By Chris Kieffer
TUPELO – Last month, Shannon High School needed to prepare a large amount of food for a special recognition program for its students.
So Antoinette Freeman, the mother of a freshman at the school, volunteered to cook 400 hot dogs and 200 hamburgers, with the help of her two parents.
Freeman travels to all of the school’s marching band trips. She serves on its Title 1 Advisory Committee and regularly donates school supplies for teachers and needy students.
“There is not anything we ask for, that she hasn’t been right there to do,” said Shannon High School Principal Bill Rosenthal. “If we have students in need, and we let her know, she makes sure those kids get what they need.”
Freeman was named the Lee County School District’s Parent of the Year on Tuesday night during a School Board meeting at its Central Office. The district also recognized the Parents of the Year from each of its individual schools.
“It means a lot,” Freeman said of the honor. “I enjoy helping others. It is motivating to help others and help these students. Some of them don’t have it and need it.”
Freeman’s daughter, Shannon freshman Madalyn Bails, said her mother’s involvement “keeps her focused.”
“It feels good because a lot of parents aren’t there for their kids,” she said. “It keeps me on task. I know I can’t get bad grades or get in trouble.”
Verona Elementary Principal Temeka Shannon said Freeman has been active in the district’s schools since Madalyn was in kindergarten.
“She deserves this,” Shannon said.
Freeman has coordinated with her church to donate supplies to students and helped arrange activities to reward students for good behavior.
She has been a parent sponsor for the student council, the coordinator of the Plantersville Middle School prom committee and a chaperone on numerous school trips. She has helped with the school’s parent workshops and won a $1,000 Walmart grant to assist with school activities.
Even though Madalyn is now at the high school, she donated school supplies to Plantersville Middle this week.
“I helped where I was needed,” she said. “I like to be involved in my daughter’s education and be an encouragement to her.”
INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL WINNERS
The Lee County School District recognized the Parents of the Year for each of its individual schools on Tuesday night. Those include Libba Priest (Guntown Middle), Stephanie Baldwyn (Mooreville Elementary), Tammy Stuper (Mooreville Middle), Anita Pate (Mooreville High), Brandi Traylor (Plantersville Middle), Amber McHenry (Saltillo Elementary), Sharon Rye (Saltillo High), Julie Arriola (Saltillo Primary), Rachel Sisk (Shannon Elementary), Suzanne Lindsey (Shannon Middle), Freeman (Shannon High), Katrinka Trice (Shannon Primary) and Lavonda Witherspoon (Verona Elementary).