Father knows best

By Mack Spencer

Daily Journal

BOONEVILLE – Kevin Eubank didn't really need a big honor. Nor did he expect it.

Nevertheless, Eubank, president of Eubank Construction in Booneville, won several honors in a row.

After being named Parent of the Year for Anderson Elementary School, Eubank won the Booneville School District Parent of the Year title, as judged by district personnel.

The district honor qualified Eubank for regional and state award consideration by the Mississippi Department of Education. Eubank came out on top for both honors, winning First Congressional District and State Parent of the Year.

“I was shocked,” Eubank said. “It's a big honor.”

“We're very excited that Kevin has been selected as Mississippi's Parent of the Year,” Booneville Superintendent Larry Morgan said. “He is one of the most energetic, excited parents in the district. “Kevin is always available to help at the school with any projects.”

Anderson Principal Beverly Hill cited Eubank for serving as a “homeroom dad” and helping with parties, supplies and field trips, but Eubank's influence goes beyond his 9-year-old daughter Molly Beth's classroom.

In Eubank's state nomination form, Hill noted such schoolwide activities as:

– contributing member of the PTO.

– assisting with the Learn & Serve Program, by helping students plant flowers and landscape a “Welcome to Booneville” sign.

– using his company equipment to level the playground and spread mulch, and working with his employees to install playground equipment, sidewalks and water fountains.

– providing the building crew and chairing the building committee for the Kid's Town in Booneville City Park.

– donating money for Christmas gifts for needy elementary students.

– paying field trip fees for students whose parents could not afford it.

– taking a student to the dentist and paying all the expenses.

“I can call Kevin anytime for anything, and if he can't do it, he gets someone else to do it,” Hill said. “The positive attitude and encouragement that he emulates to others is phenomenal.”

While it may seem rare to have a father named Parent of the Year, even on the local level, state officials said it has happened before.

“We have had a man named Parent of the Year before, and we are delighted this year,” said Steve Williams, seior assistant to the state superintendent. “I think it shows the strong support and input that fathers can give their children. (Parent of the Year) is a great comment on strong parenting, whether by mothers or fathers.

“We at the State Department applaud his efforts, and hope all parents will follow his example.”

The Parent of the year program was established by the Mississippi Legislature and is designed to recognize outstanding parents. School districts as asked to nominate district-level winners, whose applications are sent to he Department of Education for review by an independent selection committee.

Four regional finalists are selected, with the overall winner being selected from that group.

Other regional finalists included Norma McDavid, Western Line School District in Washington County; Cathy Valdes, Starkville School District; and Tiffany Henry, Pascagoula Municipal School District.

Eubank will be recognized by the State Board of Education at either the May or June monthly meeting.