By JB Clark
TUPELO – Ashland High School Principal LaKimberly Hobson and Tupelo High School Principal Jason Harris issued a challenge Saturday for communities and parents to get and stay involved in their students’ education.
The two principals, along with two Ashland High School students, gave the keynote addresses for Tupelo’s 14th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Black-Tie Banquet to a capacity crowd at St. Paul Christian Life Center.
Harris was accompanied by one of his graduates, Prince Jackson, who was the first person in his family to graduate from high school since integration. He said he and Jackson maintained a relationship throughout his schooling, and relationships are a key to success in education.
“It’s good to have Prince here because he is what we embody,” Harris said. “We go to school and work for the students.”
Hobson said the most important thing in her administration is not what her students hear her say, it’s what they see in her. “I don’t mind my kids seeing me cry or mad,” she said. “One thing I mind is if they think I don’t care.”
She said education starts at home and parents looking for the key to success can read, talk and listen to their students. “You can’t pass the buck and say it’s the educator’s responsibly,” she said. “Guess what? You are your child’s first educator.”
Juwan Page, a sophomore at Ashland High School, spoke about love and forgiveness.
“You can’t love someone until you forgive them,” he said. “And, compassion, respect and racial harmony all come from love.”
His classmate, Kertese Richards, said racial harmony comes out of celebrated differences.
“When we’re in school, our teachers encourage us to read and look for inferences from the world around us, they want us to read between the lines,” she said. “This is how I felt when I read Dr. King’s speech. He wasn’t talking about one race, he was talking about all races.”
Harris ended with a call to action, “My challenge to you is, if you’re a parent, be a parent – not a friend… Failure is not an option and remember, it still takes a village to raise a child.”