Hometown Rankin - December 2017 & January 2018

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volume 4 number 6<br />

december <strong>2017</strong><br />

A Story of Being<br />

_______________<br />

Mississippi’s First Lady<br />

_______________<br />

The Priceless Gift

2 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 3

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8 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong><br />


<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 9

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<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 11

During the holiday season, our thoughts turn gratefully to those who have<br />

made our success possible. We’re thankful for every advertiser<br />

and every reader who continue to give us purpose each day.<br />

It is in that spirit that we say thank you and best wishes for the holidays.<br />

Merry Christmas<br />

and Happy New Year<br />

from the staff of<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> Magazines.<br />

12 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>


Tahya A. Dobbs<br />

CFO<br />

Kevin W. Dobbs<br />


Mary Ann Kirby<br />


Dacia Durr Amis<br />

Karla Johnson<br />

Carrie Truhett<br />


Camille Anding<br />

April Carter<br />

Mary Ann Kirby<br />

Ken Sandridge<br />


Othel Anding<br />


Ashleigh Coleman<br />


Alisha Floyd<br />


Brenda McCall<br />


Leah Mitchener<br />


Daniel Thomas - 3dt<br />

• • •<br />

The glitter and glitz are sparkling in the shop windows and I’m thinking the Christmas spirit is on its<br />

way to our own hometown. And what a special hometown <strong>Rankin</strong> County is for the Christmas spirit!<br />

If we exert a little extra effort and accompany it with an added portion of thoughtfulness, the<br />

Christmas spirit could only enhance an already special place.<br />

Shopping with local businesses could encourage them and keep sales tax working in our local<br />

municipality. It’s a win-win for our hometown.<br />

The Christmas spirit could lift the spirits of neighbors and friends who might be a part of the large<br />

number of people finding Christmas a lonely time. Why not share a serving of your blessings with<br />

someone who needs a thoughtful gesture? The blessing always comes back to the one doing the blessing.<br />

That same Christmas spirit would appreciate families making together-time a priority. Everyone<br />

knows how Christmas activities can keep us running and actually rob us of family time. It’s a challenge<br />

to prioritize calendar scheduling, but it’s doable.<br />

Finally, enjoy the spirit of Christmas throughout the <strong>December</strong><br />

days before Christmas Eve. Take time each day to celebrate the most<br />

significant birth ever accomplished. Make special memories as you<br />

create your own advent calendar.<br />

And lest we forget Thanksgiving! We at <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> list you,<br />

our readers and our advertisers, on our list of things to be thankful for.<br />

Thank you! May we all celebrate our blessed holidays<br />

in the giving spirit!<br />

On the cover: First Lady Deborah Bryant, Photography by Othel Anding<br />

www.facebook.com<br />

/hometownrankinmagazine<br />

For subscription information<br />

visit www.htmags.com<br />

Contact us at info@HTMags.com<br />

601.706.4059<br />

26 Eastgate Drive, Suite F<br />

Brandon MS 39042<br />

• • •<br />

All rights reserved. No portion of <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong><br />

may be reproduced without written permission from<br />

the publisher. The management of <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong><br />

is not responsible for opinions expressed by its<br />

writers or editors. <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> maintains the<br />

unrestricted right to edit or refuse all submitted<br />

material. All advertisements are subject to approval by<br />

the publisher. The production of <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong><br />

is funded by advertising.<br />

In this issue A Story of Being . . . . . . . . . . . 16<br />

Christmas Wonderland . . . . . . . . 22<br />

Tchaikovsky on Pointe . . . . . . . 28<br />

Mississippi’s First Lady . . . . 32<br />

Christmas in Dixie . . . . . . . . . . 62<br />

The Choir Guy . . . . . . . . . . . . 80<br />

That One Thing . . . . . . . . . . . . 88<br />

The Priceless Gift . . . . . . . . . . . 94<br />

Business in the Classroom . . . . . . . 102<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 13


Veterans Day Ceremony<br />

November 10 / Miskelly Furniture<br />

14 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

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601.850.9103 • www.focusfitms.com<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 15

16 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

For as long as Mary Neese can remember,<br />

her husband, Shelby, has been passionate about<br />

ministry – always to the poorest and the least.<br />

When he was on staff in Montgomery, Alabama,<br />

his being passionate about ministry and sharing<br />

the Gospel always translated into going to the<br />

poorest and neediest section of town.<br />

A ministry move in 1989 to the original<br />

Pinelake Church as minister of music and<br />

missions only increased that passion. When<br />

his workload outgrew the hours in a day, he had<br />

to make a choice between the two. He chose<br />

missions as his ministry theme for life.<br />

Now he was able to concentrate more on<br />

his mission trips north of Nairobi, Africa, and<br />

increase his home church involvement among<br />

the Cushite people groups. The missionary<br />

family living in the village of Marsabit was<br />

reaching retirement age and asked Shelby to<br />

consider a three-year commitment to continue<br />

their work.<br />

Shelby asked Mary to pray about it. Their<br />

son and daughter were both married and were<br />

starting their own homes. The timing was perfect.<br />

After a second year of more earnest prayer,<br />

Mary felt God’s call, too. That’s when Shelby<br />

told her he had already signed them up for the<br />

three year commitment from 2009 to 2012!<br />

In those three years, the Neeses learned<br />

about being faithful and being strong. Shelby<br />

said, “The Cushites were probably the most<br />

remote and neglected people in the world.”<br />

Their retiring missionary friends described the<br />

challenge, “Marsabit was 100 miles past the<br />

Great Commission!”<br />

Through the physical ministry of helping<br />

the Cushites find clean water and dig nearby<br />

wells, the Neeses built relationships that allowed<br />

them to share Christ’s “living water.” As Mary<br />

explained, “You can’t tell them about Jesus<br />

when they’re starving physically.”<br />

When the three-year commitment was<br />

completed, the Neeses’ world had changed.<br />

Shelby had worked to exhaustion, they were<br />

grandparents to two grandchildren that they<br />

hadn’t seen, and Shelby’s mother in Florida<br />

was extremely ill.<br />

Reunions, family care, school teaching for<br />

Mary and interim pastorates for Shelby filled<br />

their new lifestyles. Their son, who was in<br />

construction, had two building sites in Starkville<br />

that Shelby was also able to help oversee.<br />

On <strong>January</strong> 26, 2016, Shelby was in the<br />

attic of one of the two-story homes and fell<br />

through the sheetrock of both ceilings onto the<br />

concrete floor below. He has no recollection of<br />

how he fell.<br />

A Story<br />

OF Being<br />

Camille Anding<br />

Coincidentally, the owner of the house<br />

being built, a professor at Mississippi State, was<br />

suddenly so compelled to go to his new home<br />

that he left his office midday. When he got to<br />

the construction site, Shelby lay unconscious,<br />

bleeding from his nose and ears.<br />

After being rushed to the Tupelo trauma<br />

center, Shelby was treated for internal bleeding,<br />

a cracked skull and bruised spinal stem. From<br />

<strong>January</strong> 26 to June 12, he was in hospitals in<br />

Tupelo, Jackson, and Atlanta.<br />

Since then, the Neeses have learned about<br />

being patient. Shelby had to learn to walk and<br />

read again. He sees double without special<br />

glasses and still finds balance an issue that<br />

impedes his want-to-be speed. His lack of<br />

stamina confines him to limited activity, but<br />

he’s grateful to friends who introduced him<br />

to trikes – three-wheeled exercise vehicles that<br />

he rides near the Reservoir most days.<br />

The prayer room in their new home holds<br />

memorabilia from Africa and friendships in<br />

years of ministry. “I’m still an ordained minister,<br />

and retirement is not in my vocabulary, so<br />

I believe I can still do something for the<br />

Kingdom,” Shelby says with fervor. Part of<br />

his new ministry is praying for others and<br />

writing truths that God opens up to him<br />

during his daily studies. Shelby describes his<br />

new lifestyle as “getting to be with Him more<br />

and in knowing Him better, becoming more<br />

like Him.”<br />

In the peacefulness of their den, Shelby<br />

walked slowly to the piano and began to play.<br />

He hopes his left hand dexterity will return as<br />

before the accident, but with his heart and his<br />

hands, he played “Near to the Heart of God.”<br />

It was a musical testimony of where Mary<br />

and Shelby Neese are and where they are<br />

preparing to stay. Mary smiled as she listened<br />

to her husband’s miracle music. “God is not<br />

finished. The story is not over. We are just<br />

‘being prepared.’” n<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 17

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18 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 19

<strong>Rankin</strong> County<br />

Republican Women<br />

Salute to<br />

Women<br />

Leaders<br />

OCTOBER 11<br />


20 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 21

22 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

55 Days of Unforgettable Memories<br />

Ken Sandridge<br />

Holiday memory-making in Mississippi<br />

usually doesn’t include ice - unless, of<br />

course, it’s the ice in a glass of sweet tea.<br />

However, thanks to the vision of local U.S.<br />

96.3 radio celebrity and Big South Events<br />

partner, Scott Steele, Central Mississippi<br />

families will enjoy over 55 days of<br />

unforgettable memories on ice beginning<br />

November 12 during Steele’s event titled,<br />

Christmas Wonderland.<br />

Describing the nearly two-month<br />

long event as an ice skating, ice sliding<br />

extravaganza, Steele and his partners<br />

are ensuring skating and sliding fun -<br />

rain or shine - by holding the event in a<br />

giant 30,000 square foot tent filled with<br />

thousands of Christmas lights and<br />

decorations in the parking lot of<br />

Mississippi Braves stadium in Pearl.<br />

“Actually, the great memories my<br />

children and I had at the ice rink held in<br />

Madison a few years back,” Steele said,<br />

“were the inspiration for Christmas<br />

Wonderland.” “As my partners and I began<br />

developing the Christmas Wonderland<br />

concept, we knew we had to find a way<br />

to keep Mother Nature from shutting<br />

down the fun,” Steele said in referring to the<br />

more than 20 days of rain that prevented<br />

skating at the Madison event in 2013.<br />

“So, holding Christmas Wonderland in<br />

a massive tent was our only option,”<br />

he added. “If not for the underwriting<br />

commitments of our title sponsor, Merit<br />

Health, as well as other generous<br />

supporters like Outlets of Mississippi,<br />

BankPlus, and Coca-Cola,” Steele explained,<br />

“there would have been no way to bring<br />

an event of this magnitude to the Metro<br />

Jackson area.” Steele also praised Pearl<br />

Mayor Jake Windham and the businesses<br />

and organizations in the area for their<br />

support of the project - including the host<br />

venue Mississippi Braves, Bass Pro Shop,<br />

Holiday Inn, and Cavender’s.<br />

One of the nation’s most experienced<br />

providers of portable ice rink venues,<br />

internationally acclaimed Magic Ice USA,<br />

was tapped to develop and install the<br />

Christmas Wonderland ice rink and ice<br />

slide. In addition to a nearly 8,000 square<br />

foot ice rink, Christmas Wonderland will<br />

feature a double ice slide appropriately<br />

titled, The Arctic Blast, where two sliders<br />

climb stairs to the top of a 20-foot high<br />

ice-tower before zooming down a 120-foot<br />

long run of ice to the bottom of the run.<br />

As a bonus for younger children who<br />

may find it slightly challenging to navigate<br />

the ice rink and slide, Steele and partners<br />

also designed a kid-friendly area with an<br />

assortment of inflatables that will include<br />

a huge 22-foot high triple slide that gives<br />

even the youngest event-goers thrills<br />

galore.<br />

“Speaking of kids,” Steele continued,<br />

“we have a ton of things planned to make<br />

the event especially exciting for them<br />

during the Christmas season. For instance,<br />

moms and dads can have their children<br />

be a part of several Breakfast with Santa<br />

dates where the kids will actually have<br />

breakfast and visit with St. Nick himself -<br />

along with filling out their wish-list and<br />

dropping it in his big red bag!”<br />

“Birthday parties at Christmas Wonderland<br />

are another opportunity,” he added.<br />

We have already booked a ton of<br />

children’s birthday parties, which include<br />

skating, sliding and bouncing in the<br />

inflatables area!”<br />

“And not to be outdone by things for<br />

the kiddos,” he remarked, “Christmas<br />

Wonderland makes the perfect venue for<br />

Christmas gatherings of all kinds - including<br />

company, church, and other types of group<br />

and organizational gatherings!”<br />

Throughout the nearly eight-week long<br />

event, there will be a variety of local and<br />

regional concerts and entertainment<br />

appearing daily on the BankPlus Stage -<br />

ranging from church and school choirs to<br />

professional entertainers.<br />

“Almost everyone has a favorite<br />

Christmas memory,” Steele added. “This<br />

year, we’re confident Christmas Wonderland<br />

will become that magical place where<br />

friends and families celebrate the season<br />

and make memories that last a lifetime.”<br />

Christmas Wonderland will operate daily<br />

beginning November 12 thru <strong>January</strong> 6,<br />

10am - 11pm Monday thru Thursday, and<br />

12 noon - 11pm Friday thru Sunday.<br />

For more information call 601-212-8810,<br />

email info@bigsouthevents.net, or visit<br />

www.christmaswonderland.ms or<br />

Facebook.com/ChristmasWonderlandMS.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 23

24 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

©2014 Ergon, Inc. All rights reserved.<br />

ergon.com<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 25

26 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

SMILE<br />

www.drsarahlangston.com<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 27

28 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

Leah Mitchener<br />

Tchaikovsky on Pointe<br />

“It is such a Christmas tradition that the holidays just aren’t<br />

complete without seeing a live performance of The Nutcracker,”<br />

said Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet Artistic Director Jennifer<br />

Beasley. Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker is perhaps one of the<br />

most well-known Christmas-themed dance performances in<br />

the world, and has been for over one hundred years. The<br />

Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet will be putting on their 25th<br />

annual production of this beloved story on <strong>December</strong> 9th and<br />

10th. “It’s a multi-generational experience. Grandparents down<br />

to grandchildren come, and they come every year,” Jennifer<br />

added. “It’s a tradition that we’re honored to uphold for these<br />

families. I think that’s what keeps us doing it year after year.”<br />

The dancers of the Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet Company<br />

put in a lot of time and effort to make sure the show will<br />

continuously be better than the year before. This traditional<br />

Christmas performance is the only one each year that allows<br />

the young students of the Academy (the official school of the<br />

Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet), to audition for walk-on parts<br />

to get some stage experience under their tutus and to fill<br />

supporting roles.<br />

Auditions were held all the way back at the beginning of<br />

September, and the dancers have been rehearsing tirelessly ever<br />

since. Joining the company of over 100 local dancers will be<br />

professional guest performers Joseph Gatti, a USA IBC bronze<br />

medalist, and Ashley Ellis, principal dancer for the Boston Ballet,<br />

as well as other professional performers. And while the company<br />

is comprised of dancers from all over the surrounding Jackson<br />

areas, many hail from our very own <strong>Rankin</strong> County. These<br />

dancers have had the opportunity to train at one of two Academy<br />

locations in either Madison or at the Reservoir.<br />

Performer Mattie Grace Morris loves the Nutcracker<br />

because, “it is a tradition that always helps our community get<br />

into the Christmas spirit.” She is especially excited this year to<br />

perform one of her favorite roles as the Arabian soloist. Her<br />

classmate, Anna Claire Nelson, is also thrilled about being able<br />

to show her family, friends, and the community the beautiful<br />

production that they’ve been working so hard on.<br />

This will be Taylor Binkley’s ninth Nutcracker performance.<br />

As her favorite production each year, Taylor is, “excited about<br />

getting to perform for everyone in the audience because it brings<br />

so many different people so much joy,” and that is exactly why<br />

she loves the art of dance. Similarly, Rachel Lehman is especially<br />

enthusiastic for this year’s Nutcracker because, according to her,<br />

now that she’s older, things are more serious in her dancing life,<br />

and the Nutcracker is a big opportunity! Having such traditional<br />

performances in these young dancer’s repertoires is sure to help<br />

them go far in their artistic careers.<br />

The Nutcracker is an institution in the world of dancing.<br />

These young artists have dedicated much of their spare time to<br />

perfecting every pirouette, plié, adagio, and countless other<br />

graceful movements in order to give family, friends, and the<br />

community an unforgettable performance.<br />

This is a can’t-miss event, so be sure to get your tickets today<br />

and definitely stick around after the matinees for the “Nutcracker<br />

Sweet” tea parties catered by Table 100. Also, mark your calendars<br />

for the Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet’s spring performance of<br />

Fairy Tale Favorites, featuring selections from the company’s<br />

favorite and most well-received ballets including Beauty and the<br />

Beast, Frozen, The Little Mermaid, and Princess and the Pea! It will be<br />

sure to please the whole family. n<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 29

30 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>



808 LAKE HARBOUR DRIVE // RIDGELAND // 601.856.0789<br />


©2016 BUFFALO WILD WINGS, INC. BWW2016-4063<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 31

Mississippi’s<br />

First Lady<br />

Upon first meeting her, one<br />

might notice her infectious<br />

laughter and bright eyes.<br />

She greets everyone<br />

enthusiastically and treats<br />

them as if she’s always<br />

known them. Deborah Bryant<br />

seems to have an endless<br />

supply of energy and has<br />

served our state with<br />

compassion and joy—<br />

and we were honored to<br />

have the opportunity to<br />

get to know her in a more<br />

personal way.<br />

32 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> What do you do to relax and clear<br />

your mind of hectic, demanding schedules?<br />

Mrs. Bryant Mow grass at our land in the country.<br />

A zero turn mower has always been on my<br />

bucket list. I finally got one!<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> Give us a brief background of your<br />

childhood - parents, siblings, and home-life.<br />

Mrs. Bryant I grew up in West Jackson with<br />

my mom and dad and two brothers and two<br />

sisters. It was the best of times, when we could<br />

play outside all day long and early into the<br />

night, and our parents never worried about<br />

our safety.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> What’s your favorite room in the<br />

Governor’s Mansion?<br />

Mrs. Bryant I love all the rooms in the<br />

Governor’s Mansion; but if I had to choose<br />

one, I guess it would be the front Rose Parlor.<br />

We don’t really spend much private time in<br />

the historical side, but one of my favorite<br />

memories was sitting in that room with my<br />

granddaughter in front of the Christmas tree<br />

singing to her. She was mesmerized by the<br />

pink chandelier and the large decorated<br />

Christmas tree.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> Can you name a standout guest among<br />

the dignitaries that you’ve hosted in the mansion?<br />

Mrs. Bryant Justice Antonin Scalia. He had been<br />

hunting with Phil the day before and really<br />

loved the whole Mississippi experience.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> Take us through a buffet of your all-time<br />

favorite foods.<br />

Mrs. Bryant Fried chicken and vegetables. A good<br />

old southern meal. We normally have only<br />

lunch prepared so we make the most of it.<br />

Governor’s Mansion Photos: Ashleigh Coleman<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> What’s a concern of the governor that<br />

you wish you could convey to the citizens of Mississippi?<br />

Mrs. Bryant All children that are in need,<br />

especially those in foster care. I know his<br />

concern for the issues like none other.<br />

He really cares.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 33

34 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> What’s your biggest burden<br />

concerning our state?<br />

Mrs. Bryant Public education. I’ve read books in<br />

at least one school in every county, and I’ve<br />

seen the challenges we have across our state.<br />

All kids should be afforded the best education<br />

they can get. It takes dedicated teachers,<br />

administrators and parents, all working<br />

together. But, we have made a difference.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> How do you maintain a positive<br />

attitude when you hear criticism of your husband?<br />

Mrs. Bryant No one knows my husband’s heart<br />

better than me and the love he has for every<br />

citizen in this state. You can never please<br />

everyone. You just have to do the best you<br />

can do and be at peace with that.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> Name three assets of our state that<br />

most outsiders don’t realize or understand.<br />

Mrs. Bryant We are the birthplace of America’s<br />

music. Most people don’t realize rock-n-roll,<br />

the blues, and country music were all created<br />

by Mississippians.<br />

Ingalls Shipyard has built 70% of America’s<br />

U. S. Navy warships. They’re the best<br />

shipbuilders in the world and help defend our<br />

freedom around the world.<br />

Mississippi has the kindest, most giving<br />

people in America. We routinely lead America<br />

in charitable giving and church attendance.<br />

Governor’s Mansion Photos: Ashleigh Coleman<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> We are told that we learn from our<br />

mistakes. Can you share a not so serious mistake or<br />

blunder that you have made as the First Lady?<br />

Mrs. Bryant When Phil first became Governor,<br />

I was really pushed out of my comfort zone<br />

with things like public speaking and changing<br />

careers (after working at St. Dominic hospital<br />

for more than 30 years). At first, I was not a<br />

very happy camper. I learned that when I<br />

started focusing on the opportunities God had<br />

in store for me and all of the wonderful people<br />

surrounding me, every day became a blessing.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 35

36 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> Do you have help with your wardrobe or<br />

are you your own consultant when it comes to “what do I wear?”<br />

Mrs. Bryant I do not have a consultant, and usually<br />

shop by myself. I like to shop locally and love to<br />

where pieces made by Mississippians.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> When the governor’s term ends,<br />

what will you miss the most?<br />

Mrs. Bryant I hope to continue reading at schools,<br />

but it will not be in 82 counties in a year. I will<br />

miss hugging all of those children the most.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> Do you remember your first official visit<br />

as First Lady to <strong>Rankin</strong> County?<br />

Mrs. Bryant We lived in <strong>Rankin</strong> County for nearly<br />

20 years. It is where we raised our children, and<br />

where we continue to attend church. I don’t<br />

know that I will ever feel “official” in a place<br />

that has been home for so long.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> What’s your favorite Christmas gift<br />

you’ve ever given and received?<br />

Mrs. Bryant Since becoming First Lady, I’ve given<br />

a cross crafted by a Mississippian each Christmas.<br />

I do this because I believe the love of Christ is<br />

the greatest gift anyone can give or receive.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> Share with us a family holiday tradition.<br />

Mrs. Bryant Every year my entire family (including<br />

my 95-year-old mother, my siblings and their<br />

families) goes to the Christmas Eve service at<br />

Van Winkle Methodist Church, where I<br />

attended church growing up, Phil and I were<br />

married there, and both of our children were<br />

baptized there. We all take communion together<br />

and then have a big dinner together, usually at<br />

my mother’s home. It is the best of times for<br />

us all. n<br />

Governor’s Mansion Photos: Ashleigh Coleman<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 37

(L-R): Karen Stockton (Oxford), Robby Carr (Madison),<br />

Warner Cannada (Highland Colony - Ridgeland),<br />

Daniel Barham (Jackson), Johnny Beck (Flowood)<br />



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38 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong><br />

17ORIGIN204_HR_HP-V_R1.indd 1<br />

7/28/17 4:27 PM

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 39

40 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>


Lieutenant Al Bounds<br />


Why did you decide to be in law<br />

enforcement?<br />

I wanted to be in law enforcement since I was a young<br />

boy. I would see officers and how they help people and<br />

keep people safe, so I wanted to do that, too.<br />

How long have you been with the <strong>Rankin</strong><br />

County Sheriff’s Department?<br />

18 rewarding years.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

I have five beautiful kids who have loved and supported<br />

me throughout my career. My oldest, Chielita, always<br />

reminds me to be careful and give my all. This is what<br />

I told her growing up. My other children, Latina, Laetta,<br />

Santantrius, and Damien, have taught me as much as<br />

I’ve taught them. It has been an extreme pleasure raising<br />

them and watching them blossom into productive<br />

members of society.<br />

What is the toughest thing you have<br />

experienced in your job?<br />

One of the toughest things I have experienced is seeing<br />

people whose circumstances have led them to cross my<br />

path as a law enforcement officer. They all have some<br />

type of unfortunate downfall in their lives that have led<br />

them to do drugs, commit crimes, and/or lose everything.<br />

It’s tough to think that I might have a part in making it<br />

worse by incarcerating them but I have always tried to<br />

help them once they were in our custody.<br />

Share some things you enjoy doing in your<br />

spare time.<br />

I love to go to church, exercise, and help others as much<br />

as I can.<br />

What are three things on your bucket list?<br />

To own my own business, see all of my grandkids<br />

graduate high school/college, and establish a fund for<br />

the rehabilitation of ex-incarcerated offenders.<br />

Who is someone you admire and why?<br />

I admire Sheriff Bryan Bailey. Throughout my career here<br />

at the sheriff’s department he has continually made me<br />

strive to be a better person and better officer. He leads<br />

by example and is always willing to help someone out.<br />

His innovations and structure for rehabilitating offenders<br />

is an extremely admirable quality and I am honored to<br />

serve under his leadership.<br />

Where do you see yourself in ten years?<br />

In ten years I see myself retired and owning a funeral home.<br />

I have been affiliated with Dean’s Funeral Home here in<br />

Brandon for 10 years. I like the care and compassion they<br />

have for the families they serve.<br />

If you could give one piece of advice<br />

to a young person, what would it be?<br />

I would advise them to respect their parents, stay in<br />

school, and get a good education. I would also advise<br />

them to stay away from drugs and to be the best person<br />

they can be.<br />

What is a favorite childhood memory?<br />

My favorite childhood memory is going to the store for<br />

my grandmother because she would allow me to get<br />

something for myself. In those days we didn’t have<br />

much–so anything outside of necessity was a treat.<br />

What is the biggest mistake you think<br />

young people make today?<br />

Not respecting authority. This includes their parents,<br />

parental figures, teachers, and law enforcement. There<br />

are too many incidences where young people are<br />

following the wrong crowd and they are getting into all<br />

the wrong situations.<br />

What is your favorite thing about<br />

<strong>Rankin</strong> County?<br />

My favorite thing about <strong>Rankin</strong> County is the feeling of<br />

family. I have prided myself on not just living in <strong>Rankin</strong><br />

County but being part of the <strong>Rankin</strong> County family. We<br />

look out for each other and help each other. I think that’s<br />

what this world needs more of and I’ve found it right here.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 41

Welcome<br />

reception<br />

Phillip Ley, M.D., FACS<br />

& Madina Dixon, CFNP<br />

Merit Health Surgical Oncology<br />

Flowood / October 12<br />

42 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 43

44 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

46 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 47

48 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong><br />

Hart & Soul<br />

October 19 / The Ivy

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 49

50 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 51

52 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

in-depth pre-employment interviews. We know our employees<br />

Compassionate,<br />

Professional Home Care<br />

Extensively screened. Carefully matched.<br />

301 New Pointe<br />

Ridgeland, MS 39157<br />

Learn more about our detailed<br />

personnel selection process by calling<br />

601-933-0037 or visiting our website.<br />

www.SouthernHealthcare.com<br />

At Southern Healthcare we evaluate our future team members<br />

with one of the industry’s most rigorous screenings, involving<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 53

R.E.A.L.<br />

Christian<br />


16TH ANNUAL<br />


DINNER<br />

OCTOBER 12<br />



54 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 55

56 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 57

58 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong><br />




Annual<br />

Haunted<br />

Halloween<br />

Trail<br />

OCTOBER 26, <strong>2017</strong><br />


<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 59

ankin<br />


Pumpkin Roll<br />

• 3 eggs<br />

• 1 cup sugar<br />

• 1 tsp lemon juice<br />

• 3/4 cup flour<br />

• 1 tsp. baking powder<br />

• 2 tsp. cinnamon<br />

• 1 tsp. ginger<br />

• 1/2 tsp. nutmeg<br />

• 1/2 tsp. salt<br />

• 1 cup nuts, chopped<br />

• 2/3 cup pumpkin powdered sugar<br />


• 1 cup powdered sugar<br />

• 8 oz. cream cheese<br />

• 4 tsp. margarine or butter<br />

• 1/2 tsp. vanilla<br />

Beat eggs at high speed for 5 minutes. Add sugar<br />

gradually. Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice. Mix<br />

all dry ingredients together in separate bowl. Add<br />

to pumpkin mixture. Mix well. Spread in greased<br />

and floured jelly roll pan. Top with nuts. Bake at<br />

375 for 15 minutes. Turn out on cloth sprinkled<br />

with powdered sugar. Start at side and roll up towel<br />

and cake. Let cool completely.<br />

Beat all filling ingredients together until smooth.<br />

Unroll the cake. Spread the filling on cake. Roll<br />

back up (without the towel). Wrap in waxed paper<br />

and then with foil. Chill. Best if prepared the day<br />

before and allowed to chill overnight. Keep<br />

refrigerated.<br />

Hershey Bar Pie<br />

• 18 to 20 large marshmallows<br />

• 7 Hershey bars with almonds<br />

• 1/3 cup milk<br />

• 16 oz. Cool Whip<br />

• 1 graham cracker crust<br />

Combine marshmallows, Hershey bars (break<br />

them into small pieces) and milk in a double boiler<br />

or microwave safe dish. Heat on low until melted.<br />

Stir until everything is combined. Add 1/2 of the<br />

Cool Whip. Mix well and spoon into graham<br />

cracker crust.<br />

Let chill for several hours. Top with the rest of the<br />

Cool Whip and shave chocolate over the top.<br />

Butterscotch<br />

Haystacks<br />

• 1-2/3 cups butterscotch morsels<br />

• 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter<br />

• 1 8.5 oz. can or 2 5 oz. cans of chow mein<br />

noodles<br />

• 3-1/2 cups miniature marshmallows<br />

Line trays with wax paper. Microwave morsels in<br />

large, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on medium<br />

high power for 1 minute; stir. The morsels may<br />

retain some of their original shape. If necessary,<br />

microwave at additional 10 to 15 second intervals,<br />

stirring just until morsels are melted. Stir in the<br />

peanut butter until well blended. Add chow mein<br />

noodles and marshmallows; toss until all ingredients<br />

are coated. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto<br />

prepared trays.<br />

You may also add a 1/2 cup of chopped nuts,<br />

either peanuts or pecans if you like.<br />

Dill Pickle Dip<br />

• 8 oz. of cream cheese, softened<br />

• Chopped dill pickles, preferably a spicy or<br />

garlic variety (about half a jar of the spears)<br />

• 1 to 2 Tbsp. of juice from the jar<br />

• 1 small sweet onion, chopped<br />

• 1 tsp garlic powder<br />

• 1 to 2 tsp of dill (fresh or dried)<br />

• Tabasco to taste (optional)<br />

Chop pickles and onion. Mix all ingredients in a<br />

large bowl. Cover and let set in refrigerator for at<br />

least two hours, preferably overnight. You may<br />

need to add a little more pickle juice if it is too<br />

thick. Serve with chips.<br />

Sweet Potato<br />

Dumplings<br />

• 1½ cups sugar<br />

• 1 Tbsp. Karo syrup<br />

(add a little more to make more syrupy)<br />

• 2 cups water<br />

• 1 stick margarine<br />

• cinnamon<br />

• 1/2 pkg. sweet potato patties<br />

(sliced yams in freezer case)<br />

• 1 can Grands flaky biscuits<br />

Mix and boil first four ingredients for 10 minutes.<br />

Add a little cinnamon. Half the biscuits and put<br />

potato patty inside. Gently pinch the edges to seal.<br />

Do not mash the top of biscuits.<br />

Place in casserole dish and pour boiled mixture<br />

over it. Bake at 375 until brown on top about 20<br />

to 25 minutes. You will have enough potato patties<br />

for two recipes if you double the other ingredients.<br />

A single batch will make 8.<br />

60 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

ankin<br />


Shrimp Scampi Dip<br />

• 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter<br />

• 8 oz. medium shrimp, peeled, deveined<br />

and roughly chopped<br />

• 4 cloves garlic, minced<br />

• 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (can add more)<br />

• 1/4 cup white wine (can use chicken stock)<br />

• 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice<br />

• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste<br />

• 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature<br />

• 1/4 cup sour cream<br />

• 3 Tbsp. mayonnaise<br />

• 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley<br />

• 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese divided<br />

• 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan<br />

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9 inch baking<br />

dish or coat with cooking spray.<br />

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.<br />

Add shrimp, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook,<br />

stirring occasionally, until pink, about 2 minutes.<br />

Stir in wine and lemon juice; add salt and pepper<br />

to taste.<br />

Bring to a simmer; remove from heat and stir in<br />

cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, parsley,<br />

1/4 cup mozzarella, and parmesan.<br />

Spread mixture into the prepared baking dish and<br />

sprinkle with remaining cup of mozzarella. Place<br />

into oven and bake until bubbly and golden, about<br />

10 to 12 minutes.<br />

Serve immediately with crackers or garlic bread.<br />

Hot Bacon<br />

& Swiss Dip<br />

• 2 8 oz. package cream cheese<br />

• 1 cup mayo<br />

• 2 cups grated Swiss cheese<br />

• 4 Tbsp. chopped green onions<br />

• 16 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled<br />

• 1 cup crushed Ritz crackers<br />

Soften cream cheese in a mixing bowl, add mayo,<br />

Swiss cheese, and green onions. Mix well. Transfer<br />

to a baking dish. Top with bacon and Ritz. Bake at<br />

350 for 15-20 minutes, or until bubbly.<br />

Macaroni & Cheese<br />

• 16 oz. pkg. elbow macaroni<br />

• 6 Tbsp. butter or margarine<br />

• 3 Tbsp. cornstarch<br />

• 3 cup milk<br />

• ½ tsp. salt<br />

• 1.2 tsp. black pepper<br />

• ¾ lb. Velveeta cheese, cubed<br />

• 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded<br />

• 1 egg<br />

Cook macaroni according to package directions,<br />

drain and set aside. In a 3 qt. saucepan over low to<br />

medium heat, melt margarine. Stir in cornstarch<br />

with a wire whisk until smooth. Gradually add<br />

milk stirring constantly until thickened. Add salt,<br />

pepper, and Velveeta until all is melted. Add 1 cup<br />

shredded cheddar. Stir until melted and remove<br />

from heat. In a separate bowl, beat egg and add<br />

¼ cup of the cheese sauce, mix well. In a 13 x 9<br />

glass dish pour in cooked macaroni. Combine the<br />

egg mixture back into the cheese sauce and mix<br />

well. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni noodles,<br />

mix well and top with remaining shredded<br />

cheddar. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 -35 minutes.<br />

Special Occasion<br />

Potatoes<br />

• 9 to 12 red potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes<br />

• 3 garlic cloves<br />

• 1 8-oz cream cheese, softened<br />

• 3 Tbsp. butter<br />

• 1/2 cup sour cream<br />

• 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided<br />

• 1 tsp. garlic powder<br />

• 1 tsp. onion powder<br />

• Salt and pepper to taste<br />

• 1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach,<br />

thawed and squeezed dry<br />

Place potatoes and garlic in a large saucepan.<br />

Add about a tsp. of salt; cover with water. Cover,<br />

and bring to a boil. Cook for 20-25 minutes or<br />

until very tender. Drain well. In a mixing bowl<br />

mash potatoes and garlic with the cream cheese<br />

and butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add<br />

sour cream, 1 cup cheddar cheese, garlic powder,<br />

onion powder and spinach. Stir just until mixed.<br />

Spread into a greased 13 x 9 casserole dish. Bake<br />

uncovered at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until<br />

heated through. Top with remaining cup of<br />

cheddar cheese and bake 5 minutes longer or<br />

until cheese melts.<br />

You can prepare this the night before and bake it<br />

right before you are ready to serve it. It will need<br />

to cook a little longer because it will be cold.<br />

Recipes submitted by Kathy Coker of Origin Bank.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 61

Christmas<br />

in Dixie<br />

That’s the theme that runs through the<br />

Christmas decorations of the recently<br />

built home of Dr. and Mrs. John Brooks.<br />

Mrs. Brooks (Teresa) is proud of her<br />

southern roots, and the flavor of the<br />

South’s cotton fields and wild game<br />

blend fashionably in each room.<br />

The Brooks’ home is designed for<br />

optimum entertaining with its space<br />

and flow. “We love to entertain,” Teresa<br />

says in describing the layout of their<br />

spacious house plan.<br />

The couple make excellent entertainers<br />

due, in part, to their obvious compatibility.<br />

They met in their 7th grade class<br />

homeroom when they attended school<br />

in Pearl. First they became good friends,<br />

and then romance followed. Marriage<br />

seemed the right choice for working<br />

together to put John through Millsaps<br />

College and med school.<br />

62 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 63

Since Teresa had her first job at age<br />

twelve in the kitchen of Beatty Street<br />

Grocery in downtown Jackson, she<br />

was groomed for a great work ethic.<br />

The young couple held down three<br />

jobs while John earned his diplomas.<br />

Today, John suits up in scrubs for his<br />

position as medical director at the<br />

Richland MEA. According to Teresa,<br />

she has the best job she’s ever had –<br />

keeping their three-year-old grandson,<br />

Kross. His parents, Brittney Brooks<br />

Emmons and Cameron, live in Brandon.<br />

The Brooks’ son, John Breland,<br />

is a senior business major at<br />

Mississippi State.<br />

Chapman’s Florist gets credit for<br />

incorporating their artistry with<br />

Teresa’s personal touch and family<br />

decoration traditions.<br />

Enjoy the images from the<br />

Brooks’ home to experience a bit<br />

of their warm and inviting intent<br />

for the Christmas celebration.<br />

64 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 65

We asked several juniors and<br />

seniors at Hartfield Academy,<br />

“What are your personal goals<br />

for <strong>2018</strong>?”<br />

Here’s what they told us:<br />

Aden Clark<br />

Maintaining a good self-character/<br />

moral standard and GPA during<br />

my first semester of college.<br />

Kaylynn Steen<br />

To keep growing academically and<br />

spiritually and start figuring out my<br />

future. As a person, I have epilepsy and<br />

I’d like to beat it! I also will continue<br />

working with the epilepsy organization.<br />

Gracee Wells<br />

To grow spiritually as I grow<br />

with my friends in faith. I pray that<br />

everything goes well for my<br />

senior year coming up.<br />

Katie Long<br />

I want to prepare for college and<br />

medical school–and I want to be a<br />

candy striper this summer at UMC.<br />

Ciera Garrett<br />

To make better grades and grow<br />

in my spiritual life. I want to gain<br />

better leadership with my peers.<br />

Baleigh Anderson<br />

To be a good leader. As an upcoming<br />

senior, I want to do what’s right for<br />

our school. I want to finish<br />

the year with A’s and B’s.<br />

Bria Thompson<br />

To be successful and prosperous<br />

when I attend college. I plan to<br />

attend college out of state and I want<br />

to excel wherever I am.<br />

Kristin Barnett<br />

Kimberlee Moore<br />

Laney Armstrong<br />

Brandon Gardner<br />

To graduate in the top two of my class<br />

and to go to one of my dream colleges.<br />

I’d like to go to University of North<br />

Carolina or an Ivy League. I want to<br />

prosper in my major and my studies.<br />

I want to be in the top 25% of my<br />

class and have all A’s my first<br />

semester of college. I’m going to<br />

Liberty University in Virginia.<br />

To graduate in the top of my class and<br />

finish my senior year strong. I also<br />

want to help others grow spiritually.<br />

My main goal is to win state<br />

championship in baseball.<br />

66 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

Eien McGee<br />

Josh Murphy<br />

Dennis Martin<br />

Nick Stinson<br />

I’m going to UT on a swimming<br />

scholarship so I want to be the<br />

best student athlete I can be.<br />

To finish my junior year strong<br />

and go into my senior year strong<br />

with a good GPA.<br />

I want to finish out the year strong<br />

and start off with a 4.0 at Ole Miss.<br />

Keep my GPA high when I graduate<br />

and go to Mississippi State<br />

and get involved there.<br />

Blake Powell<br />

Ross Gilstrap<br />

Jacob Cokely<br />

J.D. Beall<br />

To learn something new every day<br />

and to keep my grades up in college.<br />

I’m going to Mississippi State!<br />

I’d like to finish the year with<br />

a 4.0 and grow spiritually.<br />

To volunteer more in the community<br />

and to be a better friend.<br />

My goal for <strong>2018</strong> is to be in a<br />

football program that is as good<br />

athletically as they are spiritually.<br />

Oliver Adams<br />

I want to grow spiritually and<br />

academically and to do my<br />

absolute best in everything I do.<br />

Daisy DeLaughter<br />

My personal goal is to bring justice<br />

to Maria’s character in the Sound<br />

of Music. I have the lead<br />

in the spring musical.<br />

Jarod Weston<br />

Keep my grades up and get accepted<br />

to all colleges I want to go to. I’m<br />

interested in Auburn and Alabama.<br />

Jim DeLaughter<br />

High School Principal<br />

To open the new school with<br />

excitement in August <strong>2018</strong>.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 67

20th<br />

Anniversary<br />

Celebration<br />

Cookout<br />

Community Bank<br />

Brandon<br />

68 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>


Faith N Candy<br />

Southern Raised<br />

McClain Catering<br />

The Beach Look<br />

O! How Cute<br />

Cricket Wireless<br />

Miss Priss<br />

Vintiques<br />

Sombra<br />

Amerigo<br />

Factory Connection<br />

AllyOops<br />

Cobo's<br />

Chapman's Florist<br />

* %<br />

*<br />

For more information, call the <strong>Rankin</strong> County Chamber at<br />

(601) 825-2268 or email mbilello@rankinchamber.com

70 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 71

An<br />

Interest<br />

in<br />

Pinterest<br />

It wasn’t until<br />

we saw it on<br />

Pinterest that we<br />

ever considered<br />

using grandma’s<br />

vintage silver<br />

tureen and<br />

putting a fern in it!<br />

So just in time<br />

for the holidays,<br />

we’ve curated<br />

some of our<br />

favorite decorating<br />

inspiration images<br />

and put them<br />

here for you.<br />

Be creative!<br />

Shop your own<br />

cupboards and<br />

storage chests.<br />

Find new life<br />

for things you<br />

already have.<br />

And most of all,<br />

have fun.<br />

Happy Holidays!<br />

72 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 73



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grades K3-12th?<br />

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ENROLLMENT BEGINS FEB. 1, <strong>2018</strong>.<br />


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74 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 75

Teach the Children<br />

Author Unknown<br />

Just a week before Christmas I had a visitor. This is how it happened. I<br />

just finished the household chores for the night and was preparing to<br />

go to bed when I heard a noise in the front of the house. I opened the<br />

door to the front room, and to my surprise, Santa himself stepped out<br />

next to the fireplace.<br />

"What are you doing?" I started to ask him. The words caught in my<br />

throat as I saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was<br />

gone. Gone was the eager boisterous soul we all know. He then<br />

answered me with a simple statement . . .<br />

“teach the children.”<br />

He then pulled out from his bag an ornament of himself. “Teach<br />

the children that I, Santa Claus, merely symbolize the generosity and<br />

good will we feel during the month of <strong>December</strong>.”<br />

He reached in again and pulled out a holly leaf. “Teach the<br />

children the holly plant represents immortality. It represents the<br />

crown of thorns worn by our Savior. The red holly berries represent<br />

blood shed by Him.”<br />

Next he pulled out a gift from the bag and said, "Teach the<br />

children that God so loved the world that He gave His only<br />

begotten Son. Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.”<br />

I was puzzled. What did he mean? He anticipated my question, and<br />

with one quick movement brought forth a miniature toy bag from<br />

behind the tree. As I stood there bewildered, Santa said, “Teach the<br />

Children. Teach them the old meaning of Christmas—the meaning that<br />

now-a-day Christmas has forgotten.”<br />

Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a fir tree and<br />

placed it in front of the hearth. “Teach the children that the pure green<br />

color of the stately fir tree remains green all year round, depicting the<br />

everlasting hope of mankind. All the needles point heavenward,<br />

making it a symbol of man's thoughts turning toward heaven.”<br />

He again reached into his bag and pulled out a brilliant star.<br />

“Teach the children that the star was the heavenly sign of promises<br />

long ago. God promised a Savior for the world, and the star was the<br />

sign of fulfillment of that promise.”<br />

He then reached into the bag and pulled out a candle. “Teach the<br />

children that the candle symbolizes that Christ is the light of the world,<br />

and when we see this great light we are reminded of He who displaces<br />

the darkness.”<br />

Once again he reached into his bag and removed a wreath and<br />

placed it on the tree. “Teach the children that the wreath symbolizes<br />

the eternal nature of love. Real love never ceases. Love is one continuous<br />

round of affection.”<br />

Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a candy<br />

cane and hung it on the tree. “Teach the children that<br />

the candy cane represents the shepherd's crook. The<br />

crook on the shepherd's staff helps bring back sheep<br />

that have strayed from the flock. The candy cane is the<br />

symbol that we are our brother's keeper.”<br />

He reached in again and pulled out an angel<br />

“Teach the children that it was the angels that heralded<br />

in the glorious news of the Savior's birth. The angels sang<br />

‘Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, and good will<br />

toward men.’”<br />

Suddenly I heard a soft tinkling sound, and from his bag he<br />

pulled out a bell. “Teach the children that as the lost sheep<br />

are found by the sound of the bell, it should ring mankind to<br />

the fold. The bell symbolizes guidance and return.”<br />

Santa looked at the tree and was pleased. He looked<br />

back at me and I saw the twinkle was back in his<br />

eyes. He said, "Remember, teach the children the<br />

true meaning of Christmas, and not to put me in<br />

the center, for I am but a humble servant of the<br />

One who is, and I bow down and worship Him,<br />

our lord, our god."<br />

76 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> Brookhaven <strong>Rankin</strong> • 77 13

Richland-Florence Garden Club<br />

Blue Star Memorial<br />

Dedication Ceremony for Veterans<br />


78 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 79

Choir<br />

The<br />

Guy Camille Anding<br />

“It was my dream to be<br />

governor of Mississippi,”<br />

Lavon Gray declared from behind his desk on the third floor of First Baptist Church<br />

Jackson. It was so much a plan for his future that after graduating from Mendenhall<br />

High School, he enrolled in Co-Lin Junior College to pursue a political science degree.<br />

By the time he finished Co-Lin and entered the University of Southern Mississippi,<br />

he relinquished his own plans for his life to follow God’s gentle but persistent leading<br />

into music ministry.<br />

80 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

Photos: Judy & Lane Rushing<br />

His preacher friends encouraged him to stick with<br />

completing his political science degree because they assured<br />

him he would never be able to make a living doing church<br />

music. Gray heeded their advice and got the political science<br />

degree but continued to follow his call by entering New<br />

Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. From there he earned<br />

his Ph.D. at Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth.<br />

After serving in churches in Mississippi, Texas, and South<br />

Carolina, he accepted the minister of music position at FBC<br />

Jackson in 2001. For the past thirteen years he’s led in<br />

worship in front of a 300-voice choir (when all are present).<br />

Plans are going forward to renovate the choir space to hold<br />

an additional thirty to forty members.<br />

When asked about his favorite part of being minister<br />

of music, he didn’t hesitate: “I’m a people person; I love<br />

people and building relationships with them. And secondly,<br />

I love leading worship on Sunday mornings.” With the<br />

unusual experience of serving with three pastors plus<br />

interims in his thirteen years at FBC, Gray’s sense of<br />

humor speaks, “Everyone may not like me, but I am a<br />

consistent presence!”<br />

The meetings that are a necessary part of the music<br />

calendar are his least favorite part of the ministry, but how<br />

else does one involve and delegate 800 volunteers in the<br />

annual church Christmas program, Carols by Candlelight?<br />

Fifteen thousand tickets have already been given out for<br />

this year’s musical theme, Love Came to Me, scheduled for<br />

<strong>December</strong> 14-17.<br />

Larry Black, a former minister of music, began “Carols”<br />

in 1971. His choir of twenty grew to one hundred by the<br />

first performance. Dr. Gray gives Black credit for the music<br />

foundation that he left for his successors.<br />

Gray’s customary smile turns to laughter when he recalls<br />

glitches in the performances. In 1988, because of church<br />

renovation, the presentation was relocated to the coliseum for<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 81

82 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

Photos: Judy & Lane Rushing<br />

that year. Live animals are never used in the sanctuary,<br />

but for the coliseum “Carols,” it was the perfect opportunity<br />

to use them. Humphrey, the camel, was rented so one of<br />

the wise men could ride aloft him to the manger scene.<br />

Humphrey overreacted either from the crowds or stage<br />

fright and took the first exit out after entering – along<br />

with his wise man. Theirs was a brief exposure.<br />

Another time, Gray realized within moments of the<br />

overture that his music was upstairs on his desk. Ava Hart,<br />

pianist and music assistant, rushed to his office to retrieve<br />

his music. On another occasion a stage crew member crawled<br />

in guerrilla warfare style beneath Gray’s podium to handdeliver<br />

a message.<br />

The “Carol” glitches are seldom in the presentations that<br />

are spectacular with a dedication to sharing the Gospel. The<br />

labor of love begins in <strong>January</strong> with the meeting of thirty key<br />

leaders who volunteer to cover all areas of the production.<br />

February is take-a-breath month. March is for theme<br />

selection; April, May and June are song selections months.<br />

Orders are made in July and rehearsals begin in August.<br />

Lavon, as most members call him, has always been at<br />

home in his musical world. His mother, the church pianist,<br />

eloped when she was fourteen. A year later Lavon was<br />

born, and one week after that his grandfather carried him<br />

to church to have their pastor dedicate the future minister.<br />

“I’ve not missed much church,” Lavon added.<br />

He remembers family reunions with his mother on the<br />

piano, his dad playing guitar along with more guitar-playing<br />

cousins and kin. “We might start out with Johnny Cash and<br />

Hank Williams songs, but we would always end up singing<br />

gospel music.”<br />

When away from the church, his greatest enjoyment is<br />

his family. His wife of twenty-nine years, Wendy, is mother<br />

to their three daughters, Kayla, Lizzie, and Katibeth – all<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 83

homeschooled. “I was the principal,” Lavon says with<br />

a laugh. Their two oldest daughters are married, and<br />

ten-year-old Katibeth has been and is their “back side<br />

blessing.” A recent grandson, Grayson, has given the<br />

Grays a new favorite title.<br />

On Thursday nights Lavon reaches for his striped shirt<br />

and whistle to referee junior college football games. Sports<br />

officiating for the past thirty years is another favorite<br />

pastime of the multi-faceted minister.<br />

Humility is a recognizable trait in Dr. Gray when he<br />

speaks of his limited ability in music while praising the<br />

talents and gifts of his choir, staff, and network of volunteers.<br />

He also gives much credit to his administrative assistant,<br />

Terry Sims, a fellow laborer for forty years in the music<br />

department.<br />

He refers to himself as a sophisticated redneck from<br />

Simpson County and whose favorite hymn is ”Victory in<br />

Jesus.” “I’ve never been the most talented; I’m not the greatest<br />

musician, but God has given me the ability to be a great<br />

minister of music. I guess I’m just a choir guy,” he says<br />

with his down-to-earth charisma.<br />

Then he adds, “I’m just so honored to lead here.” For the<br />

vast majority of all who will hear the sounds of Carols by<br />

Candlelight this Christmas, their response with emotions and<br />

hearts brimming will be, “You didn’t need to be governor.” n<br />

84 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

Photos: Judy & Lane Rushing<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 85

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86 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 87

88 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong><br />

That One Thing

Mary Ann Kirby<br />

In light of the recent flooding in Houston and wildfires in California,<br />

where people were literally forced from their homes with only what<br />

they could carry, and no time to spare, I considered the daunting task<br />

of having to decide, what does one take in that situation knowing<br />

that a complete loss was imminent? What is that one thing you<br />

couldn’t leave behind?<br />

Asked that question in two different decades and my answer might<br />

be drastically different.<br />

In my 20s, I would have been most concerned with my shoes and<br />

clothes. My purse collection, makeup, and favorite leather bomber<br />

jacket with fur trim would have all made the list, too. To this twentysomething<br />

year old, “stuff” was important.<br />

At fifty, my priorities have dramatically shifted. But when faced<br />

with the question about choosing what to take, I still can’t come up<br />

with a definitive answer.<br />

It’s a given that people and animals come first, so we’re going to<br />

assume that my family and dog are safely evacuated in our little pretend<br />

scenario. We’re also going to assume that we all have our phones,<br />

laptops, purses and wallets, driver’s licenses, and important documents<br />

and papers.<br />

But now comes the tough part. What non-essentials do you take?<br />

What is that one thing that you absolutely would not want to part with?<br />

I recently posed this question on social media and the responses<br />

were varied . . . and fascinating. Many of them were, understandably,<br />

about precious family photos – boxes of pictures and photo albums<br />

that have been curated, inherited, or passed along from one generation<br />

to the next, which could never be recreated. Ironically, it has been<br />

during my lifetime that many people have actually stopped printing<br />

pictures. I pause for a moment and wonder how future generations<br />

will remember us without printed evidence of our existence.<br />

Bibles ranked as a top item along with jewelry, treasured artwork,<br />

children’s blankets and hand-made family quilts. Guns and ammunition<br />

were surprisingly important to many, as well. I’d never considered the<br />

need for weapons in an evacuation-type situation, but anyone that’s<br />

ever misplaced a child’s cherished binky knows that it is worthy of<br />

being heavily guarded.<br />

So as I continued to contemplate the question at hand, my inability<br />

to easily identify what “things” I would take was becoming a source of<br />

frustration for me. I began to realize that I’m not particularly attached<br />

to anything! And don’t get me wrong, I have a safe-box and fully<br />

understand the importance of protecting certain legal documents, but<br />

it was very revealing to me that not one material possession in particular<br />

stood out as being of paramount significance.<br />

Things don’t wear matching pajamas on Christmas Eve and watch<br />

Christmas movies seen so many times that every line can practically<br />

be quoted by heart. Things didn’t cheer on our favorite kicker on the<br />

football field or feel the excitement of watching him make his first-ever<br />

field goal.<br />

Things can’t get all dressed up and take you to dinner on your<br />

birthday or celebrate when you achieve an important milestone.<br />

Things can’t reassure you when someone’s hurt your feelings.<br />

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my most<br />

prized possessions are my memories–of the life experiences and<br />

adventures shared with the people I adore most–and no box or album is<br />

big enough to contain them. They’re the people and places and feelings<br />

and moments. They’re the hugs and the smiles. And the laughter.<br />

It’s not about what we’ve bought, but what we’ve built–and no<br />

fire or flood can destroy it. And it is in that moment, the moment<br />

I was forced to articulate what it was that I actually treasured most,<br />

that I had a breakthrough and it was an amazing feeling.<br />

While it is not likely that my son can tell me a single thing he<br />

received last year for Christmas without having to really stop and think<br />

about it–he can sing every word to the family vacation song we made<br />

up while driving through the mountains six years ago. We hiked to a<br />

waterfall hidden deep in the elevations and got caught in a rainstorm<br />

on our way out. It was freezing and we were soaked to the bone . . . yet<br />

it will go down as one of the single greatest family experiences that we<br />

ever had. We were with each other, where we’re truly the most happy,<br />

and we wouldn’t have changed a thing.<br />

Experiences make for the greatest treasures. And memories.<br />

So while this exercise has come full circle and prompted some<br />

much-needed soul-searching on my part, I come away with a single,<br />

glorious realization. When the waters rise, and the flames grow near,<br />

I’m already packed. And while I’d never want to be faced with having<br />

to part with the material things that have played such an important<br />

role in creating our comforts of home and have helped to define our past,<br />

I know that as long as we have each other, everything will be alright. n<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 89

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90 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong><br />

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<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 91

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Fire Department, and Police<br />

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92 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 93

Prıceless<br />

The<br />

GiftCamille<br />

Anding<br />

Gift-giving in our hometown is fast<br />

approaching a complex undertaking due to<br />

the range of selections offered in stores,<br />

catalogues, and online. Lists are helpful as<br />

we begin our shopping campaigns, but to<br />

find that special gift that remains timeless<br />

and a treasure will always be a challenge.<br />

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could<br />

box and wrap special qualities for our gifts<br />

this Christmas? Contentment, joy, and<br />

kindness would make the list. Wisdom<br />

would also be a top choice. And here’s<br />

some good news; after just a brief time with<br />

Frank and Mary Ann Mullins of Brandon,<br />

Mississippi, I can offer an early gift of<br />

wisdom from their “storehouse.”<br />

Fifty-three years of marriage and still<br />

smiling qualifies them to share marital<br />

wisdom with other couples. Frank pledged<br />

to try to love his bride as Christ loved the<br />

church. Mary Ann realized her role as<br />

respecting her husband through the love<br />

of God.<br />

They shared some difficult times but<br />

always kept God at the center of their<br />

marriage. Whenever they had to move,<br />

finding a church and developing strong<br />

Christian friendships remained priorities.<br />

In answer to their prayers for children,<br />

God gave them three wonderful sons.<br />

Raising children is a challenging task, but<br />

the Mullins’ wisdom branched out into<br />

child-rearing, too.<br />

Frank said, “We prayed a lot!”<br />

Mary Ann nodded and added, “We<br />

also tried to take them to places and events<br />

that would nurture their spiritual lives.”<br />

The Mullins were regular chaperones<br />

with their sons’ youth groups, and their home<br />

was open to constant youth gatherings.<br />

Togetherness was a key ingredient to<br />

molding and being a model for their sons.<br />

Hugs were a daily wakeup ritual. Then<br />

everyone helped with breakfast, either in<br />

preparation or cleanup before leaving for<br />

work and school. Mary Ann shared how<br />

they kept responsibility charts during the<br />

boys’ early years. Laundry was one of those<br />

chores. Each son carried his dirty clothes<br />

to the laundry room. After the laundry<br />

was washed and dried, the sons had rotation<br />

duty to sort the clothes for the five-member<br />

family. Then they had a folding party<br />

where each member folded and put away<br />

his or her own clothes. Neatness was<br />

always encouraged.<br />

The three sons, Robert married to<br />

Pam, Charles married to Lynn, and<br />

Andy married to Michelle, have blessed<br />

the Mullins with nine grandchildren.<br />

When asked if the three sons, all in<br />

ministry positions, have applied this<br />

parenting wisdom to their own children,<br />

Frank said that it’s never actually been<br />

stated, but the results are obvious. The<br />

wisdom multiplies!<br />

So you’ve opened an early Christmas<br />

present, and it’s guaranteed to never go<br />

out of style or lose its value. Wisdom is a<br />

gift that keeps on giving. n<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 95

96 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

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<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 97

What are your three favorite<br />

things about Christmas?<br />

Hanging out with family.<br />

The feeling of goodwill—<br />

everyone seems to be<br />

nicer to each other.<br />

Pretty decorations.<br />

Mrs. Stephanie Burns<br />

Northside Elementary<br />

Pearl<br />

God’s birthday.<br />

Spending time with family.<br />

Opening presents.<br />

Abby Morrow<br />

Being with my family.<br />

Presents.<br />

Snow.<br />

Karma Comans<br />

Presents.<br />

Decorating.<br />

Going to my grandparents.<br />

Kinsley Ables<br />

You get cool toys.<br />

Get out of school.<br />

It’s a HAPPY time!<br />

Tomaj Johnson<br />

Getting presents.<br />

Seeing Santa.<br />

Eating milk & cookies<br />

in the morning.<br />

Dakota Moody<br />

Singing Christmas Carols.<br />

Getting presents.<br />

Being out of school.<br />

RJ Alfons<br />

Presents.<br />

Putting up the Christmas<br />

tree and the ornaments.<br />

Snow.<br />

Damien Robinson<br />

Presents.<br />

Santa Claus being at my house.<br />

Being out of school a few days.<br />

Charles Walker<br />

Sleeping in late.<br />

Unwrapping presents.<br />

Having fun in the snow.<br />

Aiden Flanagan<br />

Skiing on ice.<br />

Sledding down a hill.<br />

Getting presents.<br />

Ethan Ward<br />

Being with my family.<br />

Singing Christmas Carols.<br />

Baking cookies for Santa.<br />

wD’Lahah Friday<br />

98 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

If you could get your parents anything<br />

for Christmas, what would it be?<br />

I’d get my mom a necklace<br />

and I’d get my dad<br />

a pair of pants.<br />

John Null<br />

My mom would like a<br />

Nissan truck and a blue<br />

Mustang for my dad.<br />

Kole Derrick<br />

A car for my dad and<br />

make-up for my mom.<br />

Brooklynn Lopez<br />

I’d give my parents Jesus.<br />

Campbell McHenry<br />

I will give them both a BIG hug.<br />

Marleigh Ainsworth<br />

I’d give my mom a new house<br />

—a mansion! And I’d give my<br />

dad a red Ferrari.<br />

Brody McCool<br />

I’d get my mom a new bike<br />

because she likes to ride a lot.<br />

My dad likes to run so I’d get<br />

him some new shoes.<br />

Rosemarie Lopez<br />

Dad likes cool cars<br />

so a Lamborghini. My mom<br />

wants an Infiniti.<br />

Kaleb Woodson<br />

Merry<br />

Christmas<br />

My mom likes clothes a lot<br />

so a gift card to Flawless.<br />

And I’d get my dad<br />

a red Corvette.<br />

Mary Allyn Grisson<br />

I’d give my mom a picture<br />

of our family and I’d do<br />

work for my dad.<br />

Carter Young<br />

I’d give them both my LOVE.<br />

Madison Jones<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 99

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100 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 101

102 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

Business<br />

in the Classroom<br />

April Carter<br />

As adults, most of us have, at some point,<br />

wrestled with the age-old question, “What do you<br />

want to be when you grow up?” Or, perhaps just as<br />

importantly, “Where do you want to be when you<br />

grow up?” A desire to help students answer these<br />

questions drew over 100 community members to<br />

speak in classrooms for the annual Business in the<br />

Classroom event coordinated by the Flowood Chamber<br />

of Commerce and the schools within the Flowood<br />

community. October 12, <strong>2017</strong> saw community<br />

professionals gather en masse to speak to students<br />

about their careers, the paths that led them to their<br />

work, and the career opportunities in the Flowood<br />

and greater Jackson area.<br />

Speakers for the event spanned the gamut of<br />

careers, from artists and authors, to engineers, to<br />

medical practitioners, to public officials. Among the<br />

speakers were State Senator Josh Harkins, State<br />

Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall, Judge Haydn<br />

Roberts of <strong>Rankin</strong> County Chancery Court, and<br />

Brandon Alderman Tahya Dobbs. One group of<br />

students interacted with Assistant District Attorney<br />

Dewey Arthur, listening eagerly as he related some of<br />

his experiences and asking questions to learn more.<br />

Meanwhile, another group listened as Pulitzer<br />

Prize nominee Marshall Ramsey, nationally syndicated<br />

political cartoonist, author, and radio show host,<br />

spoke about his professional and personal journey.<br />

From the perspective of senior Alyssa Moncrief, “His<br />

[Ramsey’s] speech was so inspiring because it proved<br />

that the harder you work, the more successful you<br />

will be. He said you will always encounter barriers,<br />

but pushing through them is how you grow.” Alyssa<br />

explains, “Although I do not plan to pursue a career in<br />

art, I am very interested in journalism and if anything,<br />

it made me more curious if a career in that field<br />

would be right for me.”<br />

Like Alyssa, many students have their interest in<br />

a particular career field encouraged by hearing their<br />

Business in the Classroom speaker. Emma King, an art<br />

student who heard Ramsey speak says, “Mr. Ramsey<br />

inspired me by telling me to work hard and not give<br />

up. He told me if I really want a career in art to not<br />

give up and go for it.”<br />

Voicing the thoughts of many of the day’s<br />

speakers, Director of Emergency Medicine for Merit<br />

Health Tracy Laird says, “I have had the pleasure of<br />

speaking with Northwest <strong>Rankin</strong> High School students<br />

for the past several years. High school is a difficult<br />

time for many as they begin to struggle with their<br />

future and career choices, and Business in the<br />

Classroom is a fantastic program that allows people<br />

from all walks of life to tell the students a little bit<br />

about their respective career choices and opportunities.”<br />

According to Northwest <strong>Rankin</strong> High School<br />

Principal Ben Stein, Business in the Classroom<br />

originated years ago during the time that Jean Massey<br />

was principal, though, at that point it, was exclusively<br />

a high school event. Over the years, the event faded<br />

away until Stein revived the practice in the fall of 2014<br />

during his first year as high school principal. Business<br />

in the Classroom has now grown beyond the high<br />

school as a result of Stein’s interest in connecting the<br />

school and community. Flowood Chamber of<br />

Commerce Executive Director Jennifer Anderson<br />

joined with Stein to form an education committee<br />

under the auspices of the chamber. In the fall of<br />

2015, this committee extended invitations to all of<br />

the schools in Flowood, and Business in the Classroom<br />

expanded to include all of the <strong>Rankin</strong> County School<br />

District schools in the area. This year, Hartfield<br />

Academy joined with area RCSD schools to invite<br />

area professionals to speak in classrooms.<br />

Says Jennifer Anderson, “I believe BIC [Business<br />

in the Classroom] is a great opportunity to tie the<br />

many businesses together with our future leaders<br />

(students). I think it opens up an endless horizon of<br />

opportunities available here in <strong>Rankin</strong> County that<br />

the students may not know exist.”<br />

Anderson believes the benefits of this event<br />

flow both ways. She continues, “As for the business<br />

leaders, I believe it allows them the opportunity to<br />

support not only the students, but to support education<br />

in our area. The stronger the bond our schools have<br />

with our businesses, the stronger our community will<br />

be. This is such an important factor in economic<br />

development.”<br />

Is this event hitting its mark? What is the takeaway<br />

for students? When asked about his experience,<br />

Northwest <strong>Rankin</strong> senior Jared Collum says, “My<br />

Business in the Classroom speaker was incredibly<br />

interesting. She was a voice-over actress with many<br />

different experiences under her belt and a wealth of<br />

knowledge of her career to share. She took our class<br />

through her own personal journey in how she came to<br />

this job opportunity, and explained to us the different<br />

trials she went through as well as some of her<br />

successes.” Student Alyssa Moncrief called the day<br />

an “amazing opportunity,” and JJ Kaler, another<br />

senior, says that “Business in the Classroom was<br />

quite interesting.”<br />

The success of this event is due largely to the<br />

willingness of area professionals that take the time<br />

and interest to come speak to students and help them<br />

think about career possibilities, show them the wide<br />

range of career opportunities in and near Flowood,<br />

and to explain the paths they took through education<br />

and earlier work experiences to land where they are<br />

today. Principal Stein is grateful for the partnership<br />

with the Flowood Chamber of Commerce and for the<br />

support of <strong>Rankin</strong> County Sheriff Bryan Bailey and the<br />

<strong>Rankin</strong> County School District. n<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 103

104 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong><br />

READER<br />


April<br />

Carter<br />

How long have you lived in <strong>Rankin</strong> County?<br />

7 years.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

I have four daughters. Anna is a freshmen at<br />

Mississippi College, Beth is a junior at NWRHS,<br />

Catie is a freshmen at NWRHS, and Dorothy is<br />

in 4th grade at NWR elementary.<br />

What are your Thanksgiving Day family<br />

traditions?<br />

Leading up to Thanksgiving Day, we have a<br />

“thankful vine”. We have a rope draped over the<br />

kitchen table, and we write things we are thankful<br />

for on paper leaves (things as big as family and as<br />

small as chocolate or no homework days) and<br />

attach the leaves to the rope. Over a couple of<br />

weeks, our vine gets very full.<br />

What about Christmas family traditions?<br />

Christmas Eve, we always go to the Christmas Eve<br />

service at Brandon Baptist with our extended family,<br />

and then go back to my parents’ house for chili,<br />

seafood gumbo, and Happy Birthday Jesus cake.<br />

What led you to teaching?<br />

I’ve always enjoyed helping other people<br />

understand things, trying to explain things, or<br />

giving examples so what didn’t make sense before<br />

becomes clear.<br />

What is the best part of your job?<br />

I really enjoy the relationships with students and<br />

the opportunity to encourage them and give them<br />

new perspectives and ways to think through<br />

difficult issues.<br />

Do you have a favorite book?<br />

This is NOT a fair question for an English teacher!<br />

There is a book that I first read in the 7th grade<br />

that I tend to re-read about once a year, just for<br />

fun, called Celia Garth. It’s historical fiction, set<br />

in the Revolutionary War. Reading it for me is<br />

like eating comfort food.<br />

Do you have a favorite childhood memory?<br />

Traveling to my grandparents’ house for<br />

Christmas–both sets lived far away with one<br />

family in New Mexico and the other in West<br />

Virginia. Visiting their houses and being with<br />

all my cousins and aunts and uncles was a treat,<br />

something we got excited about, and counted<br />

down towards for weeks in advance.<br />

What are your three favorite places to eat<br />

in <strong>Rankin</strong> County?<br />

El Sombrero, Newk’s, and Lost Pizza.<br />

What is a favorite memory of living in<br />

<strong>Rankin</strong> County?<br />

Honestly, it’s a little every-day thing more than<br />

a big event. It’s the witty, funny conversations<br />

around the dinner table with my girls. I love<br />

hearing about what’s going on with them, and<br />

they can be hilarious when they get together.<br />

Those are my favorite memories, hands-down.<br />

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?<br />

I think I will be teaching–probably helping<br />

college students learn to think deeply and to<br />

write clearly, whether that is still through teaching<br />

dual credit at Northwest <strong>Rankin</strong> or in some<br />

different setting.<br />

Who is someone you admire and why?<br />

I know it’s a little cliché, but I admire my parents<br />

for their stability and consistency. They are an<br />

incredible resource for so many people because<br />

they have spent their lifetimes pursuing the<br />

Lord, listening for His direction, seeking His<br />

wisdom. They are my most valuable sounding<br />

board and are so practically helpful in so<br />

many ways.<br />

What is your favorite Christmas movie?<br />

It’s a Wonderful Life.<br />

Favorite Bible verse?<br />

That changes all the time and depends on the<br />

season I’m in, and what the Lord is showing me.<br />

Right now, maybe it’s Hebrews 12:1-2: “Therefore,<br />

since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of<br />

witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and<br />

sin which clings so closely, and let us run with<br />

endurance the race that is set before us, looking to<br />

Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who<br />

for the joy that was set before him endured the<br />

cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the<br />

right hand of the throne of God.”<br />

Share some things you like to do in your<br />

spare time.<br />

Read fiction (not surprising for an English<br />

teacher), shop, and be with my girls.<br />

Name three things on your bucket list.<br />

Traveling in Europe, publishing a piece of my own<br />

writing, and maybe owning a house with a great<br />

front porch and a peaceful view.<br />

What are some fun things to do in<br />

<strong>Rankin</strong> County on the weekends?<br />

I may not be the best person to answer this<br />

question. My weekends are fairly full of essay<br />

grading, grocery shopping, and laundry. Maybe<br />

I should look into this… .<br />

What is your favorite thing about<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> Magazines?<br />

Finding familiar faces and names and seeing what<br />

friends and acquaintances are doing. n<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 105




106 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 107

108 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>



NOVEMBER 11<br />



<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 109

110 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong><br />

<strong>Rankin</strong> County Chamber<br />

Annual<br />

Treat<br />

Street<br />

October 27, <strong>2017</strong><br />

Clyde Muse Center, Pearl, MS

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 111

112 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 113

114 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 115

Flowood<br />

Chamber<br />

of Commerce<br />

HEALTH<br />

FAIR<br />

October 5<br />

Flowood<br />

YMCA<br />

116 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 117

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origin, religion, sex, age, disability or veteran status in its educational programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Dr. Tyrone Jackson, Vice President for Utica Campus and Administrative Services and District Dean of Student Services & Title IX Coordinator Box 1003, Utica, MS 39175 . Phone: 601.885.7002 or Email: titleIX@hindscc.edu<br />

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<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 119

120 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong><br />



<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 121

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<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 123

Mississippi<br />

Mississippi Grown. Mississippi Good.<br />

Farm toSchool Week<br />

The first full week of October marked Mississippi<br />

Farm to School Week. The Mississippi Department<br />

of Agriculture and Commerce and the Mississippi<br />

Department of Education collaborated with the<br />

<strong>Rankin</strong> County School District to celebrate on<br />

Tuesday, October 3, at Highland Bluff Elementary.<br />

Special guests, including Commissioner of<br />

Agriculture and Commerce Cindy Hyde-Smith,<br />

USDA Office of Community Food Systems National<br />

Director Erin Healy, <strong>Rankin</strong> County School District<br />

Superintendent Dr. Sue Townsend, MDE Chief of<br />

Operations Dr. Felicia Gavin, MDE Director of Child<br />

Nutrition and Healthy Schools Scott Clements, in<br />

addition to several Mississippi farmers who grew<br />

some of the featured lunch menu items, had the<br />

privilege of eating lunch with the students.<br />

Over the last 15 years, the Mississippi Department<br />

of Education and the Mississippi Department of<br />

Agriculture and Commerce have made successful<br />

efforts to increase the amount of Mississippigrown<br />

fruits and vegetables served in cafeterias<br />

across the state through the Department of<br />

Defense Farm to School Program. The program<br />

124 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

offers schools 15 varieties of Mississippigrown<br />

fruits and vegetables, including<br />

butterbeans, southern peas, sweet potatoes,<br />

yellow squash, butternut squash, zucchini,<br />

turnip greens, collard greens, cantaloupes,<br />

watermelons, green beans, corn cobbettes,<br />

cucumbers, blueberries and broccoli crowns.<br />

The first full week of October was designated<br />

as Mississippi Farm to School Week by the<br />

Mississippi Legislature in 2012. Farm to School<br />

Week was introduced to schools in an effort<br />

to encourage them to serve locally-grown<br />

and locally-raised agricultural products in<br />

their meals and to recognize the substantial<br />

economic and health benefits of farm to<br />

school programs. Farm to School Week<br />

draws attention to the vast number of crops<br />

that are grown in Mississippi and serves as<br />

an educational tool to teach children where<br />

their food comes from beyond the grocery<br />

store. For more information on Mississippi<br />

Farm to School Week or educational materials,<br />

visit farmtoschoolweek.org.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 125

&<br />

Gives Back!<br />

Pure Air Consultants wants to give back to the community<br />

that has so graciously supported us. We have been blessed<br />

with continued growth and want to give back. We recognize<br />

and appreciate the fact that we would not be who we are or<br />

where we are without the continued patronage of our<br />

customers and the support of <strong>Rankin</strong> County.<br />

Here’s Our Plan<br />

We’d like to find a family that’s truly in need of a new heating and cooling<br />

system. Do you know an elderly person on a fixed income, a family with a sick<br />

child or parent in the home, or a disabled veteran? Maybe it’s an existing system<br />

not operational or it’s very old and inefficient and the family cannot afford to<br />

replace it. The recipient’s home must be in <strong>Rankin</strong> County.<br />

What They Get<br />

The recipient chosen from online applications/nominations will receive the<br />

following: One new 14 SEER (efficiency rating- current standard) Rheem heating<br />

and cooling system, installed. This is a complete system, providing new equipment<br />

both inside and outside, for a home that has existing central heating and cooling.<br />

Pure Air Consultants will also provide a new pad for the outdoor unit and a new<br />

digital thermostat. (Note: Replacement system must be of the same size/<br />

tonnage as winner’s existing system, and have the same heat source<br />

(gas, electric, or heat pump) as the existing system.)<br />

How To Enter<br />

Log onto surveymonkey.com/r/pacgivesback or MyPureAirConsultants.com<br />

and nominate someone in need. Anyone interested in submitting may enter<br />

themselves or nominate another person or family. All entries are completely<br />

confidential. Before and after photos of the job will be taken, and winner will<br />

be announced through social media. Media release required. We will accept<br />

submissions through February 28, <strong>2018</strong>. The winner will be selected and<br />

announced on March 1, <strong>2018</strong>.<br />

Enter today<br />

surveymonkey.com/r/pacgivesback<br />

www.MyPureAirConsultants.com<br />

Turning your hopes<br />

into a home.<br />

As a leading mortgage<br />

lender in <strong>Rankin</strong> County,<br />

I will work to close your<br />

loan on time and make<br />

the experience stress-free.<br />

• My primary goal is to<br />

make the process easy<br />

for you.<br />

• All processing,<br />

underwriting and<br />

closings are done inhouse,<br />

which allows<br />

us to quickly get you<br />

answers.<br />

• Conducting business<br />

at your convenience<br />

– 100% online, face-toface,<br />

or somewhere in<br />

between.<br />

Melissa Usry<br />

Mortgage Loan Originator<br />

(C) 601-906-1921<br />

(O) 601-203-2222<br />

NMLS #839635<br />



126 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

SHOP<br />

• Screen Printing<br />

• Embroidery<br />

• Caps<br />

• Pens & Cups<br />

• Business Cards<br />

• Car Magnets<br />

• Signs<br />

• Vinyl<br />

• Yetis<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 127


Kathrine’s Candles, Pomegranate scent<br />

Locally made in Brandon • $12<br />

Polk’s at Crossgates<br />

Reindeer Tartan Christmas Platter<br />

allyoops<br />

A’Maries Bath Flowers<br />

Handmade in Pearl, MS - $39<br />

O! How Cute<br />

Musee Bath Balms<br />

Cavender’s<br />

Nocona Hero Collection - $129.99<br />

Willow Blu<br />

Florist, Gifts & Custom Framing<br />

rankin county co-op<br />

Variety of children’s gifts<br />

Terry’s Barber<br />

Give your guy an old fashioned hot towel<br />

and razor experience<br />

chapman's florist<br />

Holiday towels<br />

Jewelry by Randy<br />

Custom jewelry by award-winning<br />

Mississippi artist Randy Walker<br />

128 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

Mockingbird Marketplace<br />

Enewton Jewelry<br />

The beach look<br />

Untamed Purses<br />

Red Wagon Boutique<br />

Barefoot Dreams Socks<br />

apple annie's<br />

Oxford Candles, hand-poured<br />

in Mississippi<br />

boots n more<br />

Ariat mens or ladies boots valued up to $250<br />

Sweet Peas<br />

Paddy wax candles and Capri Blue<br />

pink peppermint and Volcano candles<br />

Southern Grace & Gifts<br />

Happy Wax all natural soy wax melts<br />

jackson jewelers<br />

14k white gold sapphire and diamond<br />

necklace with an Art Deco design.<br />

MIGI'S<br />

Shaggy fur one-side cold<br />

shoulder sweatshirt • $39<br />

Crossgates jewelers<br />

Men’s and Women’s Citizen Watches<br />

Flawless Boutique<br />

Women’s Clothing • Shoes<br />

Accessories • Gifts<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 129

130 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>


Veterans<br />

Luncheon<br />

November 10<br />

Brandon Municipal Complex<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 131



Northshore<br />

Several businessmen and women throughout <strong>Rankin</strong> County<br />

visited 4th-6th grade classes and spoke about their profession<br />

during Business in the Classroom.<br />

Some of the high school football players and cheerleaders put<br />

on a pep rally for our first Big Event.<br />

The local fireman and police visited our kindergarten classes.​<br />

Students were recognized and celebrated during Cougar of<br />

the Quarter for exemplifying Cougar Pride by being kind,<br />

respectful, responsible, and ready to learn.<br />

The Venture classes<br />

sponsored a school-wide<br />

collection of snacks for<br />

the Blair Batson Children’s<br />

Hospital Cancer Center.<br />

They donated 2,182 snacks<br />

to the hospital.<br />

132 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

McLaurin<br />

Elementary<br />

McLaurin Elementary School is ALL IN!<br />

When it comes to instruction at McLaurin<br />

Elementary School (MES), our parents are just<br />

as eager to learn as their students. Thanks to the<br />

collaborative efforts of MES’s families, faculty<br />

and staff, McLaurin Elementary School has<br />

successfully shared resources and lessons to the<br />

school community in its first year of monthly<br />

Parent Academies.<br />

The first academy focused on literacy. Family<br />

members explored the school’s current data<br />

regarding reading proficiency and also practiced<br />

hands on methods to boost reading engagement<br />

and proficiency at home. From comprehension<br />

based origami to reading like a pirate, both<br />

families and students had a wonderful time<br />

learning together!<br />

The second academy was led by MES teachers.<br />

After exploring the school’s data for math proficiency,<br />

the MES faculty taught families math strategies<br />

in a rotation of four mini sessions. Through the<br />

generous donations of the MES PTO, parent<br />

volunteers, and the faculty, family members drew<br />

tickets for door prizes throughout the evening.<br />

The MES motto is “ALL IN - every student,<br />

every day, WHATEVER it takes!” This certainly<br />

resounds true with the dedicated efforts of the<br />

school and community in the parent academies.<br />

As the monthly meetings progress, McLaurin<br />

Elementary School comes one step closer in<br />

establishing its vision – to become a model of<br />

academic excellence through the collaboration of<br />

parents, staff, and students.<br />

Submissions provided by local officials from each individual district and not to be considered editorial opinion.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 133



Florence Elementary<br />

Florence Elementary School is proud to announce an “A” rating<br />

for the 2016-<strong>2017</strong> school year. The staff, students, and community<br />

of Florence Elementary School and Steen’s Creek Elementary<br />

School are committed to providing our elementary students<br />

with “A” BEST education. According to testing data published<br />

by the Mississippi Department of Education, Florence Elementary<br />

School gained a total of 19 points in all categories of the state’s<br />

accountability model. While continual growth is expected and<br />

is our top priority, we took a few opportunities to celebrate this<br />

high honor. RCSD School Board Member, Mrs. Kym Jamison,<br />

made a delicious cake to help celebrate. Thank you Steen’s<br />

Creek Elementary, RCSD support teams, Florence community,<br />

and all who work to support the staff and students of Florence<br />

Elementary to ensure student success. #FocusEducateSoar<br />

#RCSDG2B<br />

Richland High<br />

In its eighth year of implementation at Richland High School,<br />

the Positive Behavior Intervention and Support program continues<br />

to thrive. In fact, for the past three years running, Richland High<br />

School has been awarded Model School status by REACH MS<br />

for its excellence in executing the program within the school.<br />

Richland High School is the only high school in <strong>Rankin</strong> County<br />

to have the distinction of Model School status, an accolade the<br />

school prides itself on.<br />

With an emphasis on promoting positive behavior throughout<br />

the school, the teachers at Richland High School seek to improve<br />

academic and behavior outcomes to ensure students have access<br />

to the most effective instructional and behavioral practices and<br />

interventions possible. Over the years, PBIS has proven to reach<br />

exceptional students, as well as those who may struggle in a<br />

traditional classroom setting. A program like PBIS can be very<br />

encouraging to students across the board because of its emphasis<br />

on positive behavior.<br />

As students earn tickets, they enter their tickets into drawings<br />

for gift cards, prize packages, and special reward opportunities.<br />

This year, RHS students are most fond of Ticket Tuesday, which<br />

allows them to bring their tickets to swap for snack items and<br />

drinks. Skylar Andrews, a senior says, “I got to school extra early<br />

to redeem my PBIS ticket for a pack of cookies because I knew<br />

that I would want a snack later on that day.”<br />

There are several reward opportunities for students to enjoy<br />

in the coming weeks, such as, an off-campus lunch, a perfect-attendance<br />

reward, and a school-wide field day. Richland High<br />

School admits, faculty, staff and community members have<br />

embraced PBIS and have all learned that PBIS isn’t something<br />

Richland High School does, it is a part of who they are.<br />

Jamison Miller<br />

7th grade<br />

Brady Windham<br />

11th grade<br />

134 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

Northwest High<br />

In 2006, NWR High School art instructor, Teresa Aikens,<br />

started a program to integrate her students’ work into the<br />

community. Each year since the program began, a new class of<br />

high-achieving, talented students has participated, and in that<br />

time, they have created over 30 original artworks for permanent<br />

display in businesses and community facilities around our city,<br />

county and state.<br />

To participate in the program, students must complete Art I<br />

class with an A grade, show good work habits, be self-motivated,<br />

and apply for acceptance into the class. The students work<br />

directly with our community partners to develop artwork that<br />

reflects the personality of the business. The students create designs,<br />

present them to their community partners, and complete the<br />

design that is chosen for the artwork. The partners pay for<br />

materials for the final project, so the students get to work with<br />

professional grade media.<br />

While meeting the art needs of local businesses and organizations,<br />

the program accomplishes several goals for our students.<br />

They learn how to meet the needs of the community through<br />

their artwork and understand the role of art in our culture. It<br />

helps them understand how and why people appreciate and<br />

value art and they gain an understanding of artists’ relationships<br />

with their communities. It’s been a great success, and we’re<br />

especially proud to see our students’ work in so many places<br />

around Mississippi. It gives our students pride in their community<br />

and state.<br />

The community partners are enthusiastic and appreciative<br />

of the students’ work. Many community partners return in<br />

successive years for additional artwork for their interior spaces.<br />

Some sites where NWRHS students’ artwork is permanently<br />

displayed are Community Bank Operations Center, Flowood<br />

Fire Department, Flowood Police Department, <strong>Rankin</strong> County<br />

Chancery Clerk’s Office, <strong>Rankin</strong> County Courthouse, <strong>Rankin</strong><br />

County Tax Collector’s Office, Reservoir Community Center,<br />

Reservoir Fire Department, and <strong>Rankin</strong> County School<br />

District Technology Center, <strong>Rankin</strong> County Sheriff’s Office,<br />

<strong>Rankin</strong> County Jail, Raising Canes and Ballet Mississippi.<br />

Northwest Art and Community class, under the instruction<br />

of Melissa Magee, painted canvases and pointe shoes for<br />

Ballet Mississippi. These beautiful pointe shoes will be<br />

auctioned off during Ballet Mississippi’s production of<br />

The Nutcracker <strong>December</strong> 1-3 at Thalia Mara Hall.<br />

Submissions provided by local officials from each individual district and not to be considered editorial opinion.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 135



Puckett High<br />

Puckett Students Answer the Call to Serve<br />

Puckett High School, with the help of the community, has<br />

worked together to answer the call to serve. Every year, more<br />

and more families struggle to provide the necessities it takes to<br />

feed their families. In response to this ever-growing demand for<br />

help, the community of Puckett has stepped up to help feed<br />

those in need.<br />

This September, Puckett High School students participated<br />

in the WAPT Food for Families Canned Food Drive Challenge.<br />

As a thank you from the administration for their participation,<br />

compassion, and generosity, students were allowed to wear hats<br />

and even received an extra break for collecting non–perishable<br />

food donations which go to local food agencies to help the less<br />

fortunate.<br />

Puckett High School was challenged by McLaurin High<br />

School in a contest collect cans for the hungry. The winner was<br />

announced at the football game on Friday, September 22, at<br />

halftime. Puckett High School raised 12,041 cans over the week,<br />

while McLaurin raised 5,000 cans. Both schools’ generosity<br />

surpassed previous drives and had many students contemplating<br />

what else they could do for the less fortunate.<br />

This September’s community-centered event brought<br />

together more student involvement and an increased dedication<br />

to feeding families in need both in our schools and local<br />

communities. The students and administration enjoyed the<br />

event, and are excited to participate in more community<br />

outreach. As the Christmas season approaches, students are<br />

already stepping up to lend a helping hand during the season of<br />

giving. It is clear that these projects are having a real impact on<br />

the compassion of the students and the local community.<br />

136 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

Pelahatchie<br />

Pelahatchie High School Takes State by Storm<br />

Pelahatchie High School has traveled all over Mississippi with<br />

several different school-related field trips. On October 20, the print<br />

journalism class went on a field trip to the MSPA Fall Convention<br />

at the University of Southern Mississippi. The students participated<br />

in several classes around the college that would help them better<br />

understand journalism. The classes targeted newspaper writing,<br />

broadcasting, and yearbook/pictures. There were individual classes<br />

for each subject arranged in several locations among the University of<br />

Southern Mississippi campus.<br />

There also was a trip to the Hinds Community College <strong>Rankin</strong><br />

campus for students who had at least a 3.5 GPA and who were<br />

Pisgah<br />

The <strong>2017</strong>-18 school year at Pisgah High is heralded by outstanding<br />

achievements, both academically and athletically. PHS has once again<br />

been recognized as a National Bronze Level School by U.S. News and<br />

World Report in its <strong>2017</strong> edition of Best High Schools. Pisgah has received<br />

this award every year since its inception in 2009. The award is given<br />

based on several factors, including state and AP assessment results,<br />

enrollment, graduation rates, and diversity. Overall, the honor is given<br />

to schools that best serve all of their students, including economically<br />

disadvantaged groups. Being a federal programs Title I school, one<br />

achievement in which Pisgah has long prided itself is reaching our<br />

diverse population of students and preparing each learner for college<br />

and career readiness. Attaining this award demonstrates that we<br />

continually strive toward and are meeting this goal.<br />

Athletically, Pisgah continues to be met with success on the court,<br />

trails, and field. The Lady Dragons volleyball team completed its most<br />

successful season in its brief history with 14 wins. The team finished<br />

3rd in their division and came in 2nd at the Warren Central Invitational.<br />

Our cross country team placed 1st in the <strong>Rankin</strong> County<br />

Championship for Division 1A-3A. Seven participants competed<br />

in the state finals on Saturday, November 4th. Among them, Faith<br />

Ashley made the Region 3, Class 2A All-District Team. The Dragons<br />

also dominated in football as the District 6-2A champions for the<br />

second time in a row and the third time within the last four years.<br />

Our senior running back, Don Ragsdale, was named to The Clarion-<br />

Ledger’s Dandy Dozen. Ragsdale is the first player in PHS history to<br />

receive this award.<br />

Be sure to follow Pisgah High School on Facebook and Twitter as<br />

we continue to #breathefire and make this year our greatest yet.<br />

interested in the Hinds Honor Program. The students who<br />

attended were able to get an up close and personal look into a real<br />

college classroom. They also met several of the college instructors.<br />

The teachers had experiments laid out to give the students an idea<br />

of what college students do in each class.<br />

The J.R.O.T.C rifle team went to Brandon High School to<br />

participate in a district rifle competition. Although the students<br />

competed against some of the biggest schools in <strong>Rankin</strong> County<br />

(including Northwest <strong>Rankin</strong> and Brandon High) they brought<br />

home the second place trophy.<br />

Principal Dr. Bryan Marshall stated, “We are excited about these<br />

trips and feel they lead to better understanding of the world outside<br />

of our town.”<br />

Submissions provided by local officials from each individual district and not to be considered editorial opinion.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 137



Discovery Christian<br />

The <strong>2017</strong>-18 school year has been very exciting for Discovery<br />

Christian School Athletics. Our school was founded in 2011, and<br />

athletics were not introduced until 2014. The programs grow<br />

stronger each year on our campus.<br />

In September, our girls’ soccer team earned the first program win<br />

in their two-year history and played our first home game on their<br />

new soccer field.<br />

Congratulations to the DCS junior varsity boys’ basketball team<br />

for their first win of the season on <strong>December</strong> 7th. November 7th<br />

was the first win ever for the varsity boys’ basketball team.<br />

Our cheer squad attended their first Universal Cheer Association<br />

camp this summer where they earned several awards. This<br />

fall they competed in the first cheer competition and represented<br />

our school well!<br />

We are very proud of our student athletes for the way they<br />

perform both in and out of competition. For more information<br />

about our school, visit discoverychristianschool.org.<br />

138 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>



Hartfield<br />

Homecoming festivities were celebrated<br />

September 29th. Lochlan Clark was<br />

crowned the <strong>2017</strong> Homecoming Queen<br />

and was crowned by last year’s queen,<br />

Shelby Killough. Lochlan is the daughter<br />

of Ronnie and Ashley Clark. David Horner<br />

(right) presented the queen with flowers.<br />

Kylie Hawkins and Kaylee VanNorman<br />

were both selected to play in the MAIS<br />

All-Star Soccer game. They both played on<br />

the White team and won 5-1!<br />

Hartfield Academy’s <strong>2017</strong> Yearbook,<br />

The Legacy, was chosen as a finalist for<br />

Best Yearbook by the Mississippi Scholastic<br />

Press Association. Each year the yearbook<br />

staff, led by Tara Hall, pours countless<br />

hours and lots of creativity into making<br />

the yearbook an incredible representation<br />

of Hartfield.<br />

Congratulations to McKenzie Ragan,<br />

Aden Clark, and Nick Stinson for being<br />

recognized as Wendy’s Heisman Award<br />

winners! We are proud of your leadership<br />

in the classroom, on the field, and within<br />

the community!<br />

Congratulations to the Boys Cross Country<br />

team for winning first place in State and to<br />

Will Sullivan who won first place overall<br />

and is the individual boys state champion!<br />

Congratulations to our 4 students who<br />

placed FIRST in the C-Spire Coding<br />

Challenge yesterday and received $8,000<br />

in total scholarships!<br />

Submissions provided by local officials from each individual district and not to be considered editorial opinion.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 139



Rouse Elementary<br />

Students at Rouse Elementary are joining other schools in our<br />

district on the forefront of technology! In recent years, technology<br />

such as iPad apps and computer websites have become more<br />

relevant to student lifestyles and resulted in students who are<br />

better prepared for their upcoming academic years.<br />

With this in mind, Rouse has decided to introduce Chromebook<br />

carts to our students. The carts have been a huge success!<br />

Teachers have been excited to research new ways to use Chromebooks<br />

in their classrooms. We have seen great results in students<br />

learning and they have made gains in their technological abilities.<br />

These kindergartners and 1st graders quickly rose above all<br />

expectations set before them. Chromebook has given teachers the<br />

unique opportunity to personalize each student’s account with<br />

apps and websites specifically fit to their individual learning needs.<br />

It also has the advantage of being kid-friendly and easy to navigate.<br />

Rouse students are now using Google Classroom to research<br />

historic events, build knowledge of science, and participate in class<br />

assignments given by their teachers. They are setting the bar for<br />

their peers, and the bar is only getting higher. Your next visit to<br />

Rouse Elementary may leave you even more impressed than before!<br />

140 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 141

Camille Anding<br />

The Time Coin<br />

You can count on it. There’s always<br />

a newspaper, TV, or magazine piece<br />

sharing tips on how to take the stress<br />

and hectic out of the Christmas holidays.<br />

I’ve read my share every year because every<br />

year seems to carry its own dose of frenzied<br />

shoppers, traffic headaches, and gluttonous schedules.<br />

Simplify! That’s what my conscience is already shouting – days<br />

before I take that disquieting safari up to the attic and to the boxes<br />

brimming with Christmas glitz. Who decided Christmas had to be<br />

packed in a box or wrapped in shiny paper? The origin of Christmas<br />

certainly doesn’t represent or model that pattern.<br />

Bethlehem had its crowds, but they weren’t shopping. They were<br />

there under official Roman orders to register in their city of origin. For<br />

Joseph and Mary, that meant a 70 mile trek over mountainous country,<br />

and add “great with child” to that picture.<br />

A warm, cozy lodging in a well-known inn would have totally<br />

removed the multitude of nativity crèches that most homes display<br />

since then, but the crowds arrived in advance of Joseph and Mary.<br />

With no reservations they found the only available shelter – with the<br />

stable animals.<br />

With Mary having labor pains, I can<br />

assure all that she wasn’t concerned about<br />

cleaning, dusting, and polishing for this blessed<br />

event. There were no lighted trees or storage<br />

boxes filled with snowmen, sleighs, and tangled<br />

lights. The only decoration was a brilliant star<br />

that marked the sacred birth, and the only guests were shepherds who<br />

had been invited by a host of singing angels in the night sky.<br />

In spell-bound wonder, they had left their flocks to see the newborn<br />

Savior in His manger crib. There were no refreshments or tasty treats<br />

for Mary to offer the shepherd guests. Worshipers are never concerned<br />

with physical food.<br />

When the family of three left Bethlehem, there were no boxes to<br />

pack, gifts to return, or half-price sales to chase. They were carrying<br />

Christmas with them, and in a brief lifetime, Jesus would offer Himself<br />

as the greatest gift ever given.<br />

I know I won’t celebrate Christmas without a Christmas tree or<br />

sharing fellowship with family and friends, but the simplicity and<br />

wonder of that first Christmas REALLY make me rethink my<br />

<strong>December</strong>. Christmas didn’t come in a box; it never will. n<br />

142 • <strong>December</strong> <strong>2017</strong>

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