School year nears end, students recognized

Published 2:34 pm Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Some came to serenade school board members and others to tell them of awards received, as the school board for the Picayune Municipal Separate School District recognized some of the district’s students.

The board opened its noon meeting on Tuesday by being serenaded by students from West Side Elementary School, accompanied on the keyboard by music teacher Cathy Henley. The board then recognized elementary regional science fair winners, and the high school drama group High Tide Productions, which told of a prestigious international invitation it had received to perform.

Of 76 elementary students from four district elementary schools who qualified to participate in the regional science fair in Hattiesburg, 15 placed from 2nd place to 6th place in various categories.

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Picayune Memorial High School’s High Tide Productions was the only school drama group in the state, of the 28 that sought an invitation, to be invited to an international arts and drama festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Drama teacher and coach Bill Rester said the group won’t be able to make the trip because of its cost — $6,000 per student plus the cost of shipping all their props and costumes.

After introducing his troupe to the board, Rester said that over the past three years, students graduating from his program have been offered $29,000 in scholarships to attend college to study drama. One of his students, Hannah Nunez, said her participation in drama helped her gain the confidence to talk with those to whom she had to apply to attend Harvard University.

Nunez, who also is a Tide track star was a county Junior Miss contestant, said that participating in High Tide as well in as other organizations also helped in her being accepted as a student at Harvard.

High Tide members Jana Barkley and Ashlyn Watts, who both graduate Thursday night, have accepted scholarships at William Carey College to study drama.

Those students who placed in the elementary regional science fair were: From Nicholson, Zeke Tatum, Dylan Mitchell, Edgar Barajas, Hope Dabrovolskis, Jeremy Thorman, Joshua Snider, Hayden Walker and Alexis Howard; from Roseland Park, Veronica Lord and Annastacia Flores; from South Side Lower, Timothy Thompson and Ashlyn Wilson, and from West Side Elementary, Andrew Nail, Malik Williams and Alyssa Pinero.

During his report to the board, Superintendent Dean Shaw said 207 students will graduate at 7 p.m. Thursday at the stadium. He also informed the board that graduates were awarded about $700,000 in scholarships during awards’ ceremonies Monday night. Valedictorian is Zachery Norton and Salutatorian is Andrew Williiams IV.

In other business, the board:

— Approved minutes of the May 10 meeting.

— Approved personnel matters.

— Approved selling two trucks for scrap metal, bids on cutting the timber on the Pine Grove 16th section, another 16th section matter and advertising for bids for waste disposal services.

— Approved consent items.

— Approved student release/acceptance requests.

— Approved professional services agreements with JBHM Education Group.

— Approved bus turnarounds.

— Approved Miss. School Boards Assoc.. membership dues.

— Approved psychometric fees.

— Approved calendar revisions.

— Approved clinical observation by PRCC nursing students.

— Approved an Adult Basic Education grant of $88,114.

— Approved the first reading of five policies and the first reading of revisions to six policies, all stemming from the legislative session.

— Approved the consolidated federal programs application and statement of assurances.

— Approved purchasing Pride of the Tide performance uniforms.

— Approved helping to pay for AP exams for students.

— Approved dual enrollment for college credit and high school credit for the World History class at PMHS.

— Approved requests to use facilities.

— Went into executive session on student discipline, on a real estate offer and on a personnel matter.