West Carroll Sixth Grade ‘Planning to Soar in 2024’
BY BRAD SAM
TREZEVANT (February 27) — Sixth graders at West Carroll Elementary and their parents were invited to a special event Tuesday night titled “Planning to Soar in 2024.”
Intended to emphasize the importance of post-secondary education to the students as they depart the elementary for the junior-senior high school, the program began with several speakers and transitioned into a small “college fair” with representatives of one of each of the four main types of higher education institutions.
Participating were admissions officials from Tennessee College of Applied Technology-McKenzie, a vocational-technical school; Bethel University, a fouryear private university; the University of Tennessee at Martin, a four-year public state university; and Jackson State Community College, a two-year community college.
WCES Principal Molly Ashley welcomed everyone to the program and introduced the first speaker, Shane De-Priest, Supervisor of Safety and Attendance for the West Carroll Special School District. He told students about his own educational journey and how important it became when he was an adult. He advised them about the importance of attendance and participation and urged them to answer the challenge to graduate as college and career ready.
Next, WCES counselor Sherry Cockrill talked about the different types of schools and what they offer. She spoke about being a first-generation college graduate in her family, and told the students, “If I can do it, so can you.”
Next, WCJSHS counselor Sunni Cooksey spoke about the different schools and the issues of cost. She advised students to take advantage of opportunities such as TN Promise, Hope Scholarships, dual- credit courses, industry certification and the TN Scholars program.
Then, Kevin Edwards, Program Director for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, expanded on some of the state programs mentioned by Cooksey. He recommended students utilize www. collegeforTN.org, a state resource to help students and families plan, apply and pay for college. He talked about the value of choices and told the students that better grades now equal more choices later.
Finally, Trezevant Mayor Dennis Mitchell (also a Milan police officer) spoke to the sixth graders about his career decision. He said that he knew when he was their age that he wanted to be a police officer. He was learning the trade of his father, who owned a construction company, and his dad recognized that his son didn’t want to follow in his career path. Mayor Mitchell noted that his dad listened and supported his decision and advised the parents in the room to do the same. He also emphasized the importance of reading and math in his and almost any line of work.
Principal Ashley closed by telling her students to “work hard and be kind,” then invited everyone to speak to the college representatives and enjoy refreshments provided by Linda Black’s WCHS Culinary Arts Class.
Several items, including Wal-Mart gift cards, were raffled off to attending students. The next day during school, all sixth graders received t-shirts as they continued to focus on the themes of the previous night.
Photo courtesy WCES. Below Left, Panel speakers at “Planning to Soar in 2024” (L to R): Shane DePriest, WCSSD Supervisor of Safety and Attendance; Sunni Cooksey, WCJSHS Counselor; Sherry Cockrill, WCES Counselor; Molly Ashley, WCES Principal; and Kevin Edwards, Program Director for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. Below Right, University of Tennessee at Martin Admissions Counselor Natalie Medling with sixth graders Jayden Morris (left) and Luke Gibson, who each won a Wal-Mart gift card in a raffle for attending students. Photos by Brad Sam/The Banner