Local foundation helps PMHS
Published 7:00 am Friday, August 21, 2015
In March of this year, a committee was formed in Picayune designed to support both academic and non-academic activities at Picayune Memorial High School.
It’s called the Maroon Tide Nation Foundation and it comprises local business owners, civic leaders and some school personnel, MTNF Vice-President Clyde Dease said. PMHS Athletics Director Walt Esslinger serves as president.
“We wanted to take a look at what we could do to support the school system,” Dease said. “We noted things that needed help, including new turf for the football field. There have been budget cuts the last few years and we are looking at ways to maintain our schools.”
Dease is no stranger to PMHS, having taught physics, chemistry and biology during his tenure as an instructor. He also started the first PMHS tennis team, which he coached, along with basketball.
When he left teaching, he moved on to NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center, where he developed satellite sensors and remote sensing applications. He also managed the calibration and standards laboratory.
He is now retired, but still active in many community activities, including serving as president of the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation.
“LPRVF is a health legacy foundation and our primary mission is to support the health and welfare of the community and inspire philanthropy,” Dease said. “I am primarily motived to inspire people to make our community better, thereby making our state and world better.”
MTNF’s first major project was the installation of artificial turf at the football field, Dease said. Funding for the renovations came through donations from the public, he said. They are also selling business advertisements, which will be displayed at the PMHS field and stadium.
“The response thus far has been overwhelming and we are excited about our possibilities that lay ahead,” he said.
In the near future, the group anticipates supporting projects for the science and drama clubs, show choir and band competitions, Dease said.
“We also want to bring in educational speakers that might be able to introduce the students to technology and art,” he said.
Community members are welcome to join and they are looking for as many contributors as they can get, Dease said.
MTNF meetings are normally held quarterly and during times of activities, such as replacing the field, they occur more often, Dease said.
“I believe that the work we do with our kids is the most significant effort that we can do to promote and secure our future success,” Dease said. “The MTNF is expected to pay huge dividends for Picayune and its school district for many years.”
For more information about MTNF contact Dease at 601-916-0442 or Esslinger at 601-916-1538.