Give me an ‘A’

Published 9:03 pm Tuesday, September 30, 2008

West Side Elementary School kicked off an attendance program last Friday with a Pep Rally featuring special guests: The Picayune Maroon Tide High School Football Team, Cheerleaders, Band and The Pride of the Tide Dance Team. Students at West Side made signs and banners to cheer on their favorite team and players. The program will continue Fridays through the months of October and November.

During the rally, Picayune Memorial High School Senior Jon Billups encouraged the students to come to school everyday because it would help keep them out of trouble and help them to make a future for themselves. Billups is very dedicated to making his future ambitions a reality, not only has he overcome hardships in his young life, he excels in football with the Tidesmen as well as in his studies. He currently holds a 3.2 gpa and scored a 19 on his ACT tests.

PMHS Coach Dodd Lee encouraged the students to stay involved. He explained to the children that his hard- hitting team must not only participate on the field but in the classroom as well. “If my guys are not in school they can’t practice and if they don’t practice they can’t play on Friday night,” Lee said.

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“Students need to be in school every day to succeed. They need to be on time, and it is critical that they stay in school for the full day,” said Pamela Pigott, West Side principal.

Stacey Shaw, West Side librarian, would like to see the local businesses in Picayune get involved in encouraging students to come to school. “We would like our businesses to help us encourage our kids to come to school by helping us offer them incentives for being here,” said Shaw. “As a school, during the next eight weeks we are rewarding our students who have good attendance with special fun days like Crazy Hat Day or Silly Sock Day, but the catch is the students have to be in school that whole week to be able to participate.”

The teachers and staff at West Side hope that this special emphasis on school attendance will help both parents and students recognize the importance of being in school on a regular basis.