Shannon Middle gets a helping hand

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

SHANNON – Community leaders from the Shannon area have joined together to support efforts to improve Shannon Middle School.
Members of the Lee County Fourth District Community Association were at the school Tuesday morning to present a $3,800 high-volume copy machine it had bought for the school.
They also announced that the organization has established a special project fund with the CREATE Foundation to provide more resources and technology for the sixth- to eighth-grade school.
“One of the main factors of a school being successful is having the community involved,” said Shannon Middle Principal Keith Steele.
The Lee County School District has focused on improving Shannon Middle, whose 2009 state test scores ranked in the bottom 5 percent of the state. They applied for but did not receive a federal school improvement grant, reorganized the schedule and selected Steele, formerly an assistant superintendent, to become principal.
Steve Hersey, the president of the Fourth District Community Association, said his group believed it was important to assist with those efforts.
“We knew that the grant they applied for didn’t quite come through, so we came to them and said, ‘We are involved in the community, what can we do to help?’” said Hersey, also a deacon at Pine Grove Baptist Church.
The money for the copier was raised from donations by churches, as well as a $1,000 grant from CREATE from the Marchbanks Endowment Fund.
The association will continue to support the school from the Shannon Middle School Technology and Resource Project, which is set up as a special project of CREATE. It will use that money to meet requests made by the school’s teachers, ranging from small items like copy paper, pencils and batteries to larger items like DVD players and TVs.
It will also help the school in establishing its first library. Previously middle school students used the library at the high school.
The community association was formed in January, Hersey said, and it also focuses on decreasing break-ins and assisting elderly community members. The members also felt it was important to aid the school.
“That is the future of your community,” said Billy Henderson, vice president of the organization and the pastor at Pleasant Grove Community Church.

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or chris.kieffer@djournal.com.

How to give
Donations to the Shannon Middle School Technology and Resource Project can be made through the CREATE Foundation. Contact the foundation at (662) 844-8989 or go to www.createfoundation.com. For more information about the Lee County Fourth District Community Association, contact President Steve Hersey at (662) 322-3258 or Vice President Billy Henderson at (662) 322-8833.