.

    The program aims to empower youth and improve food access by introducing farming directly into the community rather than having to rely solely on sourcing grocery stores in food deserts throughout Baton Rouge.

     In addition to horticulture lessons, students engaged in the Hustle and Grow program will learn healthy eating habits and how to cook the produce grown on the farm.

    “Baton Roots focus is as much on food access as it is on farming. With all the high schools we’re working with, we hope to continue to empower residents to take food and health directly into their hands,” said Mitchell Provensal, program coordinator of Baton Roots.

    All of the food grown through this partnership will be distributed to the communities surrounding the three partner schools.

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    Southern University receives $139,000 Board of Regents’ grant

    Southern University’s Department of Agricultural Sciences has received a grant to establish the JAG’s DEN, a virtual reality laboratory that will assist within the department.

    “The JAG’s DEN will allow the department to enhance the global competitiveness of our graduates by creating more diverse learning opportunities while they are in the program,” said Harold Mellieon Jr. PhD., chair of the Department of Agricultural Sciences. “The JAG’s DEN will be used as a reinforcement space to enhance the content in course lectures and labs by supplementing with virtual reality.”It will also be a recruitment tool for the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences (CAFCS).

    The lab was funded by the Louisiana Board of Regents’ Journeys in Agricultural Science Developing Educational Networks grant for $139,500.

    Mellieon is the principal investigator for the grant  along with Dr. Renita Marshall, vice chancellor for academic and student services/ associate dean of the Southern University CAFCS, Nastassia Jones, PhD, associate professor, and Francesca Mellieon-William with the SU Science and Math Education Department (SMED).

    For additional information about the JAG’s DEN virtual reality laboratory, contact Dr. Harold Mellieon, Jr. at harold_mellieon@subr.edu.

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    Dr. Michelle Dennis becomes BRCC dean of nursing, allied health

    Baton Rouge Community College has named Michelle D. Dennis, Ph.D. the new dean of nursing and allied health.

    In this role, Dennis will oversee degrees and certificates in the nursing, practical nursing, medical assistant, diagnostic medical sonography, emergency medical technician, pharmacy technician, surgical technology, and veterinary technology.

    “We are excited to welcome Dr. Dennis to the BRCC team,” said BRCC Chancellor Willie E. Smith PhD. “Dr. Dennis has extensive experience in the nursing field and she will be a great asset to our Nursing and Allied Health Division. I am confident that her passion for our faculty, staff and students will serve BRCC well.”

    Dennis earned a bachelor of science in chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana, a bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Alabama, a master of public administration- healthcare concentration, and doctorate of philosophy in healthcare public policy  from Southern University and A&M College Baton Rouge.

    Dennis is the director of nursing within the Medical-Surgical Division with Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. In this role, she serves in various capacities not limited to managing the daily operations of the nursing units, operating within the outlined staffing matrix as well as meeting daily, monthly, quarterly, and yearly budget goals, the development and retention of personnel including both the nursing and ancillary staff. She collaborates with the Clinical Education Team to outline the placement of Nursing Students for clinical rotations while serving as the Chair of the Organization of Nurse Leaders Committee, Chair of the Charge Nurse/Nurse Supervisor Committee, as well as Chair of the OLOL Liturgical Committee. She was also selected to the Louisiana Nurse Leadership Class of 2020.

    Throughout her 20-year career in nursing, the first 12 years were spent working at the University of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham, Al. During this time, she worked in numerous areas, which included critical care primarily surgical intensive care, surgical nursing as both a circulating nurse and scrub nurse, perioperative and post-operative nursing, medical-surgical nursing, case management nursing, and also as a kidney and liver transplant nurse coordinator. Working in these various areas allowed for a vast opportunity of growth and knowledge into the diversity and depth that lies within the world of nursing. In these roles, she has been able to consistently work in a manner allowing her to become exceptional not only in her skills but has also constantly presented the opportunity for her to provide instruction to others as a preceptor and clinical education instructor.  Dennis maintains a passion for Nursing centered around giving patients, family, and staff the best care experience, and this is achieved through embodying staff with all of the necessary tools to be the absolute best Nurse possible. Furthermore, this enables them to provide their patients with highest and most effective level of care.

    Dennis is an active volunteer with Move Baton Rouge, which is a physical fitness program dedicated to improving the health of citizens of Baton Rouge. She also serves as volunteer and tutoring instructor for the Louisiana Leadership Institute. She is an active member of the Southern University Alumni Home Chapter and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She enjoys Zumba, cycling, running and spending time with her three nephews Isaiah, Renard (RJ), and Ryan.

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    Tangipahoa high school students return to campus 4 days per week starting Oct. 12

    Tangipahoa Parish School Superintendent Melissa Stilley announced today that the district is completing bus counts now with the intention of bringing all high school students back on campus four days per week starting Monday, Oct. 12.

    “I’m proud to say that we have our plans ready to go, and we are looking forward to offering on-campus instruction to all of our traditional students from pre-K all the way up to 12th grade starting Oct. 12,” Stilley said.

    This shift will allow students in grades 9-12 to have classroom instruction on the school’s campus everyday except Wednesdays for the remainder of the fall semester. Wednesdays will be full virtual days for all high school students in Tangipahoa through the end of December.

    Stilley said high school seniors will be required to take the ACT on their high school campus on Tuesday, Oct. 6. As a result, Group A students in grades 9-11 will not attend school on campus next Tuesday. Group A students will work virtually from home to allow capacity for all seniors to attend school that day and complete their ACT. Only students in Group A will be impacted by this scheduling change, and students in Group B will attend class as normal on Thursday, Oct. 8, and Friday, Oct. 9.

    Stilley said there may be a need for bus routes to be slightly adjusted to allow for the return of all students in Grades pre-K to 12. Any changes will be announced the week of Oct. 5, and families will be notified accordingly.

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    Zachary student, Kyra Griffin, wins Ronnie Edwards scholarship

    Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation recently selected Kyra Griffin as the 2020 Ronnie Edwards Scholarship recipient. Griffin is a recent graduate of Zachary High School where she earned a 3.6. grade point average. She is an alumna of UREC’s College and Career Ready Pre-Law Institute and IGNITE Fellowship and recently started her undergraduate career at Southern University.

    “I’m excited to begin the next phase of my journey at Southern University, where I will study criminal justice and psychology. I plan to utilize the skills I have learned to better myself and my community by giving back financially, through leadership and in service,” said Griffin.

    The Ronnie Edwards Scholarship honors the legacy and contributions of UREC founder Ronnie Edwards. She founded UREC in 1992, pioneered our youth development initiatives, and championed education, while advancing the organization’s purpose of “Building Today’s Communities for Tomorrow.” UREC is honored to present this scholarship in her memory. Learn more at URECBR.com.

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    BRCC, EBR Schools sign proclamation to launch Early College Academy

    Officials from Baton Rouge Community College and East Baton Rouge Parish School System formally signed a proclamation to launch the Early College Academy. Baton Rouge Community College Chancellor Dr. Willie Smith and EBR Schools Associate Superintendent Ben Necaise signed the proclamation, surrounded by Early College Academy students, community leaders and supporters.

    The Early College Academy is being piloted with freshmen and sophomore students from Broadmoor High School. The degrees offered during the first year are in information technology with either application developer or networking and vehicle maintenance technology.

    Plans to expand the Early College Academy in the types of degrees offered and the number of high schools will be determined and implemented through the 2020-21 school year. The agreement between EBR Schools and BRCC to create the Early College Academy was officially signed in March, just prior to the shutdown of the region due to COVID-19.

    Early College Academy students from Broadmoor High School participated in the signing ceremony between Baton Rouge Community College and the East Baton Rouge Parish School System on Tuesday, September 22, 2020. Pictured (L to R) are CTEC Director Daphne Hughes-Alex, EBR School Board Member Evelyn Ware-Jackson, EBRPSS Associate Superintendent Ben Necaise, Broadmoor student Sha’Lisa Paul, Broadmoor student Marcus Turner, Broadmoor Principal Stacy Bradford, Broadmoor student Alvin Scott, BRCC Chancellor Dr. Willie E. Smith, and CTEC Executive Director Summer Dann.

    Early College Academy students from Broadmoor High School participated in the signing ceremony between Baton Rouge Community College and the East Baton Rouge Parish School System on Tuesday, September 22, 2020. Pictured (L to R) are CTEC Director Daphne Hughes-Alex, EBR School Board Member Evelyn Ware-Jackson, EBRPSS Associate Superintendent Ben Necaise, Broadmoor student Sha’Lisa Paul, Broadmoor student Marcus Turner, Broadmoor Principal Stacy Bradford, Broadmoor student Alvin Scott, BRCC Chancellor Dr. Willie E. Smith, and CTEC Executive Director Summer Dann.

    “When we think of the future of our community, it’s incredibly important to consider the ways in which we can truly invest in our young people as early as possible,” said BRCC Chancellor Dr. Willie E. Smith. “This partnership and proclamation will allow Baton Rouge Community College to make a necessary educational investment in high school students, affording them the remarkable opportunity to work towards extremely relevant professional certifications and degrees while pursuing their high school studies. We are grateful to be able to serve our community in this way and very much look forward to continuing to expand this program as we learn from our pilot year. We are incredibly thankful to the EBR School System, along with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Baton Rouge Area Foundation and Career and Technical Education Center for partnering with us for this program.”

    “Over the past two years, the EBR Career and Technical Education Center has provided high school students with high-wage, high-demand career training opportunities that allow them to directly enter the workforce or continue with post-secondary education,” said EBR Associate Superintendent Ben Necaise. “In addition, the students have also gained valuable internship experiences and long-term employment with our community partners. Our district is grateful for the collaborative partnership with LCTCS, BRCC, BRAC, BRAF and our CTEC Board of Directors as we expand our programing to incorporate the Early College Academy piloted at Broadmoor High School.”

    Additional supporters participating in today’s signing ceremony included Baton Rouge Area Foundation Executive Vice President John Spain who offered a brief history on the collaboration, and Baton Rouge Area Chamber President and CEO Adam Knapp, who discussed the economic impact of the Academy and program on the region.

    In 2005 a collaboration among EBR Schools, BRCC, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Baton Rouge Area Foundation, and leading business, industry and healthcare organizations developed the idea of the EBR Career & Technical Education Center (CTEC). This program and its building were specifically designed to offer high school students the opportunity to earn advanced credentials and dual enrolled college courses in the high-wage, high-demand workforce needs of the Capital region. CTEC opened in 2018 with a vision to expand the college course offerings to allow students to earn their Associate’s degree while in high school. To make this vision a reality, leaders in EBR Schools and BRCC began working through the details to develop the Early College Academy.

    For more information about the Early College Academy visit www.ebrctec.com. For more information about Baton Rouge Community College visit www.mybrcc.edu.

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    Southern creates official varsity esports team, Christopher Turner named head coach

    The University becomes the first higher learning institution with an esports pipeline servicing K-12 through graduate school students.

    Southern University and A&M College is creating an official varsity esports team, joining more than 300 colleges and universities to compete nationally in the fast-growing digital sport.

    Esports, short for “electronic sports,” is defined as competitive multiplayer video gaming. While new and developing at the collegiate level, esports has grown exponentially among amateur and professional gamers around the world.

    The Southern University esports program has plans to join esports organizations, which include the SWAC, HBCU Esports, Tespa, National Association of Collegiate Esports, and Collegiate Star League. Students will have the opportunity to compete online against other universities.

    Southern University has named Christopher Turner general manager and head coach.  Turner is also the Southern University Laboratory School esports general manager and head coach. He has recently received a national championship through the development of its Esports Program.

    “I’m excited to head up esports for Southern University. We will be the only program to reach students from Pre K to Ph.D.  Our goal is to increase student involvement in STEM-related careers, compete for scholarships, and create internship opportunities,” said Turner.

    Spring season competition will be in NBA 2K21, Call of Duty, and Fortnite. Titles being considered for the fall are Rocket League, Super Smash Bros., Madden NFL, and FIFA.

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    Police, Protest, Practice: Youth invited to apply for social justice program

    Louisiana teens, ages 11-17, are invited to apply to participate in “My Voice Matters – Speak Out About Social Justice,” a year-long, statewide initiative to engage youths in the ongoing conversations about social justice and racial equality. The deadline to apply is Sept. 30.

    The Young Leaders Academy of Baton Rouge is one of only eight organizations in the nation chosen to present the program, which is hosted by CLEO Legally Inspired College Ko-horts of Students (CLICKS). The initiative will begin in October and continue through September 2021. The program features a series of virtual town halls with student leaders from across the United States in an interactive discussion of contemporary social issues affecting young people today.

    “Today’s youth have an unparalleled opportunity to lead us all in the dismantling of the social injustices and inequalities that have plagued our nation for generations, and we are honored to be selected to present the ‘My Voice Matters’ program,” said Tonya Robertson, executive director of the YLA of Baton Rouge. “This program represents an opportunity for our young people to learn how to speak up and speak out about these issues.”

    The series centers on three themes: Police: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow; Protest: Your First Amendment Right; and Practice: Youth-Led Community Projects. In the weeks following the virtual town halls, CLICKS participants will be paired with adult volunteers and mentors to continue and deepen the conversations about these themes. Upon completion of the program, participants will choose and complete their own project. Participants will enjoy mentorships, virtual and hybrid skills development workshops, summer leadership and career exploration activities, and quarterly outings to law schools, courthouses, and collegiate and professional sports facilities, among others.

    “Our goal is to teach young people that their voices do matter, and more importantly, that their voices can bring change, and we are excited to bring this education to young people across Louisiana in the coming weeks and months,” she added. “We are grateful for our partners, Southern University Law Center, and Louisiana Healthcare Connections, for helping us to make this possible.”

    “Through our Legal Exposure program, we have assembled some of the best and brightest legal minds from the Southern University Law Center to mentor these young men and women, expose them to relevant, real-time legal issues, and provide an analytical approach to solving the social issues plaguing our society today,” said Rahim Smith, executive director of legal exposure and law professor at Southern University Law Center. “By teaching these young adults about their constitutional rights, procedural history, and current statutes, it provides invaluable exposure to these children that they may not have received without this platform.”

    “We believe it is critically important that today’s youth understand the value of their voices and how to use those voices to make a meaningful difference in the future,” said Chelsea Graves, community relations principal for Louisiana Healthcare Connections. “The Young Leaders Academy of Baton Rouge shares our commitment to ensuring healthy futures for local youth, and we are pleased to support their efforts to engaging the young people of our state in the important conversations about social justice and equality.”

    To learn more about ‘My Voice Matters’ and YLA, or to request an application to apply to participate, please email Tonya Robertson, YLA Executive Director, at tonya_ylabr@yahoo.com, or call the YLA office at (225) 346-1583. Applications must be received by Sept. 30. Applicants accepted into the program will receive notification by Oct. 9. There are no costs to participate in the program.

     

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    Grambling names Kenyatta Randall director of talent acquisition and recruitment

    Grambling State University alumna Kenyatta Randall has joined the University as Director of Talent Acquisition and Recruitment.

    “We are excited to welcome Kenyatta Randall back to Grambling State University,” said Lori Williams, Grambling State’s associate vice president for operations and chief human resources officer.

    Randall earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Grambling State University. She is a real estate agent and notary in the State of Florida. She recently earned a master of business administration with an emphasis in human resource management from the University of the People. She brings 14 years of Human Resources experience to the role. She served four seasons with the Miami Heat and The American Airlines Arena as senior recruiter and human resources information systems administrator.

    Her responsibilities included all HR strategic areas and overseeing executive and front office staff recruiting for all sporting events, awards shows, concerts as well as the 2006 NBA Finals. Randall also implemented the internship program by recruiting academically talented students from various colleges and universities.

    Randall later moved to Tampa Bay and was recruited by the Champs Sports corporation as HR Manager where she managed HR policies and streamlined HR procedures for the corporate office. She later became the recruitment and employment manager for the University of South Florida and most recently as human resource administrator for USF Health and the College of Nursing.

    “In her new role as the director of talent acquisition and recruitment,  Ms. Randall will  transform how we identify, recruit, and acquire talent,” Williams said. “She brings institutional knowledge and a wealth of experiences from the private and public sectors. We look forward to the diversity of thought and expertise she will contribute to the Human Resources team.”

    “My goal as the Director of Talent Acquisition and Recruitment is to identify and acquire the best talent, the brightest talent, and the right talent to serve at Grambling State University. Hiring is and will always be the most important key to growth and to supporting the mission and vision of the college,” Randall said.

    Randall was deeply involved within the south Florida community as a member of Leadership Miami, volunteered for South Florida & Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl Host Committees, National Association of Black Sports Professionals, National Society for Human Resource Management, Tampa Bay Society for Human Resources Management, Hospitality Human Resources Association, and is a Vice Chair of the Palmetto Youth Center board of directors located in Palmetto, Florida.

    ONLINE:www.gram.edu

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    Tangipahoa schools begin Phase 3 Mon., Sept. 14

    With Friday’s announcement that Louisiana will be moving into Phase 3, School Superintendent Melissa Stilley said Tangipahoa Parish public schools will enter into their Phase 3 plan starting on Monday, September 14.

    Under the district’s Phase 3 operational plan, students in 7th and 8th grade will be able to join PreK-6th grade students attending school on campus five days a week.

    High School students will also begin transitioning back to campus on a staggered entrance, beginning Monday, September 14. Students with the last name beginning with the letters A-K (Group A) will attend classes on campus Monday and Tuesday of each week.  High School students with the last name beginning with the letters L-Z (Group B) will attend classes on campus Thursday and Friday. More specific information on the high school A/B hybrid schedule will be shared by each high school with students next week, Stilley said.
    School officials remind everyone to continue to take precautions to stay safe on campus. Students should continue to wear masks each day, wash their hands regularly, and maintain a comfortable distance when gathered in groups.
    Please read our official TPSS School Plan for more details on our transition into Phase 3.
    The TPSS continues to offer families the full virtual option, as well. Students in 7th and 8th grade who will remain fully virtual for the remainder of the first semester should continue to check their email, and log into Oncourse Classroom, or Google Classroom, to engage in lessons and assignments from their virtual teachers. If you would like your junior high or high school student to engage in school fully online, you must complete our Full Virtual Intent Form. The deadline to complete the form is Friday, September 11, 2020.
    Bus transportation will be offered to students attending on-campus classes in Phase 3.
    “We are very pleased to reach this point, and we are looking forward to the time when all of our students can return to campus 100 percent of the time, if they choose to do so,” Stilley said.

    Please continue to check the district’s official Tangischools Facebook page and website for updates. Additionally, specific inboxes have been developed to address questions from the public:

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    Kenna Franklin appointed assistant provost LSU

    Louisiana State University in Shreveport is proud to announce Kenna Franklin, EdD, as the new assistant provost for diversity, inclusion, and community engagement.

    She will lead and coordinate university-wide initiatives fostering and sustaining a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming environment for all students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community partners. The assistant provost reports to the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs and will serve as a member of the Chancellor’s senior administrative team.  Franklin will assist the provost in ensuring a culture of equity, access, and inclusion by collaborating with the Office of Student Affairs and the academic deans and chairs in offering resources and programming both on and off campus that promote diversity, respect, and openness. The assistant provost will be responsible for strategic planning, diversity education and training for students, faculty, and staff, community outreach and relationship management, policy development, and campus climate issues.

    “The Chancellor and I discussed creating a new position for diversity and inclusion back in September 2019, right after I was named as Provost,” said Helen Taylor, PhD, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “While we have had a Director of Multicultural Affairs for a number of years, we felt that it was time for the campus to do more and do better, and to elevate the position to its rightful place and scope.”

    Dereck Rovaris, PhD, vice provost for diversity at LSU A&M, was instrumental in the process of developing the title and outlining the job description of the new position. This collaborative approach underscores an ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion across all LSU campuses. The search process, which was originally scheduled to conclude in early March, was delayed due to COVID-19.

    Despite the delay, LSUS found their perfect candidate on campus. Kenna Franklin, EdD, the founding director of the LSUS Office of Multicultural Affairs, will now occupy the assistant provost position. Franklin, an associate professor of professional practice, teaches both social work and sociology courses, and has been a member of the university’s faculty for the past 30 years. She possesses bachelor degrees in sociology and criminal justice from Grambling State University, a master’s in social welfare administration from the University of Michigan, and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Texas. Her research interests align with her new role, as she has done extensive work in the areas of underserved student populations, transfer students, African-American, Latino-American and LGBTQ student issues, educational disparities, retention strategies, student success, and university/business/community partnerships.

    “As an educator, this moment finds me enthusiastic for the potential of growth and a genuine understanding of what underscores this work,” said Franklin. “With the country at a crucial intersection of moral, social and racial justice, LSUS is poised through the work of this office to truly make a difference at the forefront of these issues. I look forward to the support of the entire Louisiana State University Shreveport family as we plan programs, institute campus wide policies, and invite the community to become a part of this dynamic movement.”

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    Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Schools accepting displaced students

    Catholic schools in the Diocese of Baton Rouge are opening their doors to displaced students from dioceses affected by Hurricane Laura.  Students enrolled in one of the 17 Catholic elementary and high schools located in the Dioceses of Alexandria and Lake Charles may apply by contacting the Baton Rouge Catholic school directly.  General information about Catholic schools in the diocese can be found at www.csobr.org, and a list of Catholic schools can be found through the School Finder Page at https://www.csobr.org/schoolfinder.

    While each school’s capacity to accept displaced students is different, especially because of reduced numbers in classrooms due to the pandemic, some schools have room for displaced students while still maintaining social distancing guidelines.  Some schools may require a two-week quarantine with virtual learning before the student can attend on-campus classes. Interested parents should contact the school directly to find out the process for applying.

    Displaced families will receive a reduced cost to attend Catholic schools in the Diocese of Baton Rouge.  Instead of a registration fee, a small application processing fee may be required.  No other usual fees will be charged to displaced families.  Likewise, the cost of annual tuition will not be charged, and the monthly tuition cost will be set by each school.

    Government tuition funding may be available for displaced families through two avenues.  Students from an affected area who were attending Catholic schools through the State of Louisiana Scholarship Program may be able to temporarily transfer their scholarship status with state approval.  Additionally, displaced families may be able to receive FEMA funding to attend a Catholic school in the Diocese of Baton Rouge, by completing an application at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362 from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm seven days a week. The number for assistance with hearing and speech impaired applications is 1-800-462-7585 (TTY).  Displaced families can also apply for tuition assistance directly from the school if the family is not able to pay tuition.

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    T.I. to deliver keynote during SU symposium

    SELA-01[2]Tip “T.I.” Harris will deliver the Saturday keynote address for the Southern University Law Center’s virtual Sports and Entertainment Symposium.

    “At the Law Center, we strive to present continuing education seminars where we align our students and community with various industry influencers to learn new skills and information and continuously build their network,” said Marla Dickerson, director of the Law Center’s CLE program. “We are truly grateful to Mr. Harris, and our host of panelists, for taking the time to pour knowledge and wisdom into our attendees.”

    Symposium panelists include Benny Pough, chief executive officer of DVerse Media, Butch Hartfield, senior national director of promotion of Epic Records; Jourdan Williams, assistant media counsel at NASCAR Media Ventures; Jennifer Duval, vice president of business affairs at NBCUniversal Media, LLC; Niya Fleming, artists and repertoire (A&R) for Def Jam Recordings, and more.

    On Friday, September 18, nationally recognized attorney, Donald Woodard, will be the keynote speaker for the event. Currently, Woodard acts as deputy general counsel/chief of business affairs of USA Track and Field.

    Attendees will have the chance to participate in panels such as “Music Industry 101”, “Brand Protection” and “Sports, Entertainment, and Intellectual Property” and more.

    Registration for the virtual event is now open at www.sulc.edu/sportsent. Participants from Louisiana, Georgia, and Mississippi participants are eligible for 10 CLE credit hours. Registration fees begin at $10, and the event is open to the general public.

     

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    BRCC classes start Aug. 17 with aggressive safety measures, a variety of teaching formats

    Fall 2020 classes at Baton Rouge Community College begin on Monday, Aug. 17 with a variety of teaching formats in place, including online, in-person, and hybrid classes that will allow students to receive the necessary instruction in all available ways possible for their fields of study. This update comes after several months of planning course schedules and implementing aggressive safety measures, including masks/face covers and social distancing mandates, as well as smaller class sizes and access to professional-grade cleaning supplies and proper PPE disposal.

    “We couldn’t be more excited to welcome our students back for the fall semester. We are prepared and ready to assist all of our students with various offerings in different teaching formats. Remaining completely online just isn’t an option when you are educating the state’s next healthcare professionals, welders, and more,” said BRCC Chancellor Willie E. Smith, Ph.D. “Some classes must be taught in a hands-on format, while others like general education courses can properly function as online offerings. We also recognize some courses can be offered as a hybrid model that allows classroom instruction to take place virtually with labs happening in-person. Due to the variety of offerings and deliverance of them, our team has spent months crafting plans and opportunities for immeasurable growth to provide our students with the best accessibility possible during this very uncertain time.”
    Students are invited to review BRCC’s back to campus plan at www.mybrcc.edu, and also view the Academic Calendar which highlights important dates for Fall 2020, including the various entry points for fall classes. Baton Rouge Community College offers a 15-week, 12-week, and two 7-week course options each semester. It’s not too late to register for any of the upcoming sessions. A variety of institutional aid packages may be available to those eligible registrants.
    Baton Rouge Community College has eight educational sites located throughout the Capital Region and enrolls approximately 8,000 students and has over 500 employees.
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    Mobile hotspots, laptops available to EBR students

     The East Baton Rouge Parish School System  has launched an online resource for families to sign up for mobile hotspots and devices to accommodate students for its all-virtual model.

    As of now, students will learn virtually starting Aug. 10  through Labor Day. Families in need of internet connectivity or devices should fill out a TechReady form by clicking here.

    Officials say schools will continue to hold device distributions to equip each child with the tools they need. Families are encouraged to reach out to their child’s school for assistance or by clicking here for additional resources. The EBRPSS I.T. department will launch a new helpdesk to help families, students, and staff on Aug. 3. The new helpdesk will be available by clicking here.

     

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    Total Teen Takeover 2020 to feature Dee-1

    Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and Healthy Blue, in collaboration with The Safety Place and the Big Buddy Program, are hosting Total Teen Takeover 2020 next week. Baton Rouge youth agencies and business partners are collaborating to provide a myriad of experiences designed to help attendees live a healthy and safe life. The online community event for teenagers will be held Saturday, August 8, 2020, from noon to 3:30 p.m.

    One highly anticipated addition to TTT is a performance by national Hip Hop artist Dee-1, who will also have a one-on-one conversation with Mayor Broome regarding issues facing teens in 2020.

    “COVID-19 has caused us to reimagine how we engage and empower our youth in the absence of in-person programs,” said Mayor Broome. “Our youth programming partners continue to demonstrate their commitment to designing a robust digital experience that not only engages high school students but also creates a foundation of skills to prepare them for their future and beyond.”

    TTT will focus on the mental health of our youth in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Partners will provide information about resources youth can access to help them achieve healthy, safe, and productive lives.

    “Healthy Blue is proud to partner with local area agencies and businesses to ensure the youth of our community remain connected during these uncertain times,” said Aaron Lambert, plan president, Healthy Blue. “We continue to provide our community with resources that promote health and wellness, and enable emotional and social support. These efforts are part of Healthy Blue’s coordinated response to COVID-19 for members, local community organizations, healthcare workers and frontline responders.”

    The first 100 registrants will receive a special “Quaranteen” kit, a pre-mailed box of event essentials, snacks and various TTT items.

    Due to COVID-19, the program will utilize a virtual platform to deliver programming to the community. Interested youth and parents should register for this FREE event a twww.totalteentakeover.org

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    COMMENTARY: Before you decide to return to schools, walk the journey of a student, teacher to see COVID obstacles

    In south Louisiana, one of the tasks we are accustomed to doing is preparing for emergency situations.  We prepare for hurricanes, other major storms, and catastrophes all the time, listening to the information provided by the experts, creating plans based upon their expertise and our experience, and should the catastrophic event occur, executing our plan. We have learned in the midst of the turmoil that we take care of our family and continue to obtain transparent and helpful information/direction from leadership and experts until we are back to normal.  One would believe we would have the same course of action as we prepare for schools to reopen with our children, teachers, and staff in the middle of a once in a lifetime pandemic.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.

    Currently, the U.S. Department of Education as well as various school systems seem hesitant whether to follow the guidelines of the experts, the Center for Disease Control.  If that fact alone does not give an intelligent person “a cause to pause” with following this leadership’s direction, these agencies, as well as school superintendents, have failed to provide specific details on how and what changes will be implemented to protect all people, most importantly the children, who are being told to return to in-person schooling.  Currently, not one Department of Education, School Board, or superintendent in the state of Louisiana has produced a detailed plan created for educating children in the middle of a pandemic for all of the encounters throughout the school day.  Case in point, one aspect of their school day— transportation.  It is less than a month for most school systems’ first day of school, and no plan for just transporting the children has been produced.

    According to the CDC, school children must be seated on the buses, one child to a seat in every other seat.  This requirement alone means school systems will need more bus drivers and/or need to extend the transport time.  However, let’s take a closer look at the issue of transporting the children in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, as an example.  EBRPSS utilizes a transfer spot as a key component of its transportation schedule, whereby one bus picks up children from their neighborhood then takes them to a location where all other buses meet, and the children change to another bus that will transport the students to school.  In light of the issue of social distancing requirements, this mechanism for transporting students will certainly have to cease.

    In fact, EBRPSS more than likely will need to create an entirely new routing system, since few bus routes are designed to travel from pick up locations and conclude at the school or vice versa.  In addition to new bus routes and more frequent traveling between pick up and school to account for fewer children on the bus, NOW, the bus drivers will need to sanitize the buses between each transport to prevent exposure of contamination from one bus trip to another.  Hence, the transportation time is extended even longer and requires the school system to properly train each bus driver to complete this task.  To add to this laundry list of necessary changes, the buses must be timed properly at arriving at schools for drop off and pick up at staggering times, in order to adhere to the social distancing requirements.  One would tend to believe that buses would no longer be able to line up stacked together in front of schools and clusters of children congregate to exit and enter.

    More importantly, these plans must be created for two different sets of children for A and B days of travel, since the schools must alternate the days the children attend due to social distancing requirements which prohibits the classrooms filled with previous numbers of  30-40 students per class.  And, after considering all these changes, there still must be contingency plans for children that are missed at the bus stop, taken to the wrong school or traveled on the wrong day.  And, let’s remember all of these changes must be created for high, middle, and elementary children at public, charter, and Catholic schools by next month.  And, considering all things being new, there needs to be time for bus drivers to be trained and routes timed to determine how to complete all these tasks and have the children at school timely.  Quite frankly, there has not been one explanation regarding just the issue of transportation.  So, how can parents as well as school systems’ faculty and staff trust there are proper plans in place in other aspects of the school day, when the one task of transportation has not been addressed?

    Before any superintendent asks parents, faculty, or staff to attend school this year, that superintendent should walk the journey of an actual school day of a student, teacher, and a staff member, see all the COVID-19 obstacles involved at each area of the day and do his/her best to create preventative solutions to address those problems.  Once that information is obtained, provide those instructions and explanations to everyone involved.  At that point, most people will be able to make better decisions regarding what is best for their family.  However, without this type or some similar type of information, most people will not feel safe with the most precious of our world, our children, returning to the unsafe school environment.

    Headshot Anna Jackson JD

    Anna Jackson JD

    Anna M. Jackson, JD
    Community activist and concerned citizen
    Zachary, Louisiana

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  • ,,

    Apple teams up with HBCUs to bring coding and creativity opportunities to communities

    Apple announced it is deepening its existing partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, adding 10 more HBCU regional coding centers that will serve as technology hubs for their campuses and broader communities. This effort is part of Apple’s Community Education Initiative, designed to bring coding, creativity, and workforce development opportunities to learners of all ages.
    Last month, Apple launched a new Racial Equity and Justice Initiative focused on challenging systemic barriers to opportunity for communities of color by advancing education, economic equality, and criminal justice reform efforts.
    ”Apple is committed to working alongside communities of color to advance educational equity,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives. “We see this expansion of our Community Education Initiative and partnership with HBCUs as another step toward helping Black students realize their dreams and solve the problems of tomorrow.”
    Launched last year, Apple’s Community Education Initiative now extends to 24 locations across the US — 12 of which are HBCUs and 21 of which predominately serve majority Black and Brown students. Across the country, these partnerships have already introduced thousands of students and adult learners to coding and app design, using Apple’s Everyone Can Code and Everyone Can Create curricula.
    Apple has been working with Tennessee State University for the past two years to launch and expand the school’s HBCU C2 initiative, which brings coding and creativity experiences to all 100-plus HBCUs. Tennessee State University now serves as a national hub for training educators and supporting its peer institutions as HBCUs expand coding and creativity opportunities to their own communities. A recent virtual HBCU C2  summit brought together nearly 300 educators from across the HBCU community to share best practices and hear from colleagues about workforce development, connecting with their communities, and bringing coding to students of all ages.
    Robbie Melton, PhD., is Tennessee State University’s associate vice president of the SMART Global Technology Innovation Center and dean of Graduate and Professional Studies. She is also a champion of the HBCU C2 initiative. She is proud of what the program has already accomplished, and sees unlimited potential for the future.
    “In two years, I want all HBCUs to be coding and creating,” said Melton. “In two years, you’re going to see many more people of color entering the STEM workforce — and in two years we’re going to double the number of Black women in technology through this program.”
    Dr. Robbie Melton claps her hands. Melton has been an advocate for bringing coding opportunities to HBCUs.
    Tennessee State University’s Dr. Robbie Melton has been working alongside Apple for the past two years to bring coding and creativity to HBCU peer institutions, with goals to reach every HBCU.
    Ten HBCUs, which have been working alongside Apple and Tennessee State University for the past year, will now become hubs to promote coding in their broader communities: Arkansas Baptist College, Central State University, Claflin University, Dillard University, Fisk University, Lawson State Community College, Morehouse College, Prairie View A&M University, Southern University at Shreveport, and Tougaloo College.
    Apple expects to double the number of HBCU partners by the end of this summer, expanding the network of schools offering coding, creativity, and career pathway opportunities.
    Each hub is designed to create a multiplier effect, building capacity at the HBCUs that extends beyond the campus through partnerships with local K-12 schools, community partners, local governments, and other community stakeholders. Melton views the added regional hubs as a key element of the program’s holistic approach.
    “A hub is a core of empowerment that goes beyond the campus,” said Melton. “It’s about going into the community, into the home, into businesses so that when people code, it becomes part of their lives and it’s helping them solve big problems. This initiative is going to help those who have been broken through COVID-19, broken through racism — and it’s going to empower them through knowledge and skills.”
    A US map shows the location of each HBCU partner participating in Apple’s Community Education Initiative.
    HBCUs will serve as hubs for coding and creativity, bringing together students, faculty and staff, local businesses, and community leaders to promote coding in their communities.
    Over the past year, Southern University at Shreveport in Louisiana has started to gradually introduce Apple coding and creativity curricula to students, faculty, staff, and community members. Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Institutional Priorities  Sharron Herron-Williams, Ph.D., has seen the effect it has had. “Our students are blossoming,” she said. “We invited community business leaders to our coding academy and they saw the work we were doing — one food truck owner asked the students to design him an app to help track his trucks. This fall, our team is going to start working with him to make that app a reality.”
    Herron-Williams graduated from Stillman College in Alabama and sees the Apple expansion as a game changer for education within the HBCU community.
    “This is causing a resurgence at HBCUs — a renewed interest in technology as something that can help design the future,” she said. “Because so many HBCUs have been faced with financial challenges, they have been more focused on ‘how do we keep the doors open’ rather than ‘how do we continue to grow and expand more programs to make HBCUs remain attractive to everyone.’ So this Apple initiative is helping give HBCUs their energy back.”
    Later this month, educators from the 10 HBCUs will be part of a group of nearly 500 teachers and community leaders taking part in a virtual Community Education Initiative Coding Academy that Apple is hosting for all initiative partners. Educators will learn the building blocks of coding with Swift, Apple’s easy-to-learn coding language. Participants will work in teams to design app prototypes to address real community challenges. After completing the coding academy, educators will begin to integrate the coding and creativity curricula into their communities by launching coding clubs and courses at their schools, hosting community coding events, and creating workforce development opportunities for adult learners.
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    EBR schools announces reopening plan

    The superintendent of the East Baton Rouge Parish School system, Warren Drake, has released an updated about the school system’s reopening plan for the 2020-21 school year.

    On Friday a message was sent out to parents although some reported not receiving the message.

    It stated:

     

    Dear EBRPSS Families,

    As we near the midpoint of our summer break, I want to reach out to all of you with a district update. First and foremost, I’d like to welcome Ms. Leslie Brown who will replace me on August 1, 2020, as Superintendent of Schools. I hope that all of you will welcome her just as you did with me five years ago. I have shared with her how fortunate we are as a district to have such a diverse, dedicated, and talented team serving our students. Ms. Brown and I have been in regular communication over the past few weeks. We share an unwavering commitment to a smooth transition to ensure the best teaching and learning environments for August 2020 and beyond. As you know, the decisions before us cannot be made lightly. None of us can predict the
    future. In the here and now, we must factor in local, state, and federal regulations and guidance as we make the best determinations to guide our entry into the upcoming school year. We share all of your concerns about the return to schools, and we recognize that there is not a perfect, one-size-fits-all solution. District staff is monitoring the COVID-19 data and related guidance from within our city, our state, and across the country. Locally, our numbers continue to increase, and it is predicted by some that a spike in positive cases will occur after the July 4th holiday. Regardless, we must find a way to move forward to meet the needs of our students, our employees, and the community we serve. I know many of you are anxious for a comprehensive and inclusive
    plan for August, but in my opinion, it is too early to commit to a definite scenario today. Given the information currently available and if we remain under Phase II on August 6th, here is a snapshot of the two most likely models presently in development:

    Option 1 – Students will begin school on August 6th in a 100% virtual learning environment. If governmental phases allow for it, on Wednesday, September 9, families will have a choice between continuing to learn virtually OR returning to school through a hybrid model permitting local and state guidance.

    Option 2 – If governmental phases allow for it, students will begin school on August 6th under a hybrid model. Within this model, students will attend school two days a week according to predetermined daily schedules. During the remaining three days of the week, students will learn virtually under the supervision of their classroom teachers. This model will afford us the ability to have 50% capacity or under on our campuses and buses at one time. This model will also allow time for cleaning and sanitation. Within this model, all students will have the option to select a 100% virtual learning experience if it is preferred.
    In each of these models and throughout our decision-making process, the health and safety of our students, staff, and their families remain our top priority. Physical distancing, group size, and personal protective equipment will be addressed in each and every decision. In order to do this, additional data is needed to finalize the remaining details of the operational plan. To help us with this, please take the time to complete our latest survey, so that we may have the most accurate data as possible when we release a detailed plan next week.

    https://forms.gle/5kf82BP2jYD4YwKX9

    In closing, I wish each of you a happy, safe, and restful month of July. Each of you, your families, and our students are ever-present in my thoughts and prayers. The past five years prove that the East Baton Rouge Parish School System is a resilient team, one that I will forever be proud to have served. I know your strength, positivity, and determination will continue to shine in the future. We look forward to a great school year ahead.

    Sincerely,

    Warren Drake

    Read more »
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    Southern University launches THC line of medical cannabis products

    The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, part of the Southern University System, together with Ilera Holistic Healthcare (Ilera Holistic), became the nation’s first historically Black university to launch its own THC medical cannabis products. The university and Ilera share one of two cannabis licenses in the state of Louisiana. The launch of this historic brand, called AYO, comes on the heels of Louisiana’s unprecedented extension in June of its own medical marijuana program.

    SU Ag Center chancellor Orlando McMeans PhD

    SU Ag Center chancellor Orlando McMeans PhD

    “This is yet another great and historic day for the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center,” said Orlando McMeans, chancellor of the Ag Center, during a press conference July 1. “The goal of this program is to provide quality medicine for the citizens of the state of Louisiana through education, research and outreach, all of which are included in the mission of the Ag Center. The release of AYO, along with our CBD products, will enable us to help patients better manage their medical issues and improve their quality of life.”

    The AYO line joins the ALAFIA product brand, a hemp-derived tincture developed by Southern and Ilera.  ALAFIA launched on January 25 in the Louisiana market, making Southern University the first HBCU producer in both cannabis and hemp.  ALAFIA will be available online nationwide later this summer.

    “With the launch of both CBD and THC medical marijuana products, Southern continues to set precedents in innovation,” said Ray L. Belton,PhD. president of the Southern University System. “In addition to providing healthcare options for Louisiana residents, our valued partner, Ilera, is able to hire local talent. All of this impacts our state’s economy directly while expanding the Southern University brand.”

    Southern’s medical marijuana program is part of the Ag Center’s Southern Institute for Medicinal Plants led by Janana Snowden,PhD, the institute’s director and an assistant professor of agriculture at Southern University Baton Rouge. The institute and Ag Center have long researched plants such as hibiscus in addition to cannabis.

    “The very important research we conduct on medicinal plants helps us to address health problems that affect communities,” Snowden said. “Our products derived from medicinal plants offer patients another way to alleviate symptoms. We are proud that we can be part of many potential solutions.”

    AYO has been launched at a time that Louisiana has expanded laws to potentially allow more patients to choose medical marijuana for treatment. On June 11, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law ACT No 286, allowing any state-licensed physician to recommend medical marijuana to any of their patients to find relief for any condition.

    Chanda Macias

    Chanda Macias

    “ACT No 286 makes clear that Louisiana residents want full access to medical cannabis and the right to discuss alternative healthcare options with their doctors,” said Chanda Macias, chief executive officer for Ilera Holistic Healthcare. “We are grateful to the entire state legislature in welcoming our input throughout the long history of this bill and listening to the voices of our patients, advocates, doctors and industry colleagues. We had one common goal, which was to bring greater access to medicine for all patients in our great state.”

    AYO is scientifically formulated, lab-tested, pesticide-free, and only available in the state of Louisiana. To learn more about AYO and cannabis medicine, please visit www.ileraholistichealthcare.com.

    By LaKeeshia Lusk
    Contributing Writer

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    Jackson to lead CDL program development

    The Center for Development and Learning has hired  DeJunne’ Clark Jackson as the vice president of program development. Jackson, who is a mother of a “double-deficit, comorbid, bright, insightful, and kind-hearted dyslexic child,” has an in-depth knowledge of the necessary school-based solutions for students with attention and learning challenges, particularly struggling readers and students with ADHD. Jackson earned a master of arts in teaching in early childhood education and a master of education in dyslexia therapy, among many other degrees and certifications. Jackson also serves on the Louisiana Early Literacy Commission.

    She is an alumna of Louisiana Tech University and William Carey University. She is a native of the greater New Orleans area and has lived in north Louisiana for a bit, but she currently calls Baton Rouge home with her husband and two sons. “From early childhood development to college matriculation, DeJunne’ has been able to serve a host of students – helping them to become successful in their educational pursuits. In addition to her service with the district attorney’s child advocacy center, she has served in the capacities of a college disabilities coordinator, classroom teacher, school counselor/student services coordinator, and reading interventionist.”

    Center for Development and Learning is a nonprofit organization that specializes in the development and dissemination of leading-edge research, knowledge, and best practices that improve teaching and increase learning. mission is to improve the life chances of all children, especially those at high risk, by increasing school success.

    ONLINE: http://www.cdl.org

     

     

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    Lucius J. Barker, political scientist who broke racial barriers, has died at 92

    Lucius J. Barker,Ph.D,  a political scientist who broke through racial barriers to become a leader in constitutional law, civil liberties, and African-American politics, died in his Northern California home on June 21 of complications due to Alzheimer’s disease. He was 92.

    Barker, who was the William Bennett Munro Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, at Stanford, served as president of the American Political Science Association in 1992-93. He was the second Black leader to hold that position.

    Judith Goldstein, chair of Stanford’s Department of Political Science and the Janet M. Peck Professor of International Communication, said Barker committed his career to understanding how the American political system can represent the interests of all citizens.

    Paula McClain, current president of the APSA, Duke University professor of political science and public policy, dean of the graduate school and vice provost for graduate education, called Barker “a giant in the field of political science.”

    She said, “Yet, despite his eminence, Lucius was a generous and selfless human being who mentored numerous young scholars of all races, providing them opportunities to achieve their scholarly potential. The discipline and the academy, in general, need more Lucius Barkers.”

    Barker also served as president of the Midwest Political Science Association and was the founding editor of the National Political Science Review, a publication of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists, an organization for which he also served as president.

    The fifth of six children, Barker was born on June 11, 1928, in Franklinton, Louisiana, to college-educated parents who taught in – but were undeterred by – the segregated school system. After graduating high school, Barker attended Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, where he pledged the Beta Sigma chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, and earned his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1949. He then attended the University of Illinois for graduate studies in constitutional law and civil liberties. His mentor was Jack Peltason, who later became president of the University of California system. Barker earned his PhD from Illinois in 1954, and began his teaching career there as a fellow.

    Barker returned to Southern University to teach for several years before moving to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He spent the 1964-65 academic year as a Liberal Arts Fellow of Law and Political Science at the Harvard Law School. In 1967, Peltason, then chancellor, recruited Barker to the University of Illinois to serve as assistant chancellor. In 1969, Washington University in St. Louis recruited him to teach and chair the political science department as the Edna Fischel Gellhorn Professor. He remained there until 1990, when he joined Stanford.

    At Stanford, he twice served as chair of the Department of Political Science and joined Sigma Pi Phi fraternity (known as the Boulé). As a Stanford faculty member, he was elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    Read more from Stanford University

    Photo by Jim Vanides

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    Senate education committee to discuss La’s return to K-12 schools

    The Louisiana Senate Committee on Education, chaired by Senator Cleo Fields, is holding a hearing on Thursday, June 25, 2020 at 6pm in the John J. Hainkel, Jr. room of the Louisiana State Capitol to discuss plans for reopening Louisiana’s K-12 schools.

    The hearing will feature presentations by Cade Brumley PhD, Superintendent of Education, and Courtney Phillips, PhD, Secretary of the Department of Health. It will also include a question and answer session. All concerned individuals are encouraged to submit questions for possible consideration during the meeting.

    “As we look forward to the fall and the reopening of our school systems, we must send a consistent message to our constituents with regard to the plans and guidelines for the students of Louisiana,” said Fields. “Getting our students and teachers back into the classroom in the safest, most efficient manner is our top priority.”

    Individuals wishing to submit questions, may do so by emailing their name, address and question to selfs@legis.la.gov. Only questions received by email prior to 8 a.m. on June 24, 2020 will be considered for inclusion in the meeting.

    Read more »
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    13-year-old Troy Murphy wins national gaming competition

    13-year-old Troy Murphy, a student at Southern University Laboratory School, recently won the High School Esports League‘s national competition. Murphy competed in the NBA 2k20 division championship on June 6 and earned $1,000 in scholarships for his victory. The High School Esports League is the premier and largest national esports league that provides high school students the chance to participate in competitive esports. Earlier this year, he finished third in the HSEL Winter Open Playoffs. Each winner earned $500 in scholarship prizes. Murphy placed third in the tournament after winning the third-place-best-of-five (3-1). He brought home a trophy for his school and is currently ranked the 3rd best player in the nation. Murphy’s teacher, Christopher Turner, said “I never thought I would have the number one player in the country… To see Troy working hard all year and to be able to pull this off is a blessing.” Murphy has a perfect 8-0 regular-season record and a 4.0 academic grade point average.

    ONLINE:

    https://twitter.com/fuego_murphy20

    https://www.highschoolesportsleague.com

    By Nilloc Labs

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    What about school after COVID?

    The East Baton Rouge Parish School System is currently developing plans for the 2020-2021 school year. In order for officials to design the safest and most practical back-to-school options, they are asking families to complete a survey. Answers will provide valuable input to meet the needs of all EBR students. The questions in this survey are designed to understand parent’s baseline preferences.

    As of June 22, no plan for reopening schools for the 2020-2021 school year has been approved by the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board.

    Complete the Survey.


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  • ,,

    Members of the community ask EBR School Board to condemn Bernard’s comments on Robert E. Lee

    Dear Editor,

    The East Baton Rouge School System is one that serves over 81% African-American students. From the time of the inception of this nation, African-American children and their families were barred from the American education system. Now, 13 years after the closing of the longest desegregation order in the United States, and four years after the removal of “Robert E.” from Lee High’s name, Baton Rouge children are still subjected to the bigotry that called for segregation to exist in the first place.

    School Board Member Connie Bernard recently repeated some false, revisionist history during an interview concerning a name change for Lee High. As a representative of a board dedicated to educating over 45,000 children, she is complicit in the oppression of black children in this parish and the spreading of historically inaccurate information to those who look to understand American History.

    According to Sean Kane, writer for the American Civil War Museum, Robert E. Lee inherited and owned 189 enslaved people, whom he worked tirelessly to fulfill a debt, instead of fulfilling his father-in-law’s wish to have those enslaved people freed in five years as the will suggested; he instead petitioned the court to keep them further in bondage. He also petitioned the court to extend their period of enslavement, and according to the narratives of those enslaved, inflicted cruel punishments to those who attempted to escape their life of bondage.

    The members of our organizations are concerned by School Board Member Bernard’s words and actions. Her interview demonstrates that she values Robert E. Lee and the systemic racism that he represents far more than the students and families that she has committed to serve as a member of the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board. Mrs. Bernard’s vote to merely remove Lee’s first name from the school name was a betrayal four years ago and her recent comments show that she has no desire to acknowledge the traumas that Black students and their families have suffered at the hands of oppressors like Robert E. Lee. She’d rather glorify a myth, than work to remove symbols doing real harm to the children in our district.

    We call upon the East Baton Rouge School Board, to act in the best interest of all children in our district and rename Lee High in honor of someone who worked in the collective interest of all children. We also condemn the words of Board Member Connie Bernard and suggest her resignation from the board effective immediately.

    One of the pillars of the East Baton Rouge School System is building trust within the community, and trust cannot be built if board members are actively spreading false history and voting to keep racist symbols in place.

    Sincerely,

    South Louisiana Coalition for Education
    Progressive Social Network of Baton Rouge

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    First cousins make history as valedictorian and salutatorian

    Two Landry-Walker High School seniors made history in New Orleans, becoming the first male students and first cousins to graduate from the school as the valedictorian and salutatorian on June 12, 2020.
    Keisean Garnier and Shane Sterling, also known as best friends, have been inseparable since birth and throughout their school career, and they do not plan to separate anytime soon. The cousins will be recognized as the first male students to be honored as Landry-Walker’s valedictorian and salutatorian since the establishment of Lord Beaconsfield Landry-Oliver Perry Walker High School in 2013.
    “Kiesean and Shane’s story is a great representation of the vision we plan to achieve within our organization and that includes setting the tone for all of our students to reach higher heights, break barriers and lead with excellence so that others will follow,” said Algiers Charter CEO Tale’ Lockett. “We’re so proud of their achievements at Landry-Walker High School, and we know they have a bright future ahead.”
    “Being cousins and the top two of our class is an honor because of the rarity of the feat,” said Salutatorian Shane Sterling. “We never thought that we would make history in the Landry-Walker books, but I’m glad that we could set the foundation for more young men to graduate at the top of their class. I’m fortunate for this milestone and very thankful to God for guiding us through our high school journey.”
    Both students have been with Algiers Charter since kindergarten, attending Martin Behrman Charter School throughout their elementary and junior high school years. They both started attending Landry-Walker High School in their 10th-grade year and will be attending LSU in the Fall.
    “Shane and I have common interests in a lot of things since our moms are sisters,” said valedictorian Keisean Garnier. “Although we’re not competitive, we definitely push each other to succeed in school and certain activities.”
    In addition to ranking number one and two in their class, both students served as student-athletes on Landry-Walker’s cross country, track and field, and soccer teams. They are both members of the National Society of High School Scholars.
    Read more »
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    P-EBT cards arriving in plain white envelopes; Don’t toss!

    As the first round of Louisiana Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) cards arrive this week, recipients should be on alert for plain white envelopes with an Austin, Texas, return address. The envelope will include the household’s P-EBT card along with instructions for activating and using the card. Photos of the envelope and its contents can be viewed at www.dcfs.louisiana.gov/pebt-mail.

    If parents who successfully applied for P-EBT benefits do not receive their P-EBT card in the mail within one week of the below estimated delivery dates, they should call the LAHelpU Customer Service Center at 1-888-524-3578 to report their card missing and have a new one mailed to them.  Estimated delivery dates are as follows:

    • For most who applied before May 25 at 4:30 p.m. and were approved, the card(s) should arrive in the mail the week of June 8.
    • Those who applied between May 25 at 4:30 p.m. and June 1 at 4:30 p.m. and were approved can expect to receive their card(s) by June 13.
    • Those who applied between June 1 at 4:30 p.m. and June 8 at 4:30 p.m. and were approved can expect to receive their card(s) by June 19.
    • Those who apply between June 8 at 4:30 p.m. and the new deadline of June 15 at 4:30 p.m. and are approved can expect to receive their card(s) by June 26.
    Read more »
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    Songs of Hope concert with David Sylvester scheduled for June 5

    VIPS is having a virtual Songs of Hope concert featuring songs requested by the public performed by phenomenal singer-songwriter, David Sylvester Jr.   The song requests are songs that bring encouragement, joy, and hopefulness when needed.  Tune into VIPS YouTube page to see him discuss his thoughts about the impact of music and his inspirations as a musician.  The concert is Friday, June 5, 2020, at 6pm

    Read more »
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    ‘Reach Your Fullest Potential’

    Masked up and practicing physical distancing, McKinley Senior High School senior Micah Jones tells East Baton Rouge Parish 2020 graduates to “do all you can do to reach your fullest potential.” Read Jones’ speech along with former President Barack Obama’s speech to 2020 graduates. Applauding our grads with unique celebrations. Mobile COVID testing comes to needed neighborhoods. DrumRolls! Farewell to the lives taken by the coronavirus.

    Review the Graduation issue here.

     

     

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    EBRP libraries move into Phase 2 to serve patrons

    The East Baton Rouge Parish Library will move into Phase 2 of its phased re-opening process starting Monday, June 1.

    “Although we were pleased to offer digital services over the past weeks, and then to expand access on May 20 with call ahead/pickup services and more extensive phone and online reference help, we are now ready to increase access by opening significant portions of the public service spaces in our buildings. We have successfully completed our first phase of preparations, which included reconfiguring furnishings, establishing appropriate social distancing provisions, and accepting and quarantining a large influx of returned library items. We also have secured sufficient special supplies and materials to help maintain an elevated level of preventive intervention. As the details of this phase of our reopening explain below, there are some changes and new procedures that will be necessary with the use of library public spaces. We appreciate that this will require a certain level of adjustment, but we hope that everyone can work with us to make their library experience as safe and rewarding as possible,” said library director Spencer Watts. 

    In Phase 2 of the Library’s Re-opening Plan, the following services will be available to our patrons:

    • Libraries open doors to the public to provide use of PCs, Wi-Fi, and fresh checkouts of material

    Library locations will open to the public from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. through 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m. through 6 p.m. on Sunday.

    The new River Center Branch will open later in June; its opening date has been pushed back due to delays in furniture and equipment installation. 

    Telephone assistance is available as usual at all 14 locations during these hours.

    • As required by City-Parish, all patrons entering Library buildings must wear a face mask or other personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • Because of the need to increase distance between workstations, a reduced number of Public PCs will be available on a “reservations” basis:
      • Please call the Reference Desk at your desired location to make a reservation
      • Reservations for slots during the first hour the Library is opened may be placed the day before
      • Headphones will not be available; please bring your own
      • Keyboard and mice will be cleaned after each use
      • Public PCs will be available until 15 minutes before closing
      • Printing, copying and faxing will be available
      • Computers and Wi-Fi are temporarily unavailable at the Delmont Gardens Branch due to connectivity issues
    • Wi-Fi will be available inside and outside from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. at all 14 locations

    Seating will be limited; physical distance will be maintained between seating, tables and computers

    • Protective Measures:
      • Acrylic sneeze guards will be placed at service desks and visual reminders related to social distancing will be in use at each location
      • Hand sanitizer will be available at each location
      • PPE will be in use by staff at each location; masks are mandatory
      • Expanded cleaning protocols and an accelerated schedule for disinfecting and deep cleaning at each location
    • The Library collection will be considered “Closed Stacks” during this time period; this protective measure will help prevent exposure to the virus
      • Patrons may call ahead to locate materials, or reserve items as usual.
      • Patrons who come in person will need to request materials directly from Library staff. Library staff will then search the shelves for desired books or AV materials and bring them directly to patrons to minimize contact
      • Patrons will be able to check out their materials via Self Check Kiosks at all locations or receive assistance at Circulation Services
    • Call Ahead/ Drive Through/ Pick Up Service will continue at all locations, so that patrons who want to minimize contact may do so
    • Library materials may be returned to any location; items that are trapped to fulfill Reservations will be quarantined for 72 hours before becoming available to the patron who is “on Hold”
    • The library encourages patrons to reserve the first hour of service for seniors and those with compromised immune systems; please consider arriving at or after 10 a.m. if you are not in that category
    • Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult or care-taker
    • Staff will monitor occupancy of the library and as necessary, limit the number of patrons who may be inside at any given time; occupancy limits will need to be strictly enforced
    • Payments will only be accepted through the usual online credit card service

     

    A detailed Phase Plan is available digitally in the June edition of the Library’s The Sourcemonthly newsletter at https://www.ebrpl.com/Source/Source202006.pdf.

    To find information on the coronavirus (COVID-19), visit the InfoGuide athttp://ebrpl.libguides.com/coronavirus. More about the Library and any of its free programs, events and resources can be found online at www.ebrpl.com.

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    Grads: ‘Stay resilient, pursue every ambition, have courage, set the world on a different path’

    In speech after speech, 2020 graduates are being encouraged and celebrated in unprecedented fashion from outdoor celebrations like the one hosted at the Louisiana Leadership Institute to virtual commencement speeches by national leaders and celebrities like former President Barack Obama and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Every speech uniquely resonates a message of resilience and challenge for grads to improve the world especially in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic.

    To the graduating seniors of East Baton Rouge Parish, State Senator Cleo Fields said, “When we see you, we see great things and we see success.” On May 19, Fields and the LLI board organized a parish-wide graduation celebration, recognizing top grads with awards from area sponsors. “If it’s any class that deserves recognition, it’s this class,” he said.

    Micah Jones, LLI student president and 2020 graduate of McKinley High School, echoed that sentiment in this speech during the ceremony:

    Louisiana Leadership Institute president Micah Jones’ speech:

    “We, the class of 2020, started our freshmen year in the midst of chaos—the Flood of 2016—and now we are ending our senior year in the midst of a pandemic—COVID-19. This is truly an indication that we are a class of very resilient individuals for despite the sufferings and situations we have faced in our lifetime, we will conquer with God on our side.

    Micah Jones, a graduating senior and drum major at McKinley Senior High School, serves as president of the Louisiana Leadership Institute in Baton Rouge. On May 19, 2020, he gave a commencement speech to graduating seniors from across the parish. Photo provided.

    Micah Jones, a graduating senior and drum major at McKinley Senior High School, serves as president of the Louisiana Leadership Institute in Baton Rouge. On May 19, 2020, he gave a commencement speech to graduating seniors from across the parish. Photo provided.

    We thank our parents, teachers, and all individuals who have influenced and nurtured us as we begin our new tomorrow in our new abnormal world,” Jones said.

    “Some of us will go to college, some to the military, others straight into the workforce. No matter where we go or what we do, there are definitely challenges awaiting us. What I ask of my fellow graduates, and of myself, is to meet those challenges straight on with your head held high and your heart wide open. It’s not enough to simply try to get by in life; that doesn’t move the world forward. You must try to excel in everything you do. Strive for excellence in every task, whether large or small.”

    “Although it may not be easy to see, but every accomplishment you achieve is added to the world’s accomplishments. Your individual successes benefit society as a whole because when you succeed, you lighten the burden on your fellow man. When you succeed, you are in a position to give rather than take My challenge to each of you and to myself, is to do all you can do to reach your fullest potential.”

    “If you ever find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come, how far we have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the obstacles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome.”

    “In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, ‘You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do’,” Jones said.

    “So wherever this life leads you, aim for the stars and remember, we are more than survivors, we are conquerors and nothing–absolutely nothing–can stop us from accomplishing any goal we hope to achieve!”

    Days later, U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts encouraged graduating seniors at Westminster School in Simsbury, Connecticut, to make their way with humility, compassion, and courage in a world turned upside down. “This is your moment, your time to begin leaving your mark on the world,” he said.

    In a video message, Roberts said that the coronavirus has “pierced our illusion of certainty and control…Humility. The pandemic should teach us at least that.” Roberts told graduates to show compassion. “Others are suffering, too, and many will be for a long time. Those who have lost jobs or small businesses or whose hopes and dreams may be slowly drifting out of reach,” he said. Roberts said people they encounter years from now “may bear scars you cannot see.” He also told them they will need courage in this uncertain time.

    Similarly, NBA star LeBron James joined other celebrities during the “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020” broadcast on May 16.

    To the classes of graduates, James said, “do not forget your safety net. Every teacher, every coach, every pastor. They along with your friends and family got you to this moment, and now it is time to go to a new place. It is time to chase every dream, accept every challenge, strive for greatness, honor every promise, and recommit to your community.”lebron-james-mo_hpMain_20200516-203204_16x9_1600

    “Stay close to home, maybe not physically but in every other way possible.” James encouraged them to “pursue every ambition go as far as you can possibly dream. Be the first generation to embrace a new responsibility, a responsibility to rebuild your community. Class of 2020, the world has changed, you will determine how we will rebuild and I ask that you make your community your priority.” Then, former President Barack Obama spoke.

    Former President Barack Obama’s ‘Graduate Together’ speech

    “I couldn’t be prouder of all of you in the graduating Class of 2020 — as well as the teachers, and the coaches, and most of all, parents and family who guided have you along the way.

    Now graduating is a big achievement under any circumstances. Some of you have had to overcome serious obstacles along the way, whether it was an illness, or a parent losing a job, or living in a neighborhood where people too often count you out. Along with the usual challenges of growing up, all of you have had to deal with the added pressures of social media, reports of school shootings, and the specter of climate change. And then, just as you’re about to celebrate having made it through, just as you’ve been looking forward to proms and senior nights, graduation ceremonies — and, let’s face it, a whole bunch of parties — the world is turned upside down by a global pandemic. And as much as I’m sure

    You love your parents, I’ll bet that being stuck at home with them and playing board games or watching “Tiger King” on tv is not exactly how you envisioned the last few months of your senior year.

    Now I’ll be honest with you — the disappointments of missing a live graduation — those will pass pretty quick. I don’t remember much from my own high school graduation. I know that not having to sit there and listen to a commencement speaker isn’t all that bad — mine usually go on way too long.

    Also, not that many people look great in those caps, especially if you have big ears like me. And you’ll have plenty of time to catch up with your friends once the immediate public health crisis is over. But what remains true is that your graduation marks your passage into adulthood — the time when you begin to take charge of your own life. It’s when you get to decide what’s important to you: The kind of career you want to pursue. Who you want to build a family with. The values you want to live by. And given the current state of the world, that may be kind of scary. If you’d planned on going away for college, getting dropped off at campus in the fall — that’s no longer a given. If you were planning to work while going to school, finding that first job is going to be tougher.

    Even families that are relatively well-off are dealing with massive uncertainty. Those who were struggling before — they’re hanging on by a thread.

    Former President Barack Obama

    Former President Barack Obama

    All of which means that you’re going to have to grow up faster than some generations. This pandemic has shaken up the status quo and laid bare a lot of our country’s deep-seated problems — from massive economic inequality to ongoing racial disparities to a lack of basic health care for people who need it. It’s woken a lot of young people to the fact that the old ways of doing things just don’t work; that it doesn’t matter how much money you make if everyone around you is hungry and sick; and that our society and our democracy only work when we think not just about ourselves, but about each other.

    Second, do what you think is right. Doing what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy — that’s how little kids think, unfortunately, a lot of so-called grown-ups, including some with fancy titles and important jobs, still think that way — which is why things are so screwed up. I hope that instead, you decide to ground yourself in values that last, like honesty, hard work, responsibility, fairness, generosity, respect for others. You won’t get it right every time, you’ll make mistakes like we all do. But if you listen to the truth that’s inside yourself, even when it’s hard, even when it’s inconvenient, people will notice. They’ll gravitate towards you. And you’ll be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

    And finally, build a community. No one does big things by themselves. Right now, when people are scared, it’s easy to be cynical and say let me just look out for myself, or my family, or people who look or think or pray like me. But if we’re going to get through these difficult times; if we’re going to create a world where everybody has the opportunity to find a job and afford college; if we’re going to save the environment and defeat future pandemics, then we’re going to have to do it together. So be alive to one another’s struggles. Stand up for one another’s rights. Leave behind all the old ways of thinking that divide us — sexism, racial prejudice, status, greed — and set the world on a different path.

    When you need help, Michelle and I have made it the mission of our foundation to give young people like you the skills and support to lead in your own communities, and to connect you with other young leaders around the country and around the globe.

    But the truth is that you don’t need us to tell you what to do. Because in so many ways, you’ve already started to lead. Congratulations class of 2020. Keep making us proud”

    By Candace J. Semien
    Jozef Syndicate reporter
    @jozefsyndicate

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    VIPS presents Apple Awards to reading and math friends

    Volunteers in Public School presented Apple Awards to 18 in-school volunteers who serve as reading or math friends in East Baton Rouge Parish schools. Honored were:  Mary Elizabeth Richardson, Cedarcrest-Southmoor Elementary; Nancy Ballard, Audubon Elementary; Tavia Crumpler, Park Elementary; Det. Sergeant Charles F. Dotson, Park Elementary; Shavon Knighten, LaSalle Elementary; Michael Dreznick, Riveroaks Elementary; Sarah Jones, Melrose Elementary; Sandra Brock, Glen Oaks Park Elementary; Lola LeBlanc, Cedarcrest-Southmoor Elementary; Mike LeBlanc, Cedarcrest-Southmoor Elementary; Edward W. Griffin, Melrose Elementary; Santos Mena, Wedgwood Elementary; Melissa Washington, Claiborne Elementary and Howell Park Elementary; Mitchell Provensal, Arlington Preparatory Academy; Samatha Miler, Woodlawn Middle; Walter Thomas, Park Forest Middle; and K.K. Welty Winbourne Elementary. This year’s annual Apple Awards was canceled due to the stay-at-home order.  In lieu of an in-person event,  VIPS presented an Apple Recognition Virtual Event. “These heartfelt recognitions remind our schools and the community of how much we value school volunteers and understand the impact of community involvement in public schools,” said Kaia Simmons, VIPS volunteer and community partners director.

     

     

     

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    TPSS will wait until late June, offer more traditional ceremonies for high school seniors

    Tangipahoa Parish School Superintendent Melissa Stilley announced Friday that the seven TPSS high schools will wait until late June to provide the Class of 2020 an opportunity for more traditional graduation ceremonies.

    Stilley said the public has been very vocal in their preference to see a more traditional graduation ceremony for this year’s high school seniors, and she said her office, the School Board, and the seven high schools will do everything they can to offer larger scale, in-person programs after the state enters Phase II of the COVID-19 recovery period.

    “I hope our seniors and their families know that we are listening, and we hear their wishes. While we don’t know exactly what a summer ceremony will look like, we are open and willing to meet their requests and do our best to provide our seniors an opportunity for a more traditional graduation ceremony later this summer,” Stilley said.

    As a result, the previously-scheduled “drive-thru” and “Graduation on the Geaux” ceremonies that were slated to begin next week have all been canceled. “There will be no TPSS high school graduation ceremonies until the last part of June,” Stilley said.

    Under the proposal agreed upon by the seven principals Friday, the district will plan to hold graduation ceremonies on the following schedule:

    —Amite High Magnet School: June 19
    —Hammond High Magnet School: June 23
    —Independence High Magnet School: June 25
    —Jewel M. Sumner High School: June 22
    —Kentwood High Magnet School: June 26
    —Loranger High School: June 24
    —Ponchatoula High School: June 27

    Specific details on those ceremonies will be released by the school closer to the date. Schools will have alternative plans ready for this date if there are any other governmental orders that prohibit more traditional ceremonies, Stilley said.

    Students who need to receive their diploma prior to their graduation date should contact their principal.

    “We know that there are seniors who are entering the military or going into a post-secondary program or the workforce who expected to receive their diplomas sooner than this June schedule. We are here to help them by making those arrangements before they transition to this new era in their lives,” Stilley said.

    The Superintendent offered her sincere thanks to the high schools for being so flexible in adjusting their plans to suit the needs of their students.

    “We are living in unprecedented times, and I am so grateful to our high schools for the countless hours they are putting into planning these ceremonies for our students,” Stilley said. “I am also appreciative of the community for working with us and offering us feedback on how we can make this experience better for our students. We as a district are committed to keeping our kids safe while keeping in focus our core value to be compassionate to the legitimate wants and needs of our students and their families. Everyone in our system is sensitive to the hard work that our graduating seniors have completed, and we share in their desire to celebrate this accomplishment publicly with family and friends before they pursue their future endeavors.”

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    Katrina then COVID-19: First-gen graduate, Jason Williams, leaves SUNO Honore Center ready for urban classroom

    New Orleans native Jamon Williams said his life’s calling is to teach and help others prosper by learning. In 2015, Williams answered that call by enrolling in Southern University New Orleans and joining the Honoré Center for Undergraduate Student Achievement, a program designed to guide Black male students through undergraduate studies through the College of Education. The Center and its staff lead scholars into urban classrooms as educators.

    May 9, 2020, would have been the day of commencement for Williams who plans to teach middle school in New Orleans. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what would have been a time of celebration and interviews has become a time of lock-in for Williams and countless 2020 graduates around the globe who must celebrate the culmination of successful educational journeys in isolation.

    “I imagined my commencement to be a groundbreaking final hurrah, but that isn’t the case. I won’t be walking across the stage to receive my degree anytime soon, so it feels like winning a marathon with no finish line,” said Williams, who is his family’s first college graduate. He is also a member of the Honore Center’s eighth cohort.

    “I know that the impact of COVID-19 has affected everyone in the world in many ways and that this is a time for us to focus on how we as a world can overcome this pandemic together. That is most important to me. We must protect and educate ourselves, stay at home, help others when we can, adhere to social distancing, and remain hopeful,” said Williams.

    He has seen the toll COVID-19 has taken on SUNO and his community and plans to do all he can to educate others to protect themselves. To date, according to the Louisiana Department of Health, 6753 cases and 481 deaths have been reported in Orleans Parish and its impact has created a new way of living, communicating, and surviving. It is a feeling of change and readjustment eerily familiar to Williams who relocated to Alabama with his mother and four siblings during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and returned to the Ninth Ward in 2009. Together they rebuilt their lives, but now he says he is greatly concerned about COVID-19′s impact on his family and community although he expects the best because his experiences at the Honoré Center have allowed him to stand tall and face our changing world.

    “I know that the dedication and hard work that I have put in while at the Honoré Center will soon pay off and I will be able to continue to pursue my passion to educate others and to build knowledge,” he said.

    As a scholar of the Honoré Center, Williams received academic and social support from fellow students of his cohort and from director Morkeith Phillips. That support did not stop when the university moved to distance learning in response to the coronavirus. “It was never a question if the Honoré Center would continue to ensure our students had the support they needed to complete this academic year. When they start the program, they all have stories that have impacted their lives. They are here because they are fighters and have made it through. We never doubted their fight for success – even during these times,” said Phillips.

    Named after retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Russel L. Honoré, the Center recruits male students into a highly structured campus living and learning environment designed to ensure their academic and personal success as college men and future leaders. Embedded on the SUNO campus in 2012, the Center addresses the important national challenge of increasing the number of male classroom teachers in urban settings while reversing the trend of fewer Black males graduating from college. All Honoré scholars commit to serving as classroom teachers in the New Orleans area for at least two years following graduation.

    By Shonda Y. Wessinger
    The Drum Contributing Writer

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    NSF awards Jean Fotie $265,000 for environmental research at Southeastern

    Ponchatoula resident and Southeastern Louisiana University professor of organic chemistry Jean Fotie, Ph.D., was awarded a $265,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Fotie plans to develop greener and sustainable catalytic methods to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. High school students enrolled in Southeastern’s Math-Science Upward Bound program, Southeastern undergraduate students, and Southeastern integrated science and technology master’s students will participate in Fotie’s research. “Hopefully, this amazing group of researchers will be able to develop a new catalytic system that can enable the conversion of CO2 into important chemicals, a method that could eventually find application in continuous flow industrial processes,” he said.

     

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    Suze Orman joins Mayor Broome for the financial literacy online workshop series

    Financial advisor Suze Orman will serve as a special guest contributor for the final installment of Mayor Broome’s Financial Literacy Online Workshop series this Thursday.

    The final webinar installment is Assessing Spending Habits During COVID-19 and Beyond, A New Normal for Money Management. This workshop will provide a summary of information from the first five webinars while also addressing the changing spending habits of consumers during the coronavirus pandemic. The workshop focuses on shopping habits, credit card purchases, accessing free credit reports, and advice for managing life on a new budget.

    The webinar begins at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 30, 2020. Participants are encouraged to register online at brla.gov/covidworkshop. It can also be viewed on the City of Baton Rouge Facebook page and on Metro21.

    Orman is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and nationally recognized personal financial advisor. She served as a contributing editor for Oprah’s “O” Magazine and the Costco Connection Magazine for 16 and 18 years, respectively.

    The previous Financial Literacy Workshops can be accessed on Mayor Broome’s YouTube Channel .

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    Grambling, Southern to receive $1M from National Park Service

    Grambling State and Southern University will receive a combined $1 million from the National Park Service, according to Senator Bill Cassidy’s Office.

    The money, according to a release, will be used to preserve historic structures on the two campuses.

    Funds will be used to renovate the health center, part of Grambling’s Historic Village and the Southern University archives building.

    Cassidy’s Office says that funding is made available through the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF).

    “Grambling and Southern are two of the most historic campuses in our state,” said Cassidy. “This funding will help preserve buildings that make them unique so that they remain for generations to come.”

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    Eight Southern University leaders assigned to Governor’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force

    Southern University System will have seven representatives on Governor John Bel Edwards Louisiana COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. The task force will focus on research and actions to improve health outcomes and equity for the state’s residents. The group’s progress will be monitored by a statewide Health Equity Dashboard.

    From Southern are:

    Sandra Brown, Ph.D., dean of the Southern University College of Nursing and Allied Health, will serve as co-chair of the task force

    Southern University System president-chancellor Ray L. Belton, Ph.D. and chief of staff Katara Williams, Ph.D., will serve on the task force’s administration along with SU alum and Commissioner of the Louisiana Board of Regents, Kim Hunter-Reed, Ph.D.

    Orlando F. McMeans, Ph.D.,, chancellor-dean of the Southern University Ag Center and the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences.

    Dr. Rani G. Whitfield, Southern University System Board Member and family practice physician.

    Deleso A. Alford, professor of law at the Southern University Law Center and expert on marginalized people in American healthcare, and Damien Ejigiri,Ph.D, dean and professor of the Nelson Mandela School of Government and Social Sciences will serve on the task force’s public and regulatory policy subcommittee and focus on policies and laws that impact health disparities.

    The task force is scheduled to hold its first meeting on Friday, April 24. For additional information about the Louisiana COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force and a complete list of members, click here.

     

     

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    NAACP urges Gov. Edwards to ensure school meals, distance learning during school closures

    The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. sent a letter to Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards to express concern about the lack of school meals and educational instruction provided to schoolchildren since schools closed on March 13, 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. These failures have a disproportionate impact on Black schoolchildren, many of whom rely on school meals for their daily nutrition and do not have access to online resources. The letter urges Governor Edwards to require all school districts to provide meals and distance learning that is reasonably accessible, especially to the most vulnerable students.

    “We call upon Governor Edwards to take immediate action to ensure that no child in Louisiana is deprived of food or an education,” said LDF Senior Counsel Michaele N. Turnage Young. “Even in the midst of unprecedented challenges, we must ensure that every child has the opportunity to grow and learn. The strains of this pandemic are felt by everyone, but most especially by disadvantaged children that now, more than ever, face economic and educational insecurity.”

    For many children, school breakfasts and lunches are the only meals they can reliably expect to eat each weekday. Yet, since the schools have closed, access to school meals has been uneven. Some children do not have access to meals at all, while others cannot sign up remotely for meal delivery due to a lack of internet access, and others must walk more than an hour to retrieve a meal from pick-up site that may be open for as little as 90 minutes.

    Nearly half of Louisiana school districts have yet to offer any distance learning at all even though the pandemic may cause students to miss nearly a quarter of the school year. Where distance learning is offered, it is often inaccessible to children who do not have internet service.

    LDF represents thousands of Black schoolchildren and their parents in school desegregation cases across Louisiana. For decades, such families have taken the lead in advancing solutions that will improve conditions for all. LDF’s letter offers recommendations for overcoming today’s unprecedented challenges and asks Governor Edwards to implement them.

    Read the full letter here.

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    Grab-n-Go meals change through April 30 for EBR schools sites

    The East Baton Rouge Parish School System updated its grab-n-go meal operation Friday, April 2. The district has partnered with Ballard Hospitality of Covington to supply a mix of hot and cold meals and shelf-stable boxed meals to students through the duration of April. The shift is in part a response to concerns about the safety of school employees amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

    Updated-Meal-Graphic-page-002

    Here are the changes:

    The week of April 6-9 - School system child nutrition workers will continue the standard meal distribution at Northeast Elementary, Progress Elementary, Scotlandville Pre-Engineering Magnet Academy, Wildwood Elementary, and Woodlawn Elementary. Ballard Hospitality will serve breakfast and hot lunch meals at Broadmoor Middle, Claiborne Elementary, Park Forest Middle, and Capitol Middle.

    On weekdays from April 13 – April 17 (excluding April 10, Good Friday) – Ballard Hospitality will deliver and distribute shelf-stable meal boxes to 25 EBR schools on a rotating schedule. Five breakfast meals and five lunch meals will be included in one box. Each child in the family will receive a box, while supplies last. Kleinpeter Farms Dairy will issue a ½ gallon of milk with each box.

    The week of April 20-24 - Ballard Hospitality will follow the same distribution schedule, but each box will contain 10 breakfast meals and 10 lunches to sustain students through April 30. Kleinpeter will issue a gallon of milk with each box.

    0003-1583x2048

    The grab-n-go meals will still be distributed from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. on weekdays, while supplies last. Families will be able to pick up the pre-packaged breakfast and lunches for children 18 years of age and younger, including overage students with disabilities through age 22. At least one child must be present in order to receive student meals.

    ONLINE: full meal distribution schedule and additional resources https://ebrschools.org/coronavirus-covid-19/child-nutrition/.

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    FrogTutoring opens live, online classes with instructors; free for K-12 students

    Frog Tutoring, LLC now offers free online K-12 classes in math, English Language Arts, and science led live by an instructor to help students across the country continue their educational pursuits while the country faces the COVID-19 pandemic. Highly qualified tutors will lead classes for students in the foundational subjects as many schools throughout the country are not able to offer online classes to their students or have suspended school until the fall.

    Frog Tutoring will be utilizing a structured curriculum from CK-12.org Education Foundation and offering over 290 classes targeting different subjects and grades. CK-12.org is one of the leaders in providing online grade-specific educational content and often used by students who are homeschooled. Registration begins Monday, March 30th and classes are scheduled to run through May. Students can register for classes at https://frogtutoring.com/elessons.

    Classes will be held 1-3 times per week for a minimum of an hour utilizing Zoom, which allows for teacher and student communication, content and screen sharing facilitating an interactive learning experience for the students.  Instructors of the online classes will be tutors employed by Frog Tutoring who have been carefully vetted, maintained a 3.5 grade point average and passed a background check. All tutors are volunteering their time to make sure no student is left behind. Families will receive an email after each online session from the tutor summarizing educational content allowing parents to know the concepts that are being covered.

    “As leaders in the tutoring industry, I wanted us to play a role to ensure that all families can offer their children the ability to continue their education; this is something our families should not have to worry about.  I reached out to our amazing tutors to see if they were willing to volunteer their time to teach pro bono classes and I was stunned that over 200 of our employees answered the call to service for our communities and country within 48 hours.  I am proud of our tutors and the impact they will have in making a difference in children’s lives as we all face COVID-19,” said Roland Omene, CEO of Frog Tutoring,.

     Frog Tutoring is an educational technology platform that facilitates college admissions coaching and one-on-one customized in-home and online tutoring, offering services on a full range of academic courses, test preparation, and computer summer camps for K-12 and college students. Frog Tutors are college students and recent graduates from top local universities with an average GPA of 3.5 or higher in their areas of tutoring specialization who serve as mentors to their students. Frog Tutoring was founded by Omene in 2009. The company’s headquarters are in Fort Worth, Texas, with current operations in more than 50 major cities in the US and growing. For more information on Frog Tutoring, visit http://frogtutoring.com/.

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    North Baton Rouge AIM Grant applications due April 10

    In an effort to increase community support at public schools in North Baton Rouge,Volunteers In Public Schools invites all faith-based organizations to participate in the North Baton Rouge AIM Grant.

    AIM Grant FlyerVIPS will award four faith entities with stipends to invest in a designated North Baton Rouge school for the purposes of expanding student resources and improving academic strides in reading and math. This application is open to ALL faith-based organizations in the Baton Rouge area that can commit to providing volunteers in North Baton Rouge public schools. This opportunity establishes a strategic faith-based volunteer commitment.

    To receive an application, email dpoplus@ebrschools.org or through the VIPS website at www.vipsbr.org. Applications are due April 10 by 11:59 pm.

    VIPS’s mission strives to foster student success and build support for public schools through strengthening math and reading skills.

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    Students lose grab and go meals with Governor’s stay-at-home order

    Sunday, March 22, Governor John Bel Edwards issued a statewide stay-at-home order that requires all Louisianans to shelter at home except for essential tasks beginning at 5 pm on Monday, March 23. As a result, Caddo, Bossier, Acadia parish school districts have discontinued its much needed grab-n-go meals for students.

    Meals will be served tomorrow and end until further notice. According to Bossier Schools, 43% of its students rely on free and reduced lunch.

    “Our district takes the safety of our students and staff seriously and has agreed to only provide food services as long as the safety of participants could be guaranteed,” Charnae McDonald, asst. director of communications for the Caddo Parish School District told KTAL/KMSS.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Taco de Paco trucks to bring food to children in EBR, Plaquemines, Jefferson starting March 23

    Three O’Clock Project, a local nonprofit in partnership with Taco de Paco food truck and other community groups will feed children in three communities starting Monday, March 23 to fulfill a service need due to school closures.

    Families with the children 18 years old and younger can receive meals by mobile delivery or at a site. In East Baton Rouge, food trucks will make deliveries at more than 40 apartments, parks, churches, and schools listed at Threeoclockproject.org. The following sites will have Taco de Paco trucks in three parishes:

    Schedule of mobile food truck deliveries in EBR from the Three O'clock Project.

    Schedule of mobile food truck deliveries in EBR from the Three O’clock Project.

    East Baton Rouge Parish

    • MLK Jr. Community Center​ | 4000 Gus Young Ave.
      • M-F | 11am-1pm
      • breakfast and lunch
    • Empower225 | 4829 Winbourne Ave.
      • M-F | ​10am-12pm
      • breakfast and lunch

    Jefferson Parish

    • East Jefferson YMCA | 6691 Riverside Dr., Metairie
      • M-F | 3pm-5pm​
      • breakfast and lunch

    Plaquemines Parish

        • Belle Chasse YMCA
          • M-F | 3pm-5pm​
          • lunch
        • Buras YMCA
          • M-F | 11:30am-1:30pm​
          • breakfast and lunch
        • Port Sulphur YMCA
            • M-F | 11:30am-1:30pm​
            • breakfast and lunch

    Here is the delivery route.

    “A guardian can pick up a meal for a child. Walk ups will be allowed, we will have tables spaced 10 feet apart for participants to grab a meal and go,” said Emily Chatelain, executive director of the Three O’clock Project.

    They have prepared to distribute estimated 20,000 meals as the state and nation continues the fight against COVID-19.

    The Three O’Clock Project shared a menu that includes staples like red beans and rice, sausage, cornbread, and an apple.

    Since 2016, the Three O’Clock Project has partnered food vendors and the community to provide healthy meals at no cost to after school organizations and summer programs.

    “It has been such a great help to my family.  It is going to allow me to better budget the little money that I have while ensuring that my babies get good, delicious food,” said Carolyn Johnson.

    By Ezekiel Wright
    Contributing Writer

    ONLINE: www.threeoclockproject.org for updated meal delivery sites.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Job Corps students left without provisions as campuses close

    Job Corps Centers throughout the nation have placed their students on an indefinite spring break with the first possible date of return being April 14, 2020, said officials.

    “This spring break not only provides clarity for students, their families, and center staff, but also allows Job Corps maximum flexibility to respond to this evolving national emergency,”said John Pallasch, assistant secretary of employment and training.

    However, for some of these Job Corp students, there is no clear path forward nor means of returning if they do not have family or community support or if they are being sent “home” to environments that are not suitable.

    On March 17, the Department of Labor decided to close campuses in light of the COVID-19 public emergency, although there was no evidence of any suspected or confirmed cases in any Job Corps center. There are approximately 121 Job Corp Centers nationwide with tens of thousands of students and staff. Since it started in 1965, the federal training program has had more than two million graduates, and it boasts its share of inspiring success.

    “I have nowhere to go. I came to Job Corps because it gave me the stability I needed in housing and the opportunity to learn a skill that would make me a productive citizen. I left everything bad behind and put my all into completing the program. Now, I am being told that I have to find a way for myself outside of Job Corps’ gate, on my own, with no housing support, food or financial resources.I don’t have a family that I can just fly home to,” said one student who visited a local non-profit for assistance.

    For many students who have been blessed enough to enroll in Job Corps and benefit from the excellent training program, their success is based on the support of the staff with its strong family-oriented infrastructure. Now, these students are left without that support at a critical time and without resources.

    Community advocates said the current administration should make sure each Job Corps student receives the necessary resources to exist until they can return.

    With the proper communication and coordination between Job Corps staff and local social agencies and non-profits, these students would have received the support to continue their development through these turbulent times versus being thrown back into society with little resources.

    By Ezekiel Wright
    Contributing Writer

    Read more »
  • ,

    Robbie Austin Jr’s steer named champion of State Livestock Show

    SU Ag Center holds successful 77th Annual State Livestock Show

    For 77 years, Southern University has continued the tradition of providing an opportunity for youth throughout Louisiana to gain valuable knowledge and skills at its Annual State Livestock and Poultry Show. The event was held on February 27 – 29 at the Maurice A. Edmond Livestock Arena.

    Thirty young people from across the state were named state champions in various breeds of dairy and beef cattle, lamb, goat, and poultry during the show.

    Southern University is the only Historically Black College or University that currently holds a livestock show and it is like no other show in the state.

    “Our show is unique in the fact that we offer guided school tours that include a petting zoo, gardening station, and educational presentations while the participants are showing their animals,” said Harold Mellieon, Ph.D., Director of Livestock Show Programs.

    “The tours provide an opportunity for many youth in the Baton Rouge area to see live farm animals in person for the first time. We also have college students from Southern’s College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences assisting with every part of the show. This gives our college students hands-on experience in the field,” added Mellieon.

    Southern also holds a “Night with the Stars: Old Fashion Livestock Decorating Contest” on every Friday evening after all the animals have been judged.

    “We hold this event to allow the participants to have fun with their animal one last time before the Jr. Auction on Saturday morning,” said Mellieon.

    The “Night with the Stars’ winners were:

    Kenzi Primm in first place and Skylar Primm second place. The first-place winner received $100, the second-place received $50 and both winners took home a commemorative belt buckle cup.

    winners in various livestock categories and their home parishes. Each winner received a premium, ribbon, rosette and trophy belt buckle.

    Registered Dairy

    Champion – Cooper Holmes, Desoto Parish

    Reserve Champion – Kyle Sonnier, Jeff-Davis Parish

     

    Commercial Dairy

    Champion – Kyle Sonnier, Jeff-Davis Parish

    Reserve Champion – Wyatt Sonnier, Jeff-Davis Parish

     

    Dairy Showmanship

    Champion – Kyle Sonnier, Jeff-Davis Parish

    Reserve Champion – Camille Sonnier, Jeff-Davis Parish

     

    Brahman Bull

    Champion – Sutton Shields, Calcasieu Parish
    Reserve Champion – Coy Desormeaux, Cameron Parish

     

    Non-Brahman Bull                                                   

    Champion – Skylar Primm, Caddo Parish

    Reserve Champion – Samuel Danos, Sabine Parish

    Brahman Heifers

    Champion – Sutton Shields, Calcasieu Parish

    Reserve Champion – Brenden Ford, Sabine Parish

     

    Non-Brahman Heifer

    Champion – Skylar Primm, Caddo Parish

    Reserve Champion – Kenzi Primm, Caddo Parish

     

    Commercial Heifer

    Champion – Kenneth Rains, Sabine Parish

    Reserve Champion – Emma Peace, Sabine Parish

    Beef Showmanship

    Champion – Brenden Ford, Sabine Parish

    Reserve Champion – Kenzi Primm, Caddo Parish

    Market Steer  

    Champion – Adam Wilson, East Baton Rouge Parish

    Reserve Champion – Mykia Dyson, Tangipahoa Parish

     

    LA Bred Market Steer

    Champion – Robbie Austin, Jr. Madison Parish

     

    Market Lamb   

    Champion – Hunter Parks, Livington Parish

    Reserve Champion – Makayla Reyenga, Bossier Parish

     

    Market Lamb LA Bred   

    Champion – Evan Mahler, Lafourche Parish

    Reserve Champion – Catherine Martin, Winn Parish

     

    Lamb Showmanship                                       

    Champion – Carlone Dupree, Bossier Parish

    Reserve Champion – Makayla Reyenga, Bossier Parish

     

    Market Goat   

    Champion – Jennifer Langston, Bossier Parish

    Reserve Champion – Chloe Ayo, Lafourche Parish

     

    Market Goat LA Bred   

    Champion – Jennifer Langston, Bossier Parish

    Reserve Champion - Ava Chambers, Bossier Parish

     

    Robbie Austin, Jr.’s, steer was named champion in the Louisiana Bred Market Steer Divison during the SU Ag Center’s 77th Annual State Livestock Show. (Photo by D’Andre Lee, SU Ag Center.)

     

    Goat Showmanship                                     

    Champion – Jennifer Langston, Bossier Parish

    Reserve Champion – Ava Chambers, Bossier Parish

     

    Market Hog   

    Champion – Hunter Parks, Livingston Parish

    Reserve Champion – Brianna Siebarth, Calcasieu Parish

     

    Hog Showmanship                                        

    Champion – Alexis Laiche, St. James Parish

    Reserve Champion – Kensie Pellerin, Iberia Parish

     

    Broiler             

    Champion – Michelle Adams, Caddo Parish

    Reserve Champion – Halle Coppernex, St. James Parish

     

    Broiler  Premier Exhibitor                          

    Co-Champion – Lillian Lofton, Avoyelles Parish

    Co-Champion – Jasmine Soniat, Avoyelles Parish

    Reserve Champion – Aliyah Milburn, St. Landry Parish

     

     

    By LaKeeshia Giddens Lusk

    Contributing writer

    Read more »
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    EBR Head Start programs to distribute meals starting March 23

    As a result of COVID-19, East Baton Rouge Parish Head Start Program will begin distributing breakfast and lunch to Head Start families beginning Monday, March 23rd, at the following Head Start Center locations from 10am-1pm.

    CHARLIE THOMAS HEAD START 
    8686 Pecan Tree Drive
    Baton Rouge, LA  70810

    CHILDREN’S WORLD EARLY HEAD START
    7200 Maplewood Drive
    Baton Rouge, LA  70812

    FREEMAN-MATTHEWS HEAD START
    1383 Napoleon Street
    Baton Rouge, LA  70802

    LABELLE AIRE HEAD START
    1919 N. Christy Drive
    Baton Rouge, LA  70815

    NEW HORIZON HEAD START
    1111 N. 28th Street
    Baton Rouge, LA  70802

    PROGRESS I HEAD START
    1881 Progress Road
    Baton Rouge, LA  70807

    PROGRESS II HEAD START
    1881 Progress Road
    Baton Rouge, LA  70807

    WONDERLAND HEAD START
    1500 Oleander Street
    Baton Rouge, LA  70802

     

    The Division of Human Development & Services (DHDS) will close to the general public as of 3:00 pm effective March 18, 2020 until it is deemed appropriate to re-open. This decision was made based on the guidance issued by the CDC regarding large gatherings of no more than ten people. Our main goal is the safety of our community and staff. Our customers are at the heart of what we do at DHDS, and this decision was not made without proper consideration of those we serve.

    Staff at DHDS will be available to answer any questions from our existing customers. To contact our departments:

    EmployBR​​​​                                        225-358-4579
    Office of Social Service                  225-358-4561
    Head Start                                       ​​​​225-358-4504
    Ryan White                                     ​​​​225-358-1956

    Once a re-opening date is determined we will inform our community.

    Read more »
  • ,

    Tangipahoa schools start meal plans today

    Starting on Wednesday, March 18th, Tangipahoa Parish Schools will be serving breakfast and lunch to students who are 18 and younger.

    The district has designated 12 convenient school-based sites where families can pick up two meals per child per weekday.

    At each site, a driver will be asked to proceed to the pickup area. The driver will be asked to present a form that is available on the TangiSchools.org website. The form asks for the driver’s name and the names of the children for whom they are collecting meals. The students do not need to be in the vehicle at the meal distribution site to receive their meals.

    All meals will be distributed in a drive-thru type line. Drivers will turn in their forms, then move up through the line and someone will distribute the number of meals needed. Drivers who do not have the required form will be given one at the distribution site. No one will be turned away from receiving meals.

    Under the district’s meal plan, every child will receive a bag lunch for that day and a packaged breakfast for the following day.

    School Superintendent Melissa Stilley said some families may rely on elderly family and neighbors who are caring for their children. She said authorities encourage residents to look after this older population, and she said friends or neighbors can pick up meals for families facing this challenge. No ID is required.

    Grab and go meal sites are open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Locations include Champ Cooper, Ponchatoula Jr. High, Ponchatoula High, Hammond Eastside, Hammond Westside, Greenville Park, Midway Elementary, Independence Leadership, Loranger Elementary, Amite High, Sumner High, and OW Dillon. You may pick up at any location that is most convenient for your current situation. Also, please know that Catholic school and private school students may pick up meals as well.

     

    Read more »
  • ,

    Clever software updated to aid student at-home learning

    K-12 school students and others using the school-based Clever software will find a new section of applications to help students continue studies while schools are closed. Under the Core Instructional Resources for COVID-19 section within the student’s individual Clever account, students and parents will find grade-level and curriculum-specific applications, lessons, and videos to continue academic work. Teachers have access to modify and enhance their class assignments for students to complete. Because teachers and school systems are adjusting to online teaching modules, assignments may not be posted. Students can begin self-guided work within Clever under the K-12 Learning at Home Resources application which has daily exercises. Students login at www.clever.com with their school-assigned account they received at the beginning of the year. The apps are setup to begin where teachers left off at closure. More than 32 million public school students nationwide are out of school due to public health concerns around the spread of the coronavirus.

    #Community-La @thedrumnews

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    Southern University plans 140th Founders’ Day, March15

    Southern University throughout March will celebrate its annual Founders’ Day. The university, which was established in 1880, is celebrating “140 Years of Excellence and Impact” in Louisiana and throughout the world. The Convocation, to be held on Monday, March 15, will feature Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards as the keynote speaker. The event will be held at 10 a.m. in the F.G. Clark Activity Center on the Baton Rouge campus.

    Southern was established as an act of legislature, with its first campus in New Orleans. The institution relocated to Baton Rouge as part of its land grant mission in 1914. Since then, the university has grown into the only system of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the nation. Campuses today include Southern University Baton Rouge, Southern University at New Orleans, Southern University Shreveport and Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

    Other events scheduled for the System-wide celebration include:

    Sunday, March 8
    SOUTHERN Sunday
    Churches and other places of worship are invited to participate in a virtual recognition of Southern University in Sunday services and on social media. For more information and to register, click here.

    March 9
    Southern University Laboratory School Pilgrimage
    9 a.m., Clark Gravesites, back of campus

    March 19
    First Day of Spring on the Bluff
    Noon, back of campus

    March 19
    Southern University Ag Center presents Natalie Baszille, author of “Queen Sugar.”
    Time and location TBD

    March 31
    SU Day at the Capitol
    Louisiana State Capitol

    For more information, go to www.subr.edu. All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. For more information on alumni events, go to www.sualumni.org.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Conference helps teens JOLT their voice

    Local teens can discover the power of their voice Saturday, March 28 at JOLTcon, at Goodwood Library. First of its kind in Baton Rouge, this conference is planned and hosted by the young adults of The Futures Fund and The Walls Project.

    This event is for youth to discover, through stories and workshops, how to take charge and JOLT their voices into existence. Six peer speakers will introduce attendees to the journey of finding the power of their voice and defining who they are.

    After a catered lunch break, teens are able to take the inspiration from the speakers and put it into concrete outlets. Teens are able to discover their voice through learning a tech hackathon, a workshop on phone photography, or various workshops on self-care from a teenage perspective. These workshops, while led by adult mentors, are partnered with a teen host, allowing for true collaboration between youth and adults.

    This event was made possible through the support of the Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund, Foundation for Louisiana, Sparkhound Foundation, Louisiana Tech Park, Lamar Advertising and many others.

    Those wanting to register for a free JOLTcon ticket can do so by going to bit.ly/joltcon. Tickets are limited and workshops are first come first serve, so register early!

    ONLINE: wallsproject.org/joltcon

    Read more »
  • ,,

    High schoolers invited to CNA Institute

    Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation is accepting applications for the College & Career Ready Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Institute, which is available to high school students in greater Baton Rouge with a GPA of 2.5 of higher and ages 16 and older. The CNA Institute is designed for youth who are interested in health care careers. The deadline to apply is March 16, 2020. Click here to apply.

    Participants who successfully complete the program will graduate as a Certified Nursing Assistant. Students should be at least 16 years old by the first day of the institute, which is April 6, 2020, to be eligible for the program.

    During the institute, participants will:

    • Complete classroom and clinical instruction necessary for certification in 12 weeks
    • Prepare for employment in long-term care facilities, home health agencies, hospitals and private medical agencies
    • Train to take vital signs and develop patient sensitivity skills
    • Assist with physical exams and obtain cultures
    • Develop communication skills to interact with patients and their families.

    The EMR Institute will take place April 6 – June 25, 2020. The deadline to apply is March 16, 2020. Learn more here.

    Click here to apply.

    For more information, contact Kathryn Robinson, UREC Youth Program Director, at (225) 356-8871 ext. 204 or krobinson@urecbr.com.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Young Leaders’ Academy extends application deadline

    Applications are being accepted for the 2019-2020 Young Leaders’ Academy of Baton Rouge, Inc. 

    The Young Leaders’ Academy of Baton Rouge, Inc. (YLA), is a program of academic excellence, leadership skill development and personal development for African American children in Baton Rouge. To encourage positive relationships, the Academy requires family involvement in the members’ activities with the program and offers access and opportunities for success to our members and families.

    YLA’s  Saturday Academy runs concurrently with the academic year and is held twice (2X) per month from 8:00-11:30 a.m. at Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC) campus.  Saturday Academy includes academic tutoring, field trips, educational games, STEM activities, computer lab access, conflict resolution, etiquette classes, nutrition, intramural sports, test-taking skills, financial literacy, gender-specific special workshops, and annual Summer Travel Experience. Parents are responsible for providing transportation to and from Academy programs.

    CRITERIA:

    • Each child must have a minimum 2.0 GPA in core curriculum subjects – Math, Language Arts, Science.
    • Child must be a non-retained 3rd-7th grader residing in the Greater Baton Rouge area (including Baker, Zachary, Central, Ascension and WBR) to enroll.
    • Parents and applicant must complete an Admissions Interview and sign Parental Engagement Contact.

     

    APPLICATIONS ARE DUE FEBRUARY 28, 2020! 

    To apply, please email tonya_ylabr@yahoo.com for a 1 page Admissions Application!

    The Young Leaders’ Academy exists to nurture the development of leadership abilities of young African American males and females, empowering them to improve the quality of their lives and be an active force for POSITIVE change in their communities.

    ONLINE: www.youngleaders.org 

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Kristen Downing opens ‘In Bloom’ exhibit at Southern University

    Kristen Downing is a self-taught visual artist from New Orleans. She began her career as a sought-after tattoo artist and developed a passion for painting. Her work is largely fueled by the social and political climate of America.
    Downing said it is the artist’s responsibility to speak to the times,  and she has focused her latest work on the current realities people of color in America. Her collections have left an impression.

    In 2018, Downing established KAWD Art Gallery in Baton Rouge with a mission to educate, inspire, and increase social consciousness.  She actively exhibits and commissions her work in New Orleans, Atlanta, and Baton Rouge. Her work has been on display at the New Orleans Contemporary Art Center, Aqua Art Miami and Spectrum Miami during Art Basel Miami, and Capital Park Museum – Baton Rouge. She earned first prize during the Louisiana Contemporary Exhibition in Prospect.4 at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

    Kristen Downing's painting The Son of NOLA, mixed media on canvas, is one of the paintings the artist will exhibit Feb 20 at Southern University.

    Kristen Downing’s painting The Son of NOLA, mixed media on canvas, is one of the paintings the artist will exhibit Feb 20 at Southern University.

    “Her imagery captures the bold, brashness of our current reality in a political context that isn’t nice, sweet, or pleasant. It’s in your face, it’s bold, it’s brazen, and it’s reality. She uses her art in the way protesters use their voice, leaders use their influence, and nations use their power,” said Kimmy Ducasse, writer at The Urban Realist.
     
    Downing’s work will be exhibited February 20 through April 2 in the Frank Hayden Hall Art Gallery at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge.
    The exhibition is curated by Randell Henry, associate professor of visual arts at Southern University.
    Read more »
  • ,,,

    Investigation reveals Blacks living, working on plantations in Mississippi

    Antoinette Harrell, known as the “Slavery Detective of the South,” is on a mission to interview and document the oral histories of people who still live on plantations to this very day. Deangelo Manuel and Tyra Climmons, two interns working with Harrell, visited two plantations in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi. They set out to discover why people are still living on plantations. What is keeping them there, and why don’t they move away?

    Climmons and Manuel were shocked to see people living on a plantation in the age of the new millennium. Apparently, they just can’t afford to live anywhere else.

    The first person they stopped to interview was a woman named Helen, who was born on a plantation in 1940 in Holmes County, Mississippi. “I picked and chopped cotton until I left the plantation in 1959,” said Helen. “Mama and daddy never really got ahead, every year. They were told that the crops didn’t make good, try again. My mama and daddy left the plantation after the boss man sold the plantation.”

    An older woman living on Buford Plantation said she moved from plantation to plantation with her mother before they settled on the Buford Plantation picking and chopping cotton.

    Due West Plantation, a plantation that consists of 12,000-acres, got its name many years ago. During the 1850s, the farm was part of the Twilight Plantation. Mike Sturdivant, the owner of the plantation, was a highly successful Delta planter and millionaire businessman. Harrell researched the history of the original owner of Due West Plantation, Capt. Ben Sturdivant, and found him to be the Captain of the steamer J.M. Sharp according to the Yazoo Pass Expedition, February 14 to April 8, 1863. He was accompanied by Company C of the 20th Mississippi Infantry with 200 slaves and their overseers.

    Matt Davis told Harrell his mother and father both were born on Due West Plantation. Davis’ grandfather, Richard Coleman, was a farmer from Lincoln County, MS, and went to the Delta searching for farm work, “My father Ladell Davis, Sr. was born in 1934 and worked as a tractor driver,” said Carrie Jean, Matt Davis’s sister. She said she was born on Due West Plantation and remembers her grandma’s “own baby sucking one tittie and Mike’s son sucking on the other tittie.”

    “After I left the plantation and saw the television series Roots in 1977, I realized that I was living the same way,” Carrie Jean said. “We had what you called ‘across the tracks.’ If you lived across the tracks on Due West Plantation, you were a slave. The other side of the tracks was the free side,”she said.

    The old wooden shacks were demolished, and small-framed brick homes were built in the 70s. Most people on Due West Plantation have other jobs off the plantation but still call the plantation home. Kirk Manuel asked a man who also lives on Due West called “Henry” to tell him something about Emmitt Till. He lives just three miles from where they found Till’s body.

    “I heard about it through travelers,” said Henry. “We learned about the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., through travelers.”

    Henry said he couldn’t believe a person could do that to another human being. “I left the plantation one time and returned back to the plantation because the city life was too much for a country boy. We didn’t communicate with folks on other plantations,” Henry said.

    In May of 1968, dozens of wagons set out from Marks, Mississippi. Dr. Martin Luther King visited Clarksdale, Mississippi for the first major meeting of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. While there, King saw the impoverish conditions Black sharecroppers and tenant farmers who remained on plantations in the Delta faced daily.

    “We didn’t leave the plantation for anything. We spent our coupons at the commissary store. If anyone ran away from the plantation, they left at night. You didn’t have any money to leave. I always wondered how they left,” he said. “After the conversation with Henry, we went to the store and met a man who had a different story but seemed very apprehensive about talking. All he would say was, ‘It was rough.’ He told us that his sister was hung, and he didn’t want to talk about it.”

    Harrell, who lives in Louisiana,  regularly visits Ballground Plantation in Warren County, Mississippi, which consists of more than 1,500 acres. The Simrall family is the third owner of Ballground plantation. The Jeffery family lived on this plantation for five generations. Donald Jeffery, who was born on Ballground Plantation, never knew any other place to call home. He and the present owner say they are like brothers. Donald Jeffery still helps on the plantation but works somewhere else. His mother, Early Mae Jeffery, was one of the cooks and on this visit, she rang the old plantation bell for Harrell, demonstrating how the sound of the bell called in the field hands.

    Harrell said, “the people who remain on the plantation to this very day have been there for generations. One person I know still works for the owners, like most of the others.”

    ONLINE: www.AntoinetteHarrell.com

    Read more »
  • ,

    Centenary welcomed noted historian, Karlos Hill, for lecture celebrating Black History Month

    Historian Karlos K. Hill, Ph.D., a native of Bastrop, recently visited Centenary College of Louisiana as a part of the College’s Black History Month programming. Hill visited several classes and delivered a public lecture, “The Importance of Black History Month,”  in Anderson Auditorium at Centenary’s Hurley School of Music.

    Kaylan Walker, director of community engagement, said, “(Dr. Hill’s) academic scholarship in African and African American Studies, his advocacy of social justice, and his commentary on issues of race and equality offer those inside and outside the Centenary community an opportunity to engage in dialogue regarding the importance of Black History Month.”

    Hill earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is currently an associate professor of African and African American Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He is also the founding director of the African and African American Studies Distinguished Lecture Series at the university and is a frequent commentator on issues of race, equity, and social justice. Hill is the host of a weekly podcast, Tapestry: A Conversation about Race and Culture, that has a global following.

    IMG_5623Hill specializes in the history of lynching and the anti-lynching movement in America, and his research explores how Black Americans have resisted racial violence and how this resistance has changed over time. His book Beyond the Rope: The Impact of Lynching on Black Culture and Memory, published by Cambridge University Press in July 2016, draws on narrative theory and cultural studies methodologies to show how African American attitudes toward lynching and lynching victims evolved in response to changing social and political contexts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Hill is a graduate of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts in Natchitoches.

    A portion of Hill’s visit to Centenary is underwritten by the Attaway Professorships in Civic Culture program at the College.

    Read more »
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    Southern University Law Center receives federal funding for legal education teleconference studio

    The Southern University Law Center continues to be a champion for innovation and access for all. Recently, the Law Center was selected to receive funding through a United States Department of Agriculture Distance Learning and Telemedicine (USDA-DLT) grant for a new high-definition teleconference studio. The news comes as a part of a recent partnership with North Carolina Central University‘s Virtual Justice Project.

    “We are excited to partner with the Law Center on this new USDA grant,” said Gregory Clinton Sr., director of information technology and facilities at NCCU. “Equipping SULC with an Immersive Telepresence Studio will facilitate their ability to provide expert legal information in a new manner, as well as assist our programming in federal law.”

    The Virtual Justice Project is an initiative that provides virtual pre-law courses and high definition teleconference systems to churches and libraries. Through this project, NCCU has received six USDA-DLT grants. The grant allows the Virtual Justice Project to create the Southeast Expansion Service Area, which includes Louisiana.

    “Our partnership with NCCU and the Virtual Justice Project furthers our goal of being a progressive, innovative institution,” said John Pierre, chancellor of the Southern University Law Center. “With this new addition and partnership, legal education can become more accessible.”

    The Law Center will receive a Polycom RealPresence Immersive Studio, which will create a visual, audio, and collaboration experience. Faculty, students, and staff will be able to connect to webinars, clients, and the community. The studio seats up to twenty-one individuals.

    As the two institutions join together, the partnership will provide legal access to marginalized and rural communities in Louisiana and North Carolina.

     

    Read more »
  • ,,,,

    Students shine light on Blacks in classical music

    Student cellists Cecilia Spencer, of Baton Rouge, and Ethan Clay, of Zachary, were recognized nationally as they shined a light on African Americans competing in the world of classical music. A “No-Labels” broadcast piece produced by Spencer featuring Clay was published earlier this month by the PBS Student Reporting Labs. The video featured was published again as part of a PBS Newshour special on Martin Luther King Day on how students experience and cope with racist stereotypes. Spencer and Clay became friends while participating in Louisiana youth orchestras. Clay is a senior at Zachary High School and a 2019 Carnegie Hall Honors participant. Spencer is a junior at University View Academy and a participant in the Talented Music, Digital Media, and the TV and Video Production program that introduced PBS and PBS Student Reporting Labs to UVA students.

    ONLINE: Student Reporting Labs

    ONLINE: PBS Newshour Students Experience and Cope with Racist Stereotypes

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    Gumbo Run returns to Scotlandville, Feb. 1

    The Scotlandville Professional Academy Consortium and Presenting Sponsor Geaux Get Healthy, A Project of Healthy BR are proud to present the 2nd Annual Gumbo Run. Saturday, February 1, 2020, from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon. The race will begin at Scotlandville Magnet High School located at 9870 Scotland Avenue.

    This event will also serve as the Geaux Get Health Zone Initiative for the Scotlandville/North Baton Rouge community as a part of Healthy BR’s continuing mission to improve the health and wellness for the city. It is the vision of the Mayor “…to build a healthier Baton Rouge for all.”

    Last year’s Gumbo Run was the first 5K in the North Baton Rouge and Scotlandville communities. Proceeds from this event will go toward supporting the school’s academies of finance, health science, and information technology. Support includes professional development for teachers, materials, and supplies for students and work-based learning initiatives inclusive of internships.

    For more than 60 years Scotlandville Magnet High School has been and continues to be, a pillar of education in North Baton Rouge. The mission of the Scotlandville PAC is to support Scotlandville’s NAF Academies through the development of relationships between business, education and local government.

    If you would like to register for the run, sign up via smhsgumborun.eventbrite.com or in person at the school. If you would like more information contact Paul M. Jackson at Scotlandville Magnet High School at (225) 775-3715 or via email at pjackson@ebrschools.org.

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    LAE responds to Superintendent of Education John White’s resignation

    Louisiana Association of Educators president Tia Mills,Ph.D. issued the following response to Superintendent of Education John White’s resignation from the Louisiana Department of Education:

    While LAE members wish Mr. White the best in his future endeavors, we are happy about a change in leadership at the Louisiana Department of Education. I know many educators were not pleased with the initiatives pushed by Mr. White’s administration. His departure presents Louisiana’s education professionals with an opportunity to focus on positive change for our public school students.

    All eyes are now on the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the Louisiana Senate, the groups charged with filling Mr. White’s position. The women and men who serve in these bodies must hire an individual with an extensive background in serving students in a K-12 public school system. LAE will be extremely vocal in this selection process.

    This could be the beginning of a promising new period for public education in Louisiana. I, along with members of the LAE, look forward to forging a collaborative relationship with the incoming members of the state board of education (BESE) and their new leader. LAE members are committed to working alongside all key players in education as we continue to help move Louisiana’s public schools in a positive direction for our precious children.

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    100 Black Women invite youth to BR Grow Girls mentoring program

    The Metropolitan Baton Rouge Chapter of 100 Black Women Inc will kick off their second annual BR Grow Girls mentoring initiative on Saturday, Jan. 25 at the Louisiana Leadership Institute. The program, which serviced more than 150 local girls last year, focuses on character development, leadership skills, STEM learning and more.

    Activities are scheduled each Saturday in February, noon to 2 p.m. Registration is open to girls of African-American descent in grades 4-12. Participants must reside in East Baton Rouge Parish. While the program is free, registration is required. Parents are also required to attend orientation. The deadline to register is Tuesday, Jan. 14.

    Register online at https://forms.gle/5ssdpGbfUhenWn9o9. For more information about the program or registration, contact br100growgirls@gmail.com.

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    Melanin Origins offers Black History curriculum

     The founders of Melanin Origins, a children’s book company that publishes biographies about African-American leaders, are   offering their English-Language Arts Black History Curriculum for 99-cents through February 29, 2020. 

    Since 2016, Melanin Origins has provided leaders in education with quality learning materials that children of all backgrounds so desperately need. Understanding the struggle of convincing school districts to fund black history initiatives, the global publishing company has afforded teachers across the nation an opportunity to access four weeks of instruction on the lives of Ida B. Wells, Booker T. Washington, Madam C.J. Walker, and W.E.B. Du Bois.

    The Black History Curriculum guide contains TEKS/Common Core-based lesson plans that meet national English-Language Arts standards and cover reading, writing, word study, and social studies for grade one. Many teachers find this curriculum useful for kindergarten and second grade. Melanin Origins learning materials may be applied to any classroom at any time of year. The added benefit is that the materials provide diverse and culturally responsive images and topics for all students.

    Melanin Origins is committed to literacy and empowerment through powerful images and stories representative of diverse backgrounds and cultural pride. The mission of Melanin Origins is to provide quality educational materials that inspire young minds to aspire for excellence while embracing their heritage. 

    ONLINE: HERE or by visiting www.MelaninOrigins.com

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    9-year-old girls’ deaths by suicide spark latest thriller ‘Failure to Protect’

    After learning about the suicide deaths of two 9-year-old Alabama girls, award-winning author Pamela Samuels Young decided to take on this rising epidemic in the new legal thriller, Failure to Protect. “We need to end the silence shrouding suicide,” Young said. “By writing a legal thriller that both entertains and educates, it’s my hope to help do that.”

    Young, who is an attorney and anti-trafficking advocate, released Failure to Protect in October 2019.

    Here’s the synopsis:

    What Really Goes on Behind School Doors?

    When the classroom is no longer a safe space for her child, a grieving mother is determined to seek justice for her bullied daughter. Enter hard-charging attorneys Angela Evans and Jenny Ungerman. From the start, the two lawyers face more than an uphill battle.

    An ambitious school principal is far more concerned about protecting her career than getting to the truth. She flat out denies any knowledge of the bullying and prefers to sweep everything under the rug. But just how low will she go?

    As the battle enters the courtroom, the attorneys fight hard to expose the truth. But will a massive coverup hinder their quest for justice?

    For fifteen years, Young served as managing counsel for Toyota in Southern California, specializing in labor and employment law. While still practicing law, she began moonlighting as a mystery writer because of her desire to see women and people of color depicted in legal thrillers.

    Pamela Samuels Young

    Pamela Samuels Young

    Young has penned 14 books over a span of a 20-year writing career. Her work has netted numerous awards including the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction for her thriller Anybody’s Daughter a gripping tale of a teen unwittingly drawn into the world of child sex trafficking via a Facebook scam. Her novel, Abuse of Discretion, tackles a troubling teen sexting case that gives readers a shocking look inside the juvenile justice system. Other novels by Young include Every Reasonable DoubtIn Firm PursuitMurder on the Down LowBuying TimeAttorney-Client Privilege, and Lawful Deception. Her non-fiction work includes Kinky Coily: A Natural Hair Resource Guide, a book dedicated to empowering women to discover the true beauty of their kinky coils.

    ONLINE: Pamela Samuels Young

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    Students participate in 4-H Holiday Soft Skills Ambassador Training

    Kentwood High Magnet School held its 2019 Holiday Soft Skills Ambassador Training on Dec. 19, 2019, at the Golden Corral Buffet & Grill in Hammond, La. The Ambassador Training was open to all 4-H Club members, in grades 7th – 12th, that attend the school.

    Forty youth attended the training and worked cooperatively with each other to foster a real-life application of teamwork. Youth Ambassadors were also tasked during a working Christmas Luncheon to create their own personal quotes about teamwork to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be part of the team.

    Tahlia Carter, an 8th-grade ambassador at Kentwood High Magnet School, said the quote “alone we can do so little, together we could do so much” resonated with her the most.

    As part of the training, youth organized assembly lines to package canned goods, toys, and coats to donate to God’s Store House Thrift Store just in time for the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays.

    For additional information about the 4-H Club activities at Kentwood High Magnet School, contact Nicolette Gordon, SU Ag Center’s Assistant Area Agent, at 985-748-9381.

    By LaKeeshia Giddens Lusk
    Contributing Writer

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    Delta Sigma Theta Sorority hosting World AIDS Day Walk/Run/Ride, other activities Dec. 1

    The Baton Rouge Sigma Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., along with theAIDS Healthcare Foundation and the Southern University Horace W. Moody Intramural Sports Complex is hosting a World AIDS Day one-mile walk, run and ride and other activities on Sunday, Dec. 1.

    The event will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Moody Intramural Sports Complex. Attendees must bring their own bicycles. The event will also feature a hip-hop, Zumba and kickboxing class, free AIDS/HIV testing, guest speakers and a community resource fair. There will also be food, entertainment and door prizes.

    “We’re excited to host this event along with our community partners to help in the fight against AIDS,” said President Chi Joseph Franklin.  “We want to end this disease in our community.”

    The event is FREE and open to the public. You can register on site.

    For more information,  email tobrsigma@gmail.com.

    Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide assistance and support through established programs in local communities around the world.  Founded in 1913, the sisterhood includes more than 200,000 predominantly Black college-educated women. The Baton Rouge  Sigma Alumnae Chapter has more than 300 members in the Baton Rouge area.  For more information, email us at brsigma@gmail.com or go towww.brsigma.org.

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    Tulane brings 2020 Black women’s health conference; Speakers invited to submit presentations

    The mission of the Black Women’s Health Task Force at Tulane University is to raise health awareness and increase knowledge of health-related issues and concerns that disproportionately impact Black women and girls. The Black Women’s Health Conference provides an annual forum for sharing, matching, and coordinating empirical evidence with praxis and experience to better understand and enrich health outcomes for black women and girls.

    The theme of the 4th Black Women’s Health Conference is The Big C: Countering, Conquering, and Coping with Cancer/s. We particularly seek proposals that conceptualize, interrogate, deconstruct, and report on issues related to the social, political, legal, and historical contexts. We invite panel, poster, performance-based, and individual paper submissions on a wide range of topics that may include but are not limited to:

    • Survival;
    • Screening, Self-Examination, Prevention, Treatment;
    • Obesity, Stress, and Morbidity;
    • Family History and Risk;
    • Access to Care; Workplace Accommodations; Insurance;
    • Mental Health for Caregivers, Self-Care, and Art Therapy;
    • Grief & Death;
    • Faith & Fear;
    • Remission & Recurrence;
    • Tobacco Use, Substance Abuse, and Addiction;
    • Sex, STDs, HPV, and Sexual Health;
    • Fertility, Lactation, and Breastfeeding;
    • Hair Loss and Hair-Care;
    • Reconstructive Surgery, Body Image, Body Art/Tattoos;
    • Environmental Justice & “Cancer Alley”;
    • Oncology Social Work;
    • Parenting Children with Cancer;
    • Medical Marijuana, Access, Benefits, and Barriers; and
    • Holistic Care.

    Submissions are encouraged in a variety of forms, including: traditional academic conference papers and posters as well as proposals for panels, workshops, and roundtables from academics, independent scholars, practitioners, artists, activists, and community workers and organizers.

    Submission Deadline is February 20, 2020.
    Conference Dates: Friday, June 12 – Saturday, June 13, 2020
    For Questions, email: BWHConference@wave.tulane.edu
    To Register: www.bwhconference.com

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    Marshall named vice-chancellor of the SU Ag Center and associate dean of the College of Ag

    Renita W. Marshall, DVM, has been appointed the Vice-Chancellor for Academic and Student Services at the Southern University Ag Center/ Associate Dean of the Southern University College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences.

    Marshall was appointed to the position during the Southern University Board of Supervisors’ meeting on October 18, 2019.

    Since 2017, she has held the positions of director of the Southern University Institute for One Health One Medicine, Department Chair of Agricultural Sciences and Professor of Animal Science.  She has also served as the Veterinarian for the Southern University Ag Center since 2012.

    In her role as a professor of animal science, she served as the faculty advisor for both the Department of Animal Science’s Pre-Veterinary Club and Southern University’s Chapter of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS). She was also a co-coordinator of the Southern University College of Sciences and Agriculture’s Beginning Agricultural Youth Opportunities Unlimited (BAYOU) Program.

    Prior to teaching at the college, Renita was employed with the Southern University Ag Center for more than a decade. During that time, she held the titles of Interim Associate Research Director and Livestock Programs Director.

    Dr. Marshall has received several certifications which include a Pharmacy Certification from the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy. She is also a United States Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency Controlled Substance Certified Veterinarian, and a United States Department of Agriculture Category II Accredited Veterinarian.

    She has secured $7.5 million in grant funds to expand teaching, research and extension programs at Southern University and has written several scholarly articles on small ruminants, swine, cattle, water resources, animal reproduction, and minority-owned small farm operations.

    Renita is a member of numerous community and professional organizations. She is a member of the Baton Rouge Zoo’s Advisory Board, Southern University’s representative for the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency (MOHSEP) Animal Disaster/Evacuation and a member of the Next Generation Global Health Security Network.

    Dr. Marshall earned a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Southern University, a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Missouri – Columbia and a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Tuskegee University’s School of Veterinary Medicine.


    ONLINE: http://www.suagcenter.com/

    By LaKeeshia Giddens Lusk

     

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    Tangipahoa Parish Schools continue to seek unitary status despite continued segregation

    HAMMOND—When Tangipahoa Parish School Board released a statement on September 26, 2019, it sent shock waves throughout the African-American community.

    The board released the following statement: “On Thursday afternoon, September 26, 2019, the Tangipahoa Parish School Board made history, adopting the recommendation of attorneys in the longstanding Joyce Marie Moore federal desegregation case and authorizing a jointly filed consent agreement in the 54-year-old case.”

    This statement prompted Nelson Taylor, the lead attorney in the case, to call a community meeting to inform the community about the case Oct. 30, at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Hammond.

    Nelson said, “This case is coming to an end, I don’t know how the judge is going to rule in this case. This case has slew of court orders.”

    Attorney Gideon Tillman Carter III wrote the final agreement for the school board. “This agreement will dismiss all litigations,” Taylor said.

    “Carter is not the lead attorney, he has no authority to write anything. Carter has disrupted my team.”

    The 34-page “Final Agreement” outlines the scope of the work that the district will continue in good faith in order to maintain a unitary school system. A school district is unitary when it has eliminated the effects of past segregation.

    Once the board achieved unitary status, they are not obligated to do anything. “It’s business as usual”, said Taylor, “The board doesn’t need unitary status to remove all those portable buildings they can do that now.

    The powers-that-be has their hands on this school board. One white board member had the nerve to go on television and say they will not vote for a tax for the board if the board is under court order to do things for Blacks”. Tangipahoa Parish has the lowest tax for schools than any other parish in the state.

    “If you want good schools, you must have a good tax base. There is something the African American community can do. Have a community meeting, discuss and plan what you want in your schools and where those schools should be located,” said Taylor, “The African American community did not create a dual system of education in this parish.” The board should build high schools in central locations like Ponchatoula and Hammond High with the same curriculum. The board is building schools around subdivisions.

    “The parish has two African American board members, they should have three and maybe four. You should check the parish demographics.”

    Former president of The Greater Tangipahoa Parish NAACP Pat Morris said, “No one wants this case settled more than I do. But it must be done the right way, according to Amendment 14. Equality for everyone. This case is about African American children and their parents.” Taylor asked for the African American community to show up in Federal Court in record numbers on November 20, 2019.ℜ

    By Eddie Ponds
    Ther Drum Founding Publisher

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    Greenville Park High School Class of 1969 gather for ‘Living Legend” reunion

    “Living the Legacy” was the theme for the 1969 Greenville Park High School graduation class who held their 50th class reunion earlier this year at the Contemporary Plaza in Hammond.

    “This class is historical because this is the last class to graduate from Greenville Park High School,” said Betty Jackson.

    In the fall of 1969 Federal District Judge Alvin B. Rubin handed down his court’s order desegregating all schools in the Tangipahoa Parish school system. Greenville Park High was downgraded and renamed Hammond Junior High, leaving little or no traces of Greenvillepark History.

    Image (48)

    CLASS 1969 3

     

     

     

    Tangipahoa Parish School Board representative Jerry Moore, son of the late M. C. Moore who filed the lawsuit to end the segregated system of education in the parish, was the keynote speaker. He gave a brief history of the problems his family endured after his father filed the lawsuit against the school system.

    “My father was in the logging business. After the suit, my father could not get work. When he did it was under adverse condition making it impossible, tearing up his equipment, and shooting in his house under the cover of darkness.”  According to research by the late educator Jesse W. Davis Jr., Hammond Colored School was founded in 1906 by P.Jenkins. It was a sixth-grade school from 1906 until 1929 when it opened as a full elementary school. In 1943 it expanded the school session to nine months, and the principal was Jessie W. Davis Sr. He had the school name change to Greenville Park High School in 1954. ℜ

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    ‘History of Southern University Law Center’ now in Target Baton Rouge store

    The Southern University Law Center has a rich and impressive tradition of educating students from diverse backgrounds.

    Founded in 1947, the Law Center has become a model for student body and faculty diversity. The school has been consistently ranked as The Princeton Review’s #1 school for most diverse faculty.

    Authors Rachel L. Emanuel, Ph.D., and Carla Ball detail the history and legacy of the Law Center along with a foreword by former chancellor and Judge Freddie Pitcher Jr. 

    The book is a part of Arcadia Publishing’s campus history series. It is available on Amazon and sold in Target at 6885 Siegen Ln, Baton Rouge through the holiday season.

    Read more »
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    Calling K-12 student artists for The Walls Project’s juried show

    “Education as a Civil Right,” New Schools for Baton Rouge’s Fall 2019 Convening, is proud to partner with The Walls Project in a call for artistic submissions from student-artists interested in participating in the event’s juried art show.

    Students are encouraged to reflect on their interpretation of the theme.

    WHO: K-12 student artists
    WHAT: Artwork expressing the theme of “Education as a Civil Right”
    WHEN: Now through Tuesday, October 29 and online.

    Read more »
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    Bradie James hosts inaugural internship with three scholars

    LSU alumnus Bradie James has collaborated with the LSU Office of Diversity to launch the Tiger Research Group internship program. This summer three students were given the opportunity to be the first James Interns: Justin Evans, a native of New Orleans; Todd Sterling Jr., a native of Baton Rouge; and John Wilson, a native of Lafayette.

    Interns were selected from the Presidents Millennial Scholars Program, or PMSP, and the Black Male Leadership Initiative, or BMLI, and were invited to participate in the summer internship program.
    Exposure to leadership, mentoring, and internships as a way to expand undergraduate co-curricular experiences is a central focus of both PMSP and BMLI. Participants in the programs believe that their co-curricular experiences are what differentiate them from other students upon graduation.

    “Internships play a critical role in helping to determine if the field of study a student is in, is really what he or she wants to do upon graduating,” said Sterling, a PMSP Scholar. “Taking part in the internship program allowed me the opportunity to use what I’ve learned from marketing and sales classes and apply it to real-world scenarios, and also to bring fresh ideas to Bradie’s team. Learning and working with an accomplished man like Bradie shows the kind of work ethic needed to develop and to have success in both life and business. I am very thankful for being able to take part in a trailblazing experience like the Tiger Research Group internship program, and looking forward to graduating this December and maybe working with Mr. James’ company in the future!”

    The four-week paid internship provided the students with real-world work experience that enabled them to practically apply what they are learning in their classes in a work setting. An additional benefit of participating in the program is that the students were personally mentored by James, who shared his entrepreneurial experience and his own understanding of navigating the obstacles and challenges that students sometimes face trying to transition from student to professional.

    “My experience with the internship program was amazing. It’s not often you get to engage in conversation with a man of his caliber, especially as an African American. I was able to gain insight on daily business operations and the purpose and plan behind everything Bradie and his team wanted to achieve. Through that, I was allowed to apply the knowledge I have acquired at LSU to help them achieve their goals. So as my senior year is coming to an end, I can say that after this internship I have gained more confidence and hope in myself to cultivate success whether as an employee or an employer,” said Wilson, a BMLI Fellow.

    The Office of Diversity hopes to develop more programs of this type and is eternally grateful to James for his vision, leadership, and support.

    “Mr. James has always given back to his alma mater and helping students in this fashion is a perfect partnership for LSU, Mr. James, and the national diversity advisory board,” said Vice Provost for Diversity Dereck Rovaris.

    The purpose of the LSU Black Male Leadership Initiative Fellows Program is to help improve retention, graduation, and participation rates for black male students through mentoring, leadership development, and academic support while connecting these students with faculty, staff, and the campus community.

    ONLINE: www.lsu.edu/diversity

    Photo: Bradie James with interns Justin Evans and John Wilson

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    LEH is calling all aspiring young artists, illustrators for scholarship opportunity

    Applications are due November 1 for the Gustave Blache III Art Scholarship, offered by the LEH and the School of Visual Arts in New York City and open to all aspiring artists from Louisiana interested in attending SVA.

    The scholarship helps cover tuition and housing costs associated with pursuing either Bachelor or Master of Fine Arts degrees in Illustration at SVA, one of the nation’s premier art schools. Applications are due November 1.

    Full scholarship and application details can be found on LEH’s website.

    Feature photo of previous scholarship winners Marguerite Michel and Paul Michael Wright

    Read more »
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    Irene Lewis elected Undergraduate President of national agriculture organization

     Southern University student Irene Lewis, a senior agricultural sciences major with a concentration in plant and soil sciences, has been elected the national undergraduate president of the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) organization for the 2019-2020 year.

    MANRRS provides leadership training and networking to positively promote the agricultural sciences and related fields among minorities.

    Lewis, who has been a member of Southern University’s MANRRS Chapter since her freshman year, said she was extremely excited when she learned that she was elected to the post.

    “To be able to give back to MANRRS and represent my university at a higher level was exciting for me,” she said. “Participating in MANRRS has afforded me countless opportunities so it only felt right to continue to serve the organization to the best of my ability,” said Lewis when asked why she decided to run for the national position.

    To qualify, she had to submit an application and an application video before being selected to move forward with an interview. Lewis  was interviewed by the then-President-Elect, Karl Binns. After passing the interview, she was informed that her name would be placed on the ballot.

    As a national officer, Irene represents the agricultural students enrolled in dozens of universities across the nation. This is something she doesn’t take lightly.

    “MANRRS has an enormous student membership,” she said. “These students are young people across the country and are a force, working to develop agriculture, natural resources and related sciences.  It’s important that I use this position to continue to advocate for underrepresented students in agriculture, especially for students at 1890 Institutions and other (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). They are truly our next generation of academic and industry leaders,” said Lewis.

    She said her goal as the Undergraduate National President is to be a supporter of the organization’s fourteen student officers.

    “I don’t think people can truly understand the weight that these positions can hold until they are in one. Balancing your academics, pursuing doctoral degrees (for some of our team), and serving in a national office requires a high level of discipline, collaboration, and accountability,” said Lewis. “My ultimate goal is to help my team be the best they can be,” she said.

    Prior to being elected to her current national position, Irene served as the Region IV Undergraduate Vice President for the 2018-2019 year, representing chapters in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas.

    At Southern University’s local chapter, Irene has served as the Chapter’s Secretary during the 2017-2018 academic year and Historian during the 2018-2019 year.

    “This year I am in a student advisory role as I transition out of the university,” said Lewis whose national involvement in MANRRS evolved from her participation at Southern.

    “I don’t think I would be able to serve in the way that I have if it had not been for participating in MANRRS at my chapter,” said Irene. “I gained countless mentors and a huge support system on campus. From our advisor, Dr. Janana Snowden, to the friends I met through MANRRS at SU, I really have had a tribe in these past two years of national service. Dr. Snowden literally gave me a pep talk minutes before I gave my campaign speech last year, and I am extremely grateful for that.”

    MANRRS is a non-profit organization that promotes academic and professional advancement by empowering minorities in agriculture, natural resources, and related sciences. It has more than 8,000 student and professional members within six regions and 55 collegiate chapters in 38 states and Puerto Rico.

    Lewis is a native of  Baton Rouge. She is the daughter of Eric and Maura Lewis and a 2016 graduate of Runnels High School.

    By LaKeeshia Giddens Lusk

    Irene Lewis, a senior Agricultural Sciences major with a concentration in Plant and Soil Sciences at the Southern University, has been elected the national undergraduate president of the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences organization. (Photo by D’Andre Lee, SU Ag Center.)

     

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    Mini STEM Camp comes to BRCC, Oct 5

    Baton Rouge Community College is partnering with the United States Naval Academy and Scholars Laboratory for a Mini STEM Camp to be held on Saturday, Oct. 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at BRCC’s Magnolia Building on the Mid City campus, 201 Community College Drive.

    College students and middle and high school students in East Baton Rouge Parish and West Baton Rouge Parish students are invited to register for the event at ScholarsLaboratory.com. There are 150 slots and registration is free. Lunch will be provided.

    The mission of the program is to address the urgent national need for more young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. USNA faculty and midshipmen along with Scholars Laboratory personnel will provide STEM and Social Emotional Learning to camp participants. The day will include eight USNA STEM modules: Engineering Design Challenge; Cipher Coding and Decoding Modules; Hanoi Tap Code; Morse Circuits; Ozobot Robot Control; Calculator Robots; Testing Archimedes Principle Testing Hull Integrity, SEL instruction along with a trade show.  Special invited guest for the trade show include the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical Company, Methods Technologies Solutions, Hancock Whitney Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, LSU, among others.

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    Southern’s enrollment climbs above 7,000

    Southern University and A&M College released its fall 2019 preliminary enrollment report giving indication of significant enrollment gains over the last few years at the institution. This year, Southern will host 7,031 students, representing a 5.1 percent increase in enrollment over the 6,693 students enrolled in the fall 2018 semester. Since the fall 2016 semester, when 6,357 students were enrolled, Southern has grown its enrollment by 10.6 percent over that time span.

    “We are certainly delighted that our flagship campus is once again booming with students who are seeking a dynamic higher education experience,” said Ray L. Belton, president of the Southern University System and chancellor of Southern University Baton Rouge. “This is a great testament to the hard work and dedication of our faculty, administration and staff. They have truly invested their time and knowledge in the academic progression of our students.  We believe that the university is moving in a positive direction and anticipate even greater gains in the near future.”

    The increase can be attributed to aggressive recruitment strategies, retention and intrusive advisement initiatives, and additional wrap-around services for students who may need increased assistance.

    The new enrollment numbers offer even more great news for Belton’s recently released strategic plan for the Baton Rouge campus, “Imagine 20K.” Recently released score card updates compiled by the Office of Strategic Planning, Policy and Institutional Effectiveness show that the Baton Rouge campus met or exceeded 89 percent of its expected outcomes for fall 2018 that included increases in dual enrollment, online enrollment, transfer enrollment, degrees awarded, grants awarded and number of financial gifts donated.

    “Imagine 20K,” the strategic plan to increase Southern’s student population to 20,000 by 2030, can be viewed at www.sus.edu/strategicplan.

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    Southern University System selected as pilot institution for CIA’s White House Initiative

     Initiative focuses on HBCUs Recruitment and Workforce Development Program 

     

    The Southern University System and the Central Intelligence Agency entered into an unprecedented partnership to benefit students and faculty. President-Chancellor Ray Belton, Executive Vice President-Chancellor James Ammons, and representatives from the CIA signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Sept. 16 that will serve as the foundational framework for the university system’s participation in the CIA’s recruitment and workforce development initiative, which is part of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The Southern University System Board of Supervisors will ratify the agreement at Friday’s board meeting on campus.

    According to the MOU, the CIA chose Southern as the first participant based on the university system’s accredited programs, the graduation rate of its students, and the CIA’s track record of onboarding highly skilled and well-qualified talent.

    “Southern University is honored to have been chosen as the first institution to partner with the CIA for this initiative,” Belton said. “The reputable stature of the CIA alone is an asset to the university, students, and faculty, and we believe that the outcomes will be mutually beneficial for all involved.

    “For nearly 140 years, Southern has been a leader in innovation and scholarship. This opportunity with the CIA adds to our extensive portfolio of public and private partnerships that allow our students and faculty to expand their knowledge and to enhance their technical skills.”

    The MOU allows the CIA to engage in a broad range of classroom workshops, curriculum development, and recruitment activities to foster ongoing relationships with key university staff and personnel on Southern’s five campuses, and will provide for immediate contact with a qualified and diverse applicant pool.

    The Southern University System is comprised of Southern University Baton Rouge, Southern University New Orleans, Southern University Shreveport, Southern University Law Center, and Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center. The System is the only HBCU system in the nation.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Ernest E. Garrett III to Guide Louisiana’s Special School District

    Following a national search, State Superintendent of Education John White announced Ernest E. Garrett III will serve as the new Superintendent of the Louisiana Special School District (SSD), guiding the implementation of the SSD’s new three-year strategic plan and overseeing all operations of its special schools and programs. Garrett will take the helm Sept.3.

    The SSD was established by the Louisiana State Legislature to provide education to students housed in state or privatized facilities and hospitals. The SSD oversees Louisiana’s two special schools: the Louisiana School for the Deaf and the Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired. It also manages educational programs for eligible students enrolled in the Office of Youth Development, Office of Behavioral Health, Office of Developmental Disabilities, Department of Public Safety, and Corrections, and privatized facilities across the state.

    “Ernest is a strong leader and passionate advocate whose extensive experience, as a school administrator, as an advocate of students with low-incidence disabilities and as a social worker in both the school and clinical settings, will bring a unique perspective to the SSD and to the state education department’s executive team,” White said. “We look forward to watching the SSD redefine itself as a statewide model of excellence under his guidance.”

    Garrett, a native of Missouri, is the former executive director and chief executive officer of Deaf Empowerment Awareness Foundation, Inc., an organization designed to empower, raise awareness, and bridge a sustainable foundation of communication and equal access to both the deaf and hard of hearing and the hearing communities in the St. Louis metro area.

    Garrett previously served as the first deaf and first African-American superintendent of the Missouri School for the Deaf. In that role, he championed the idea of  “education without limits” and was instrumental in leading the school through a change management process that resulted in a new mission, vision, motto, and strategic plan that drew unanimous approval from the school’s advisory board. Garrett has also acted as the executive director of the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and worked as a licensed social worker in both school and clinical settings.

    Garrett holds bachelor’s degrees in history and in professional and technical writing from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and master’s degrees in social work and administration from Gallaudet University, a federally chartered private university for the education of the deaf and hard of hearing.

    He also holds an advanced research qualification in management, specializing in leadership and organizational change, from Walden University, the same institution at which he is currently a doctoral candidate in the final stages of his dissertation, which examines hiring and retaining persons with disabilities for leadership positions. His anticipated completion date is December 2019.

    “I am delighted at this opportunity to return to my first passion, which is the education of students with disabilities, and do not take lightly my selection for this role at such a critical time in the SSD’s history,” Garrett said. “The education of children with disabilities is an issue that resonates with me both personally and professionally. I believe that all children can learn and that it is our responsibility as leaders, educators, policymakers, advocates, and stakeholders to ensure that students with disabilities receive the best quality education and are thus prepared for college and the workforce upon graduation. Settling for anything less than high expectations for all students–regardless of disability–is not an option.”

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Grambling State awards more than $300,000 in technology scholarships

    Grambling State University announced it has awarded tuition and fee scholarships to 10 incoming freshman majoring technology-related degree programs as a part of its Technology Tour Scholarship program.

    “This scholarship is one of the many ways we are working to make higher education attainable for the next generation of cybersecurity and computer science leaders,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “We look forward to supporting the success of these students who made the great decision to choose Grambling State.”

    This year’s Technology Tour Scholarship recipients are all incoming incoming freshmen who have at least a 3.0 GPA and 21 ACT score. The students, who have declared majors in cybersecurity, computer science, computer information systems, or engineering technology, will receive four years of tuition and fee scholarships which are funded in part by contributions from Louisiana Economic Development and AT&T.

    This year’s recipients include:

    • Stephon Hardim, Computer Engineering major from Winnsboro, Louisiana
    • Cazembe Zubari, Cybersecurity major from Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Jyron Bell, Computer Science major from Arcadia, Louisiana
    • Arlon McCrea, Construction Engineering major from Jennings, Louisiana
    • Damaine Thomas, Computer Science/Law major from New Orleans, Louisiana
    • Anthony Bell, Mechanical Engineering major from Walker, Louisiana
    • Mikayla Jackson, Cybersecurity major from Monroe, Louisiana
    • Destney Johnson, Cybersecurity major from Atlanta, Georgia
    • Ralynn Rand, Computer Engineering major from Little Rock, Arkansas
    • Tenaj Reliford, Cybersecurity major from Shreveport, Louisiana

    Alumni and supporters who are interested in sponsoring or supporting scholarship funds are encouraged to email advancementservices@gram.edu or donate at gram.edu/giving.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    BR high schoolers get aviation experience, attend national conference

    The Baton Rouge Youth Aviation Experience took 20 area high school Juniors and Seniors to Los Angeles to participate in the Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) Aviation Conference, August 23- 25.

    Baton Rouge Metro Airport Commission Chairman Cleve Dunn Jr. created the initiative, which is designed to educate students about career opportunities in the aviation industry. Dunn raised the money to pay for all 20 students to attend the conference, which included transportation, lodging and meals.

    The students participated in AMAC’s Project LIFT program, which was held at LAX Airports Flight Path Museum. The forum-style mentoring session is held for students interested in aviation and aviation-related businesses. Project LIFT exposes students to career opportunities in the aviation industry and the applicable education paths, and provides networking opportunities with professional mentors to further students’ academic development. In addition to an in-depth view of the aviation industry, the students made connections with industry leaders and were provided information about scholarship and internship opportunities.

    DSC06838_edit

    The participating students came from Capitol High School, Scotlandville Magnet High School, Lee Magnet High School, Madison Prep, Woodlawn High School, Mentorship Academy, Collegiate Baton Rouge, and McKinley High School. Chase Bank, Helix Schools, Baton Rouge Metro Airport, New Schools Baton Rouge, Airport Management Group, MetroMorphosis, Runner’s Courier Service, and Dunn Enterprises helped to sponsor the initiative.

    The Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) and the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) presented AMAC’s 35th Annual Airport Business Diversity Conference: Transforming the Future of Airports, bringing together nearly 1,000 businesses, aviation professionals, government officials and individuals from around the country to discuss a variety of subjects ranging from how to do business at airports to public policy issues impacting the entire aviation industry. This conference is the premier aviation industry event of the year – serving as a hub for education, advocacy and networking opportunities that promote diversity and inclusion in airports.

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    SU graduates 14 farmers from Ag Leadership Institute

    SU Ag Center holds Graduation Ceremony for 7th Small Farmer Ag Leadership Institute

    Fourteen small farmers from seven states received certificates of completion during a graduation ceremony for Cohort VII of the SU Ag Center’s Regional Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute.

    The ceremony was held on Friday, August 16 in the Cotillion Ballroom of Southern University’s Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union.

    Fourteen participants from Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia, Texas and Ohio graduated from the year-long course.

    Dawn Mellion Patin, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor for Extension and Outreach at the SU Ag Center, served as the keynote speaker for the ceremony. During her presentation, Patin discussed how the leadership institute was developed and encouraged the graduates to help other small farmers.

    “We expect you to share what you have learned in conversations with aspiring small farmers,” said Patin. “We expect you to host field days, workshops, and pasture walks so others can see what you are doing,” she said.

    The Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute is designed to guides small, limited-resource and minority farmers through the process of becoming more competitive agricultural entrepreneurs.

    The overriding goal of the Institute is to promote small and family farm sustainability through enhanced business management skills, leadership development and the utilization of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and services.

    The Cohort VII regional graduates of the Regional Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute are:
    Anthony Barwick, Ohio; Kay Bell, Texas; Keisha Cameron, Ga.; Mark Chandler, Va.; Debora Coleman, Miss.; Felton DeRouen, II, La.; Hilery “Tony” Gobert, Ga.; Royce Martin, Ala.; Lennora Pierrot, Ala.; Gregory Smith, La.; Brad Spencer, Miss.; Joy Womack, La.; Virgil Womack, La.; and Oliver Whitehead, Va.

    ONLINE: http://www.suagcenter.com/page/small-farmers.

    By LaKeeshia Giddens Lusk

     

    Read more »
  • ,,

    State responds to cyber attack on school system

    Stephenson Technologies Corporation at LSU offers tips on how individuals can protect themselves from future cyber-attacks

    This week, several Louisiana school systems were victims of the most pervasive ransomware attacks in the state’s history. Digital thieves successfully injected malware in several parish networks, making north Louisiana one of several areas in the country that have also fallen victim to cyber-attacks.

    Ransomware is malicious software designed to deny access to a computer system or data until a ransom is paid. It’s typically spread through phishing emails or by unknowingly visiting an infected website. Once infested, the thieves hold the user’s data hostage until a ransom is paid, usually in digital currency like BitCoin.

    “Ransomware is not new,” said Jeff Moulton, Stephenson National Center for Security Research executive director. “It’s growing in use at the state and local levels because the attackers know government agencies, especially at the lower levels, are likely to pay.”

    Moulton also said that hackers know that local government agencies including school districts often do not have the systems in place to protect against cyber-attacks. Hackers also may target these agencies because shutting down or interrupting services is unacceptable.

    Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency and activated Louisiana’s Emergency Support Function 17, which is a cyber-incident response plan. LSU’s Moulton oversees the ESF-17 subcommittee.

    LSU’s applied research affiliate, the Stephenson Technologies Corporation, or STC, is working with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, or GOHSEP, the Office of Technology Services and the Louisiana National Guard Cyber Team on this criminal event. Three LSU STC information systems security engineers are on site in the affected parishes assisting with the recovery efforts.

    “Thanks to Gov. Edwards’ foresight into cybersecurity vulnerabilities, he created the Louisiana Cybersecurity Commission to respond quickly and effectively to attacks like these,” Moulton said.

    He offers the following tips on how individuals and institutions can protect themselves from future cyber-attacks:

    • School districts throughout Louisiana must educate their workforce to stop, think and click before opening any email. If it doesn’t look right, don’t open it.
    • Implement a two-factor authentication system.
    • Have a manual back-up system.
    • Parents and guardians should give out as little personal information on their children as possible.
    • Parents and guardians should write a letter to the three credit agencies to lock and freeze their children’s credit so predators cannot access their children’s social security numbers.
    • Encrypt your data at rest.
    • Stop. Think. Click.

    ONLINE: https://www.sncsrt.lsu.edu

    Read more »
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    SU Child Development Center set to hold an Enrollment Fair

    The Southern University Child Development Laboratory will hold an Enrollment Fair for the 2019-2020 school year on Saturday, August 3 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at its facility located on E. Street on the Southern University Baton Rouge campus.

    Parents interested in enrolling their children at the laboratory can do so during the enrollment fair by bringing the child’s birth certificate; social security and insurance cards; and updated immunization, physical (well-child exam), and dental records (if applicable).

    Applications will be available to be picked up from the Laboratory on July 29.

    The Laboratory, which will open August 12, is accepting children six weeks to 4 years old. It will operate from 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. with before and aftercare available from 6:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. for an additional fee.

    To obtain an application or for additional information, call 225-771-2081 or email suchdvlab@subr.edu.

    Read more »
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    Grambling State launches new dining program with Magic Johnson’s Sodexo Magic

    Grambling State University announced the launch of a long-term partnership with a new dining service provider SodexoMAGIC. The new agreement will deliver $6.7 million in facility renovations, new major-brand quick-serve restaurants, and 24-hour dining.

    “The best part of our new program is that we, as students, are driving the design,” said Steven Wilson, rising senior and President of the University’s Student Government Association. “I’m grateful to President Gallot and the entire administration for how they’ve helped turn our comments, emails, and surveys into an experience that supports all of our students.”
    Grambling State Partners with SodexoMAGIC

    The University’s partnership comes as a result of a collaborative RFP process where students, faculty and staff weighed in on proposals from America’s leading dining service providers. The winning finalist, SodexoMAGIC, is well known for its chairman, NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and its service to universities and corporate clients that include Delta Airlines, the Walt Disney Company, the Federal Reserve Bank, and Toyota.

    “This agreement is a great example of what is possible when Universities put our students first,” said Rick Gallot, President of Grambling State. “We are fortunate to collaborate with a partner, like SodexoMAGIC who understands the holistic needs of our students.”

    The partnership will include a two-year overhaul of campus dining facilities and the launch of new program features that include:

    • New menus overseen by Chef G. Garvin, nationally acclaimed TV host, author, and NAACP Image Award winner
    • A New mobile app feature for ordering takeout and made-to-order items
    • Allergen-friendly meal programs to support vegetarians and other specialized dietary needs.

    The deal connects SodexoMAGIC and the University for a five-year partnership that will yield a $51 million return on investment and includes a five-year option to renew.

    “We are proud to partner with the Grambling State community and excited about investing in the students,” said Earvin “Magic” Johnson, NBA hall of famer and chairman of SodexoMAGIC. “My team is committed to providing excellent service that the Grambling students, staff, and community deserve so they can continue leading efforts to change the world in sports, technology, and in business.”

    Read more »
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    Teens earn Emergency Medical Responder Certification

    Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation presented the 2019 graduating class of the College & Career Ready Emergency Medical Responder  Institute. The graduates, all Baton Rouge area high school students, obtained Emergency Medical Responder certification upon their successful completion of the 10-week EMR Institute.
    UREC’s 2019 College & Career Ready EMR Institute graduates are:
    • Adrianna Brown (Valedictorian)
    • Bridget Calhoun
    • Alexus Maiden
    • Leah Ruffin
    • Abria Scott
    • Aisha Smith
    UREC’s College & Career Ready EMR Institute prepares students attending high schools in Baton Rouge for careers in the medical field, while providing a pathway to industry-based certification. During the institute, scholars learned life-saving skills such as CPR, how to detect vital signs, trauma response and injury care management under the instruction of Bob Brankline with the East Baton Rouge Parish School’s Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC).
    Throughout the institute, scholars participated in lecture-based instruction at Southern University School of Nursing and hands-on, skills-based instruction at CTEC. Scholars also participated in work site visits with the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security (Red Stick Ready), Baton Rouge General Mid-City, ExxonMobil, Baton Rouge EMS & 911 Operations, Baton Rouge Fire Department, and Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University (Fran U).
     
    Adrianna Brown, class valedictorian, said the program taught her technical, leadership and effective communication skills. “I learned how to take blood pressure, splint legs and arms, and how to listen to and analyze people’s airways,” she said. “I would definitely recommend this program to others.”

    UREC held a graduation and pinning ceremony on June 12, 2019 at Southern University School of Nursing. Dr. Latricia Greggs, Chair of the Southern University’s BSN Program, delivered the keynote address. Greggs encouraged graduates to exercise empathy, patience, continued education, self-care, humor, trust and teamwork as they embark upon future studies and careers in the healthcare field.

    Photo (L-R): Danielle Duncan, UREC, Youth Program Coordinator; Adrianna Brown; LeahRuffin; Alexus Maiden; Dr. Latricia Greggs, Chair, Southern University School of Nursing BSN Program; Abria Scott; Bridget Calhoun; Aisha Smithand Kathryn Robinson, UREC, Youth Program Director.
    Read more »
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    Teens complete Emergency Medical Responder Institute

    Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation presented the 2019 graduating class of the College & Career Ready Emergency Medical Responder Institute. The graduates, all Baton Rouge area high school students, obtained Emergency Medical Responder certification upon their successful completion of the 10-week EMR Institute.
    UREC’s 2019 College & Career Ready EMR Institute graduates are:
    • Adrianna Brown (Valedictorian)
    • Bridget Calhoun
    • Alexus Maiden
    • Leah Ruffin
    • Abria Scott
    • Aisha Smith
    UREC’s College & Career Ready EMR Institute prepares students attending high schools in Baton Rouge for medial careers while providing a pathway to industry-based certification. During the institute, scholars learned life-saving skills such as CPR, how to detect vital signs, trauma response and injury care management under the instruction of Bob Brankline with the East Baton Rouge Parish School’s Career and Technical Education Center.
    Throughout the institute, scholars participated in lecture-based instruction at Southern University School of Nursing and hands-on, skills-based instruction at CTEC. Scholars also participated in work site visits with the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security (Red Stick Ready), Baton Rouge General Mid-City, ExxonMobil, Baton Rouge EMS & 911 Operations, Baton Rouge Fire Department, and Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University (Fran U).
     
    Adrianna Brown, class valedictorian, said the program taught her technical, leadership and effective communication skills. “I learned how to take blood pressure, splint legs, and arms, and how to listen to and analyze people’s airways,” she said. “I would definitely recommend this program to others.”UREC held a graduation and pinning ceremony on June 12, 2019, at Southern University School of Nursing. Dr. Latricia Greggs, Chair of the Southern University’s BSN Program, delivered the keynote address. Greggs encouraged graduates to exercise empathy, patience, continued education, self-care, humor, trust and teamwork as they embark upon future studies and careers in the healthcare field.

    Photo (L-R): Danielle Duncan, UREC, Youth Program Coordinator; Adrianna Brown; LeahRuffin; Alexus Maiden; Dr. Latricia Greggs, Chair, Southern University School of Nursing BSN Program; Abria Scott; Bridget Calhoun; Aisha Smithand Kathryn Robinson, UREC, Youth Program Director.
    ONLINE: www.urec.org here.
    Read more »
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    SU Ag Center Uses Hydroponic Growing System to teach students, urban entrepreneurs

    Scientists at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center have partnered with Tera Vega to conduct research on a new Hydroponic Growing System. Hydroponics is a process of growing plants without soil in either sand, gravel or liquid.
    Through this research, the Center will train students and urban entrepreneurs on new technologies that will maximize crop production with limited space.
    Professor of Urban Forestry Yemane Ghebreiyessus, Ph.D., and senior research associate Milagro Berhane are working to perfect the system with aspirations of teaching potential urban entrepreneurs how to effectively grow crops in areas with limited space and generate personal and community wealth opportunities.
    For additional information about this research project, contact Milagro Berhane at milagro_berhane@suagcenter.com or Yemane Ghebreiyessus, Ph.D., at yemane_ghebreiyessus@suagcenter.com.
    Read more »
  • ,,,,

    Seed to Stomach: Grow Baton Rouge’s Food Cubes, other innovations tackle hunger

    For organizers and volunteers of Grow Baton Rouge, the fight against food deserts in North Baton Rouge is beyond the “last mile” of getting fruits and vegetables to the community.

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    Produce on the Fresh Cube

    “We are committed to resolving this major problem, not only through our gardens, urban farms, and mobile markets but through an upcoming wave of innovative efforts and initiatives that will definitely have a great positive impact of NBR and the city as a whole,”said Jasiri Basel, executive director of THE CEO MIND Foundation.

    Innovative has been the perfect word to describe the ongoing presence of THE CEO MIND Foundation and its Grow Baton Rouge throughout the city. Since 2017, the group has established 11 gardens and two urban farms, launched three “Fresh Cube” mobile market vehicles, and a bus called “The Desert Destroyer.”

    It also houses science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and mathematics initiatives and programs ranging from a mobile innovation lab called “The Transformer” and Grill & Connect to a high-tech Youth Empowerment Zone at the MLK Community Center on Gus Young Ave. They also host Girls EmPOWERed, Womanhood 101, and Manhood 101 forums.

    The Transformer

    The Transformer

    Through the Grow Baton Rouge initiative, the foundation expands its mission into agriculture by providing seeds, launching community gardens in neighborhoods around the city of Baton Rouge, and giving 300 residents the knowledge and tools to begin growing at home.

    According to Basel, Grow Baton Rouge has a model that encompasses the full supply chain and logistics that involves area farmers, businesses, ag specialists, and certified growers–for starters.

    The latest Fresh Cube designed by THE CEO MIND Foundation for Grow Baton Rouge

    The latest Fresh Cube designed by THE CEO MIND Foundation for Grow Baton Rouge

    “It’s critical for communities to be able to feed themselves through sustainable farming. It not only aids overall but it’s critical for health and wellness. North Baton Rouge contains many miles, areas, and neighborhoods with food deserts and swamps,” said Basel.

    “We believe that as long as a community has land to grow food, that no one deserves to or should go hungry,” he said.

    Grow Baton Rouge hosts Market Days weekly at different locations. Visit the website, www.growbatonrouge.com, for times and locations.

    ONLINE: http://growbatonrouge.com
    www.THECEOMINDFoundation.org
    By Candace J. Semien
    @JozefSyndicate

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Whitney Plantation: A tour of truth appropriate for Juneteenth

    EDGAR, La—On June 19, 1865, enslaved people in Galveston, Texas learned they were free from the United States institution of slavery. It was a great time of celebration and great trepidation. Thousands of the newly freed people had nowhere to go so they stayed on the plantations or near it, maintained the crops, and kept the plantation operational. Some lived as freed people. Some unknowingly continued living and being treated as slaves. This was the case of more than 300 African Americans living at the Haydel plantation from the late 1860s until 1975. To understand their stories and their brilliance within the confines of slavery and sharecropping, one would need to visit the Whitney Plantation in Edgar, Louisiana.

    “Use this time of Juneteenth to reflect on our individual families and their lives following slavery,” said genealogist and historian Antoinette Harrell who has followed family lineages in South Louisiana. According to a series of interviews published by Vice, Harrell has uncovered long-hidden cases of Black people who were still living as slaves a century past the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. She even interviewed a St. Charles, La. family who had been enslaved through the 1960s.

    Antoinette Harrell

    Antoinette Harrell

    “This is a time of celebration but it is also time to challenge ourselves to know more about our own families, to research and find out what happened to them at freedom, in slavery, and before then,” she said.

    This reflection and research has been done for the Haydel family who were the original owners of the Whitney Plantation. (It is now the nation’s sole plantation that tells the story of slavery through the eyes of the enslaved children who lived there.) This reflection is also being done by visitors—like the Semien family from Baton Rouge—who walked the grounds earlier this month.

    Here are the children’s thoughts:

    I really enjoyed the Whitney Plantation and loved how the guide made Black brilliance and intelligence a main part of the tour. She pointed out many times how knowledgeable the enslaved people were and that they were selected because of their intelligence and strength. Hearing that about my ancestors made me remember that I should always work hard and strive to do my best. It also made me wonder where my family is from. I believe that we are from Senegal or the Senegambia region of Africa like she explained because most of the Africans stolen and brought to Louisiana plantations as slaves were from that area. I also liked learning that these Blacks were actually powerful and brilliant and we saw that they created everything the white people needed and everything the plantation needed to make money with sugar cane. Another big thing that I took away from this experience was if my ancestors didn’t have anything but their intellect and still found a way to be successful, why can’t I strive for excellence with everything, too?

    —Yulani, 11

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    The guide at Whitley Plantation told about the legacy that was stripped from history books until now. We toured through concrete memorials with thousands of names and dates of slave purchases, births, and deaths etched in each. We were told about the horrors of living on the plantation and of slavery and the brutal ways people were treated and punished; and even after slavery was over, how they continued to disenfranchise Blacks to keep their minds, money, and bodies enslaved. Slaves were shackled around their necks and ankles as a way of punishment. Some were being buried alive. She shared how Catholicism and religious leaders were predators who benefited off the institute of slavery here and in France. However, slaves fought back in subtle ways. Breaking tools, pretending to be sick, working slowly, stealing small items or treats, and sneaking off into the bayou were examples of resistance. The guide said the Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery New Year’s Day 1863 but the Whitney Plantation was up and running with the same families until 1975! That was only 44 years ago. When the slaves found out they were free, they had nowhere to go so they ended up sharecropping—which was still a form of slavery—until the closing of the plantation.

    This experience made me see the relationship between modern behavior and previous practices towards Blacks. The most impactful part was when the guide explained how Blacks were kidnapped for their intellectual skills and physical characteristics. She explained how the Africans’ knowledge was used to make the plantation profitable. In school we are taught this land we are living in is the land of the free, home of the brave even though the truth of the bravest people have been omitted or watered down in textbooks. Whitney Plantation told us the truth in many ways. What sticks with me the most is the fact that the enslaved people were brilliant architects and agriculturalists, great musicians, and amazingly strong. If they could do all that while in bondage, then there is much more that I could do.

    - Condoleezza, 13

    web whitney chains

     

    After discussing with the tour guide the different ways Africans built and worked around the plantation we realized some of the traits presented by the Africans on the plantation are also represented by their descendants today. The tour guide discussed the way that rice growing technique was enhanced by Blacks who never grew rice Africa but knew agriculture so well they could cultivate it in Louisiana better than their owners. She also explained how they were smart architects and carpenters who built the big house at Whitney without nails and placed it where air could circulate in the house based on the location. Some slaves were good at building and construction and were making houses or blacksmithing while others would harvest crops and manage the master’s home. Slaves with special talents—like playing instruments or singing— would work in at the plantation, then the overseers or masters would rent them out for their talent so he could make more money off the slave and his friends be entertained. This tour has stressed the importance of self-confidence and education. It helps us to see where we came from and some of us are shown that we have potential and can complete any task.

    - Collin, 14

    ONLINE: WhitneyPlantation.com

     By Cora Lester
    The Drum Managing Editor

    Read more with The Drum

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    Ponchatoula Student Outreach holds victory celebration

    From the happy expressions on the faces of after-school students entering the Ponchatoula Community Center recently, it was easy to see something exciting was about to happen.

    After their usual healthy snacks, pupils first eagerly participated in Mad Science projects.

    Mad Science of Southeast Louisiana is a leading science enrichment provider based in Metairie. Its trained technicians travel year ‘round throughout the area bringing “education wrapped in entertainment” to schools, birthday parties, and many other special events.

    “Dr. B” Brittany and “Super Nova” Shelby led in making technicolor blenders, using molecules to make physical and chemical reactions. Teachers and Director Offering Congratulations

    Later, parents and guardians joined students in the gym to enjoy a full delicious jambalaya meal with salad, vegetables, and desserts at tables displaying student artwork with positive comments about the after school program.

    Earlier, City Human Resources Director Lisa Jones had personally provided pottery supplies needed for the students to make handmade gifts for their parents. Each decorated box read “Let these gratitude beads be a constant reminder of how much I appreciate everything you do for me.”

    Student Outreach Director May Stilley and Mayor Bob Zabbia welcomed the crowd, thanking the many who boost the youth in the program: Community Center Director Lynette Allen, City Council Members represented by Braville LeBlanc, Advisory Board, teachers, bus drivers, volunteer tutors from SLU Math 367 and PHS Key Club, to name a few.

    Teachers joined Stilley congratulating their students as they handed each a Certificate of Completion. (1st and 2nd grades: Charlotte Gordon and Daphine Griffin, Para’s: Shirley Creel and Cathy Colkmire; 3rd and 4th grades: Lisa O’Donnell and Desrie George; Para’s: Annette Tullier, Leigh Burnthorne and Kelly Martin; 5th and 6th grades: Kim James and Elisha Perry; Para’s: Janea Magee and Kacey Martin; 7th and 8th grades: Windy Haist and Alison Buzbee.)

    Desrie George’s beautiful voice rang out as he sang from his heart “You Can Fly” – words to encourage not giving up but working to make dreams come true.

    At comment time, Key Club officers Austin Granier and Matt Hailey were quick to say their lives have been enriched by working with the students each day.

    Students themselves came forward with smiles, one expressing her initial fear of being with strangers but it had been more like family as she gained new friends.

    Rejoicing at good gradesAnother young lady beamed she had gone from Fs to As in Math. Next, her father praised the program for its help, adding with humor, there’s no longer stress in their home over homework! A mother agreed from her seat to the change in her home and how grateful she is for all the people who make it possible. To this, many “amens” rang out.

    Before the evening closed with Bingo, May Stilley reminded parents and guardians of the 53 students that they have the most influence: “You are the first teacher.”

    She continued to the students, “We want our community to be the best it can be. Obey law, respect each other and the community. Find something you like to do, study to do it, then find somebody to pay you to do it. It all starts with education.”

    In teachers’ personal written comments to Stilley, one expressed the thoughts of all, saying each student is placed in their lives for a reason. They might not all be a “shining star” or “perfect student” but by opening the doors of communication and learning from each other, even those arriving with a “don’t care” attitude, can turn their lives around to believe in themselves when they see how many others already believe in them.

    The program for the coming school year will begin in September. For more information or if you would like to volunteer, donate or become a sponsor for the program, contact May Stilley at 985-401-2210 or Lisa Jones at 985-386-6484.

     

    By Kathryn J. Martin
    Contributing Writer

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    SU students commemorating Ghana’s ‘Year of Return’ through study abroad program

    With this year being coined as the “Year of Return” by Ghana president Nana Akufo-Addo, many African Americans are planning to travel to the West African country to commemorate the 400th year since transatlantic slave trade began. Joining in the number of celebrities and other tourists will be a group of Southern University students and faculty.

    “I cannot think of a better way for our students to pay homage to the defiant and indomitable spirit of the ancestors and the legacy of strength, endurance, and self-love that we are called to build upon,” said Cynthia Bryant. “They will be able to fully engage in what I believe will surely be a memorable and transformative pilgrimage to the Motherland.”

    The Southern delegation is participating in the African Diaspora Studies in New Orleans and Ghana program, along with participants from University of Oregon and Xavier University. This four-week program will explore the transformative journey of Africans living in America. Focusing on the broad spectrum of human experience related to the African diaspora, the program will examine the relationship between Louisiana, where the program begins, and West Africa, where it will conclude.

    For the first part of the program, participants will spend 11 days in New Orleans, which was the first port of entry for many Africans enslaved in America. The itinerary includes visits to historical and cultural sites, many of which are still in use today, and course lectures.

    The second part of the course will be spent in Ghana, where participants will be completely immersed in the country’s culture while living with residents and going on excursions. Course lectures will continue to expand on the emotional, cultural, and socio-economic impact of forced migration and displacement of Africans in America.

    The program starts July 7 and runs until Aug. 1. Though participation in this study is funded through a partial grant, students welcome contributions to defray costs, including airfare, lodging, and fees associated with the trip to Accura, Ghana.

    For more information about the trip and to give donate, visit http://bit.ly/sughanatrip.

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    Teens invited to apply to UREC’s 2019 IGNITE Fellowship

    Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation is accepting applications for the 2018 College & Career Ready IGNITE Fellowship.  IGNITE is an interactive summer and after-school initiative that prepares high school students to create the jobs of tomorrow through entrepreneurship training, college and career readiness and ACT Prep. Complete the IGNITE Fellowship application here.

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    Walker receives Iowa State achievement award

    Retia Scott Walker, Ph.D. has been named the 2019 Alumni Achievement Award recipient by the College of Human Sciences at Iowa State University (ISU). She is vice chancellor for academics and student services/ associate dean of Southern University’s College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences.
    According to ISU website, the award recognizes alumni who have accomplished meritorious service and/or distinguished achievements in business and industry, education, family and consumer sciences and health.
    “I am excited about this recognition and look forward to returning to Iowa State University this fall to participate in the celebration honoring graduates of the college,” said Walker. “I had a great experience there and developed lasting relationships with classmates and professors, some of whom I am still in touch with annually,” she said.
    Walker has been an educator for more than 50 years. She has served as the Vice Chancellor for Academics and Student Services/ Associate Dean in the SU College of Agriculture since November 2017. Prior to coming to Southern University Walker has served as an Interim Provost, an Executive Assistant to the President and as a Department Chair in Human Ecology, all at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Walker has also held the position of Vice President of Academic Outreach and Public Services, Dean and Professor in the College of Human Environmental Sciences, both at the University of Kentucky and Assistant Professor in the College of Education Graduate Program at Texas Women University.
    Walker earned a B.S. in home economics education and a minor in foods and nutrition from Tuskegee University; an M.S. with a concentration in Family Studies from Hunter College; an M.S. ED in Education Administration and Supervision from Pace University (NYC) and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from Iowa State University. Walker also completed her post-doctoral studies in gerontology at the University of Maryland-College Park and Baltimore, and the Executive Education Program from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
    This award will be the third time she has been recognized by Iowa State University. In 1983, she was honored as an Outstanding Ph.D. Graduate and in 2003 she received the Virgil Lagomarcino Laureate Alumni Award from the College of Education.
    She will receive the 2019 Alumni Achievement  Award in October during Iowa State’s Homecoming.
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    Will your child ride the bus next year?

    In order to create a more efficient bus routing system for the children who choose to ride, the East Baton Rouge Parish School System wants to know if parents DO NOT plan to use East Baton Rouge Parish Schools System’s transportation services for the 2019-2020 school year.

    Parents are encouraged to take survey if they plan to use alternative transportation for their students next year. If the student will use Transportation Services there is no need to complete the survey, school officials said. Free transportation is always available to eligible students in East Baton Rouge Parish Schools. You may opt back in at any time. Parents/guardians are responsible for notifying the school of attendance regarding any changes in home address, phone numbers or school transfers made during the school year. Note: This survey does not guarantee official approval of transportation services. Most importantly, if eligible, transportation services can be added at any time.

    Take Survey

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    Applications now available for the SU Ag Center’s Summer CLIMATE Program

    Applications are currently being accepted for the SU Ag Center’s Cultivating Leadership Innovation by Motivating Agricultural Talents through Education (CLIMATE) Program.

     CLIMATE is a two-year summer program for current high school juniors. The program will provide supplemental instruction and assist participants in qualifying for the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) scholarship. The participants will also be given the opportunity to gain pre-collegiate work experience during a professional internship in their home town or a neighboring parish.

    During the first year of the program, participants will spend four weeks on the Southern University campus preparing for the ACT test and participating in educational courses and field trips.

    At the completion of the four weeks, the students will receive a $500 educational assistance award.

    Students will further their knowledge during the second year of the program by working for eight weeks in an agricultural related internship with either a state or local government agencies or community organizations. The returning participants will receive a $2,000 stipend after successfully completing the internship.

    Participation in CLIMATE is free of charge, however, only high school juniors will be accepted into the program.

    To apply, applicants must submit an application with an official transcript and a one and a half page double spaced essay which includes:

    • •An introduction of the applicant to include what he or she would like the selection committee to know about him/herself.
    • •The applicant’s definition of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences.
    • •Why the applicant believes that Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences are important.
    • •The applicant’s goals and aspirations for the future.

     

    Additionally, applicants must have at least a 2.5 cumulative grade point average and scored between a 14 and a 19 on the ACT.

    Applications are due May 20.

    To obtain an application or for additional information contact, Dr. Dawn Mellion-Patin, Vice Chancellor for Extension and Outreach, at 225-771-3532 or via email at dawn_mellion@suagcenter.com.

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    Dereck J. Rovaris Sr. named president of the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education

    LSU Vice Provost for Diversity Dereck J. Rovaris Sr. has been named president of the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education, or AABHE.

    AABHE is the premier organization to drive leadership development, access and vital issues concerning Blacks in higher education, AABHE also facilitates and provides opportunities for collaborating and networking among individuals, institutions, groups and agencies in higher education in the United States and Internationally.

    Rovaris earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas with a triple major in psychology; human development and family life; and crime and delinquency studies. He worked for three years as a financial aid counselor at Xavier University of Louisiana, where he earned an M.A. in guidance and counseling. He later earned a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Illinois.

    Rovaris returned to Xavier, serving as assistant dean of the graduate school, director of graduate school placement and as an assistant professor with the graduate school. He also directed two nationally recognized student enrichment programs, Xavier’s McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program and its SuperScholar/EXCEL program.

    In 2006, he completed the Management Development Program at Harvard University. In 2007, he completed a Council for Opportunities in Education professional development tour in England and The Netherlands. Later in 2008-09, he was in Chicago at DePaul University as a presidential fellow with the American Council on Education. In 2010, he became associate vice chancellor for academic and multicultural affairs at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, and in May 2014, he was named LSU vice provost for diversity.

    The LSU Office of Diversity is a division of the Office of Academic Affairs and provides support, referral and information to students, faculty and staff on issues and concerns related to diversity and inclusion. For more information, please visit www.lsu.edu/diversity.

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    Multiple sclerosis survivor named chief student marshal for spring commencement

    After being diagnosed with a sometimes debilitating illness, Chacity Simmons felt even more determined to continue her education and reach her goals. Because of her tenacity and hard work, Simmons is the chief student marshal for the 2019 Spring Commencement for Southern University Baton Rouge set for Friday, May 10 at 10 a.m. at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.

    “This is an unbelievable honor,” said Simmons, who is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice. “As I go through life, I strive to do my best. I remain extremely humble and most grateful for Southern University’s recognition of one of my most important achievements. I extend my sincere gratitude for this honor.”

    Though she has consistently performed well academically, life has placed obstacles in her way that attempted to discourage her from continuing her education. In 2016, a semester before attending Southern, Simmons was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). As a result, she became temporarily disabled, unable to walk unless assisted by a cane.

    “After a month of treatment, I fully regained my physical strength and was able to care for myself,” Simmons said. “Throughout the struggle with my health, I felt that I should make the best out of my life and continue my education at Southern University. Despite my medical diagnosis, I chose to persevere no matter the circumstance.”

    It has not been easy to manage life with yet another hurdle. Simmons, who is a single mother and a paralegal at the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office, knew that she could not give up. Being a role model for her family and friends, including her son, was very important.

    “My son is a constant reminder of how I should fight through the pain and continue my education,” Simmons said. “My son helps keep me on my toes. He’ll remind me to take my medication whenever he notices that I’m swamped with homework. Some days are better than others, but overall I’ve adjusted to my life well.”

    Because of her challenging lifestyle, she chose the online criminal justice program because of the convenience of the self-paced learning environment. She mentioned that it was easy and accessible to browse course materials and respond to discussion posts through the app on her phone.

    As Simmons prepares to turn the tassel, she prepares for the next chapter in her life. Her future plans include attending law school at the Southern University Law Center and becoming an attorney.

    “In my current position, I have the ability to observe and assist attorneys and it definitely encourages me to pursue a career in law,” said Simmons, who is prepping to take the LSAT. “It’s quite an honor to learn from some the Southern University’s Law School alumni.”

    Before she departs the Bluff, she wants to pass along one piece of advice to students who are balancing a challenging diagnosis and wanting to pursue a college experience: Do not be discouraged.

    “Throughout life, we may experience situations that are unwanted or unexpected, but with hard work and determination, you shall overcome,” she said. “Remain focused on your goal no matter the circumstance. Adjusting to a new diagnosis may be difficult, but the ultimate reward for endurance is satisfying.”

    By Jasmine D. Hunter
    Special to The Drum

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    Edwards named Principal of the Year semi-finalist

    East Baton Rouge Parish principal Catasha Edwards has been name a semifinalist in the Louisiana Department of Education’s 2020 Teacher and Principal of the Year.

    Edwards, who is principal at Westdale Heights Academic Magnet School, is one of 14 semi-finalists statewide and the only one from East Baton Rouge. She was also an assistant principal at Audubon Elementary.

    These educators are making exceptional gains with students, pushing them to achieve at the highest levels in the state.

    All Teacher and Principal of the Year finalists and semi-finalists will be honored at the 13th Annual Cecil. J. Picard Educator Excellence Symposium and Celebration on Friday, July 19, 2019 at the Crowne Plaza Executive Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

    ONLINE: Louisiana Believes

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