A rose to Brett Blaise, for whom signing a professional baseball contract with the Tampa Bay Rays organization is a triumph of perseverance. From his days at Heritage Academy, the left-handed pitcher has been passed over; passed over by major colleges and passed over during the major-league draft. Now, the former Belhaven University pitcher is getting his chance in Rookie League ball in Florida. It’s a long way from the major leagues, but he has the one thing he has wanted all along: An opportunity.
A thorn To Governor Phil Bryant, who seems to favor partisan politics over the welfare of the people. After issuing a truly hysterical response to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, the Governor intimated he is inclined not to extend Medicaid to those who meet the new standards included in the law, even though the first three years of those increases would be paid for by the federal government. That the Governor of one of the poorest states in the union would even contemplate a decision that would leave Mississippi lagging even farther behind in health care is unconscionable. His motto appears to be: “Government of (some of) the People, for (some of) the People, by (some of) the People.”
A rose to Linda Malbrough and Alicia Prude, who were honored for their work at the Greater Columbus Learning Center. The pair’s dedication to their students goes far beyond the parameters of their official roles. Many of their students have learning disabilities; others are struggling to overcome feelings of inferiority. Society may have given up on some of these students. In fact, some of the students are tempted to give up on themselves. But Malbrough and Prude never do. They are there to push, prod, inspire and comfort students for whom education is the key to a “second chance.”
A rose to Columbus-Lowndes Public Library Director Alice Shands for establishing an Autism Resource Center at the library. The center will not only provide materials to meet the unique educational needs of autistic children, but will create a rallying point for parents of autistic children, a place where they can share their experiences, find empathy and learn from each other.
A rose to Nancy Bragg, principal at Sale Magnet School, for her well-deserved honor as Mississippi’s Administrator of the Year. Bragg was chosen for the honor by virtue of her leadership, community involvement and ability to inspire her teachers and staff. Sale was the only school in the district to be ranked as “high performing” under Bragg’s leadership. It marked a remarkable ascent for Sale, which was listed on academic watch the previous two years. At a time when the district faces many challenges, it is comforting to know that administrators such as Bragg are in the district.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.