A rose to the churches and volunteers in Columbus and Starkville who help provide weekend meals for students in need through backpack programs at local school districts. Through the program, the school districts select students to receive the meals through teacher recommendations, and the churches collect, pack and send the food to the schools. Then on Fridays, school leaders make sure there is a little bit of food in the selected students’ backpacks before they go home. While it may be hard for some to imagine, food insecurity is a major issue for many households across Mississippi, and these efforts help promote better health and education for the children who need it most.
A rose to Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District for partnering with Mississippi State University researcher David May to help stem the school-to-prison pipeline. May, who received a grant for the project, will interview students with discipline referrals as well some prison inmates to help identify more effective ways schools can keep students off the path to prison. SOCSD’s willingness to partner with the project, and the information gained, could ultimately help it and so many other districts.
A rose to the Columbus Writers’ Group. Since forming in 2012, its members have met each month, shared their writing allowed and offered feedback to fellow members doing the same. Soon, two of its members — Dottie Porter, 81; and Jeanette Basson, 75 — will become published authors thanks to their dedication and the help they received from other local writers in the group. So often, groups of like-minded people start meeting with grand ideas that fizzle out sooner than later. This writers’ group, though, has stood the test of time.
A rose of good luck to all our area high school athletes who are gearing up for, or have already started, their 2019 season. Whether football, soccer, cross country track, volleyball or any other sport, we wish these athletes and teams good health and success as they pursue their endeavors.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.