Emily Hatfield & Amber Throton's Letter to the Editor on the Education Session
It has been an outstanding experience as a current participant in the class of 2017 Leadership Tangipahoa Program. Each month, we set out on an adventure through the best parish anyone could live or work in, Tangipahoa Parish.
In March, we toured various facilities in what is known as our Education Day. Our first stop was at the Tangipahoa Parish School Board office where we were greeted and given a tour of the facility by Chief Academic Officer Theresa Hamilton. We thoroughly enjoyed the informational speeches that were presented by the board president Mike Whitlow, Superintendent Mark Kolwe, Chief Academic Officer Theresa Hamilton, and Director of Business Services Kaye Roberts.
We were presented information about the school district, college and career readiness strategies, and a financial update on the school board. One of the astounding keynotes received is that our schools are one of the most underfinanced parishes in the state of Louisiana. Even though we are underfunded, our schools continue to prove to be top notch with successful academic programs, state of the art technologies, exceptional school board leaders, and outstanding educators. Thank you to these amazing teachers and leaders in our parish!
Next up on our Education Day, we journeyed to Lucille Nesom Memorial School in Tickfaw, where we were eagerly greeted by high-ranking student leaders, key staff members, and the principal Charlotte Tillman. Principal Tillman presented our group with current school statistics, academic programs, and future goals of the school. Student leaders recited the core values of the school's mission statement, school theme, motto, expectations, mascot, and school colors. The school theme, "Shining like Stars through Achievement", was immensely present in the halls of Nesom. Each hall was adorned with exceptional artwork created by the students. The school looked much like an art gallery and was amazingly beautiful. You could see the excitement in the student leader's eyes as they toured us through the building. These students have so much pride attending this school and we have the faculty, staff, and principal to thank for being an inspiration for our youth to strive for higher achievements.
When asked, what has been the most fulfilling achievement since becoming principal, Principal Tillman replied, "We have a strong staff, peaceful community, and the kids want to be here. The faculty and staff want to come to work". This is a true testament of superb leadership at its finest.
Talk about more impressive leadership in our great parish, have you had the privilege of dining at Hammond High Magnet School? Our Leadership Tangipahoa class was spoiled by entering into the ProStart class which was turned into a five-star restaurant for us.
The tables were covered in white linens, were set properly for service, and embellished with a centerpiece and menu placement. The three course meal included: a lovely salad with mixed greens and vegetables, Sugar Cane Vinaigrette Dressing, and Herbed Focaccia Croutons; the entre of Pork Cheese Grillades, Smoked Gouda Grit Cakes, and Italian Bread; the dessert of Carrot Cake, Cream Cheese Ice Cream, Candied Bacon and Pecans with a Carmel Sauce. In other words, the most flavorful and delightful meal of deliciously perfected proportions. My mouth is still watering thinking about it.
Thank you Angie Drago, Tangipahoa ProStart Instructor, for sharing your gifted students with us as well as the faculty serving us our magnificent meal prepared by your master chef pupils. What amazing talent we have right here in our parish. Look out Chef Ramsey! These students are coming for your job!
After leaving Hammond High Magnet School, completely full and satisfied, we continued on to Northshore Technical Community College where we were given a warm welcome from the campus Dean herself, Bridget LaBorde. Dean LaBorde's passion for the amazing programs that are available are proven to demonstrate the success of this college. She graciously gave us a tour and informed us about the multitude of programs available not only for students but for the community as well. Some of the programs include practical nursing, welding, business office administration, air conditioning, drafting and design, and criminal justice. This is just to name a few. These programs are an asset to our parish. To find out more information, Dean LaBorde encourages everyone to visits the campus. Additionally, you can find more information through their website at http://northshorecollege.edu. Thank you, Dean LaBorde for the wonderful information and tour of the campus.
Continuing on to our final destination, we arrived at Southeastern Louisiana University, where Sam Domiano, the President of Administration and Finance, spoke to us. He engaged our class in current stats for the University as well as future plans. Some astounding facts include that SELU continues to have one of the lowest tuition rates offered for a four-year college in the state while also being the third largest public University. The U.S. News and World Reports recognized SELU students for having the least amount of debt when graduating. Additionally, SELU was given #1 in safety of Louisiana Universities by College Choice. Thank you, Mr. Domiano, for being informative and speaking to us about Southeastern Louisiana University. To find out about more about SELU, you can visit their website at http://www.southeastern.edu.
These are astonishing facts that repeatedly solidify that the parish we live in, and the opportunities here are bar-none, the best! You are going to want to work here, go to school here, shop here, and meet the people here. As Tangipahoa Parish President Robby Miller says it best, "Move Here"!
For more information on how you can be a part of the 2018 Leadership Tangipahoa Class, visit our website at http://www.leadershiptangi.org.
Again, thank you to all of our Education Day presenters for our 2017 Leadership Tangipahoa class. Each and every one of you are aiding in further developing our education in leadership skills and community affairs.
Emily B. Hatfield
Emily B. Hatfield