A rose of remembrance to former justice court judge and Columbus mayor James “Jimmy” Fannon, who died Wednesday at age 82. He will be remembered as a kind, compassionate man whose commitment to public service proved to be very much a family trait. From his wife, Josie, who served as the city’s Community Resource Director to his children, Janet (teacher) and Jimbo (Recovery House) and his grandchildren, Alan (Columbus firefighter) and Brian (teacher/coach), the Fannon family proves that the best legacies are often handed down from one generation to the next in a way that serves the community. There is no greater legacy than that.
A rose to the students, faculty and administration at Golden Triangle Early College High School, which is nearing the half-way point for its first graduating class. GTECS began in the fall of 2015 and is designed to help gifted students from disadvantaged backgrounds fast track their education by allowing dual enrollment at East Mississippi Community College in Mayhew, where the high school operates. Of the first class of 61 students, 60 remain at the school as sophomores and all seem to be flourishing, not only improving their grades when compared to middle school, but picking up EMCC credits as well. The journey continues, but all signs point to success and we are reminded that good news in education is good news for our entire community.
A rose to Salvation Army majors Alan and Cheryl Phillips for another successful “Red Kettle” campaign and all those who volunteered and donated to make this year’s fundraiser a rousing success. Phillips reports that going into the last week of the Red Kettle campaign, which ended on Christmas Eve, they were 20 percent short of their goal. Thanks to a wave of volunteers in that last week, the campaign not only made up that ground but exceeded it, finishing 11 percent ahead of its goal of $66,000. Phillips said the number of bell ringers increased from 390 to 751, increasing the volunteer hours from 690 to 1,445. This speaks well of the tireless efforts of many, as well as the charitable spirit of our community, who once again answered the call to service. Great job, all around!
A rose to Kylin Hill of Columbus and Willie Gay of Starkville, for reasons that are partly selfish, we admit. Hill (running back) and Gay (linebacker) were two of the top football prospects in the nation this year and their decisions to “stay home” and sign with Mississippi State was a welcomed development, not just for MSU fans, but for the communities who have followed these two outstanding players through their high school careers. Both players had many options, but we are delighted that they decided that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the state line. We look forward to watching them progress as players and athletes and are confident they will continue to be a source of pride for our communities.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.