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MADISON • RIDGELAND • FLORA • CANTON • GLUCKSTADT

V76 / 1121


2 • JULY 2021


Hometown MADISON • 3


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Hometown MADISON • 5


6 • NOVEMBER 2021


FROM OUR CONSULTING EDITOR

Here we are with the last

Hometown Madison

issue of 2021.

It seems difficult to believe—mostly because both 2020 and 2021

have been a long, strange blur. But one thing is for sure; we endured

it together and have shared in an historical event that will mark our

lives for generations to come.

We’re honored to be able to highlight the stories of people from

right here in our area. All of us have something to contribute to the

world—and when we celebrate the wins of those around us, it creates

a greater sense of community and resilience.

November 20th is National Adoption Day. We highlight two families

within our community that have “chosen” children by opening their

homes and hearts to adoption.

We’d also like to remind everyone of the ongoing project called

A Home for Brad where the Madison County Sheriff’s Department

Benefit Association is raising money to build a home for Sheriff

Deputy Brad Sullivan who was gravely injured in the line of duty two

years ago. Please consider donating to this incredibly worthwhile

cause at www.ahomeforbrad.org.

Madison is extraordinarily special and full of amazing people and

stories. Thank you for allowing us to share them in such an impactful

way. We pray you have a safe and healthy holiday season. May God

continue to bless you all. Be well. Shop local. See you next year!

ON THE COVER: Madison County Junior Auxiliary members: Back L-R: Enjoli Nolen, Manuella Picarella, Candace Sigler. Middle L-R: Kristy Daniels, Emily Melichar,

Amanda Culbertson. Front: Elisa Oswalt.

HOMETOWN STAFF

IN THIS ISSUE

PUBLISHER & EDITOR

Tahya Dobbs

CFO

Kevin Dobbs

CONSULTING EDITOR

Mary Ann Kirby

Reader Spotlight 9

Student Art Contest 10

Hometown Family 14

Junior Auxiliary Recipes 24

Ridgeland City Hall 28

Ready to Serve 34

A Chosen Child 37

Time Coin 58

SPECIAL PROJECTS

MANAGER

Brenda McCall

SPECIAL PROJECTS

ASSISTANT

Caroline Hodges

ADMINISTRATIVE

ASSISTANT

Alisha Floyd

ACCOUNT

EXECUTIVE

Kim Cochram

...see you around town.

LAYOUT DESIGN

Daniel Thomas

3dt

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Othel Anding

ADVERTISING

ASSISTANT

Jodi Jackson

www.facebook.com/hometownmadisonmagazine. For subscription information visit www.htmags.com or contact us at info@HTMags.com / 601.706.4059 / 200 Felicity Street / Brandon, MS 39042

All rights reserved. No portion of Hometown Madison may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. The management of Hometown Madison is not responsible for opinions expressed by its writers or editors.

Hometown Madison maintains the unrestricted right to edit or refuse all submitted material. All advertisements are subject to approval by the publisher. The production of Hometown Madison is funded by advertising.

Hometown MADISON • 7


8 • NOVEMBER 2021


READER

SPOTLIGHT

Mandy

SISSON

Why did you decide to make Madison

your home?

We chose to move to Madison in 2016 from Fondren

for the schools, safety, and infrastructure.

How long have you lived in Madison?

Five and a half years.

Tell us about your family.

My husband Taylor and I will celebrate 10 years of

marriage in January. Taylor is originally from Mobile,

Alabama, and is the department administrator for

the OBGYN department and UMMC. I am the

community relations director at The Mustard Seed.

Our oldest two, Charlotte Jane and Rhett attend

Madison Avenue Elementary. They enjoy playing

soccer, taking dance at Xpress and Boy Scouts. Our

caboose, “Baby Ward” as he is affectionately called, is

two and attends preschool at St. Francis of Assisi ECLC.

What are some fun things to do in

Madison on the weekends?

We take full advantage of our proximity to both parks

and the school. We like to ride bikes or scooters to the

school and play in the green space–where we usually

run into friends. We love to visit E.A.T.S Diner for

brunch. Watching the “dancing water” fountain at

Renaissance is another favorite, especially in the

evening with the pretty lights. This time of year,

driving through the Richardson light show and

Indian Pines is part of our nightly routine. My kids’

faces light up every single time we drive through,

no matter how many times they’ve seen the lights.

What is your favorite memory of living

in Madison?

Rhett’s 5th birthday was ten days in to the original

COVID-19 shutdown. We had a big party planned at

the Mississippi Children’s Museum he was looking

forward to. Of course, that couldn’t happen so we

asked neighbors on the neighborhood Facebook page

to place a happy birthday sign in their window the

morning of his birthday and we would walk around the

neighborhood and see them all. Our neighbors went

above and beyond to make Rhett’s 5th birthday extra

special with balloons, large banners, gifts and even

some neighbors waiting in their yard for us to walk

by so that they could wish him a happy birthday in

person. It made me so thankful to live where we do.

Another one of my favorite moments was seeing

one of my favorite bands, St. Paul and the Broken

Bones, at the Renaissance green space in November

of 2020 just miles from my home. In the past I’ve

travelled many miles to see this band live and to

have them minutes from my house was such a treat.

Share some things you enjoy doing

in your spare time.

I love watching my niece and nephews play sports at

MRA and MC.We also enjoy riding on my parents’

boat at Lake Caroline and hosting people in our

home, usually to watch Alabama football.

Where do you see yourself ten years

from now?

In ten years, I plan to be in Madison, managing life

with two teenagers and a pre-teen. I also hope to be

planning lots of exciting events for The Mustard

Seed which will be celebrating 50 years in 2031.

Who is someone you admire and why?

I admire the Seedsters at The Mustard Seed. Their

love is so pure, and they remind me how to treat

others and to be a good friend. Their enthusiasm

for the Lord and enjoying the small moments in life

is so fun to be a part of. They are some of my best

friends and biggest blessings.

What are three things on your bucket

list?

Attend a Final Four basketball game with my dad.

Take Charlotte Jane to a Broadway musical. Attend

an Olympic event.

What is a favorite childhood memory?

My favorite childhood memory is being a coach’s

daughter. My dad was the men’s basketball coach at

Mississippi College for most of my life. He retired

in May of 2021. I’ve always loved being a coach’s

daughter. The thrill of the games, eating dinner four

months out of the year from the concession stand,

staying up way too late, road trips with the team,

basketball camps, and all the players and their

families I was fortunate enough to be able to get to

know over the last 36 years. When I think of some

of my favorite memories as a child, I feel like most of

them have something to do with a basketball game.

What is your favorite thing about

Hometown Magazines?

I love picking up Hometown Madison to see photos and

read stories about the people, places and things that

make Madison the wonderful place that it is.

Hometown MADISON • 9


Art Contest

For the 2021 holiday issue of Hometown Madison,

we asked for submissions of Christmas-themed art

from high school art students throughout Madison County.

We want to encourage the artistic ability in the county’s

brightest young artists! We were thrilled to receive

dozens of entries, all featured here.

Congratulations to MRA senior

Sarah Knox Biggs on being chosen

as our cash prize winner!

Merry Christmas!

MRA - Sarah Knox Biggs 12th

Canton - Keundria Johnson 12th

Ridgeland - Alexis Smith 12th

Ridgeland - Antony Amador Alvarez 10th

Ridgeland - Dakari Bell 11th Ridgeland - Ezra Price 10th Ridgeland - JaQuan Washington 11th Ridgeland - Juan Mateo 12th

St. Andrews - Khushi Patel 12th Velma Jackson - Camellia Kilbert 12th Velma Jackson - CaNyla Banks 10th Velma Jackson - Jaliayh Jackson 12th

10 • NOVEMBER 2021


Germantown - Anabel Webb 10th Germantown - Kalyb James 10th Germantown - Leah Rainey 12th Germantown - Mary Tristen Walker 9th

Ridgeland - Asia Spencer 12th Ridgeland - Aston Shavers 12th Ridgeland - Chandler Mack 12th Ridgeland - Chase Oprel 10th

Ridgeland - Katiyunna Davis 10th Ridgeland - LaKendra Henderson 12th Ridgeland - Taylor Washington 12th St. Andrews - Betsy Burrow 12th

Velma Jackson - Lakeysha Kings 10th Velma Jackson - Patricia Evans 10th Velma Jackson - Shamya Walker 12th Velma Jackson - Terrance Mack 12th

Hometown MADISON • 11


12 • NOVEMBER 2021


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Hometown MADISON • 13


14 • NOVEMBER 2021

PHOTOS: Coriss Watson Photography


Mukoros

The

Tell us about your family.

Quincy Mukoro is 40 years old and loves to play

golf, read history books, and travel.

Christina Mukoro is 39 years old and enjoys

cooking and is starting to learn photography.

Blair Mukoro is 5 years old and is very creative.

She loves to draw, paint, and make crafts.

Winston Mukoro is 2 years old and loves exploring

the world. He is currently obsessed with learning

about all types of vehicles: airplanes, trucks,

construction equipment, etc.

How did you meet and how long have you been married.

We met on the first day of freshman year in high school in Greenwood,

Mississippi, back in 1996. We were both in driver’s education class and an

upperclassman was being rude to me. I heard a deep voice behind me say,

“Leave her alone.” When I turned around to see who it was, I was so

surprised to see this big voice coming from such a skinny kid. He then

moved to sit next to me, and we became friends immediately.

We were friends all through high school and college, even when he

attended Ole Miss and I went to Mississippi State. After graduation, we

started our careers, had our own separate lives, and talked with each other

sporadically. I eventually moved to Maryland for work and Quincy would

often travel to Washington D.C., for his job. We would meet up and go to

museums, concerts, and different restaurants.

Finally in 2013, he asked me if I wanted to go on a date with him and

I said sure. I always joke with Quincy that it took him almost 20 years to

ask me out and that it is better late than never. We were engaged six months

later, and we’ve been married for seven years.

Hometown MADISON • 15


Do you allow time to be with your spouse for a date night?

Yes, and we schedule “day dates” more often than date nights.

We go to a restaurant for brunch or lunch and then go to the art

museum, the zoo, or the movie theatre. There are a lot more activity

options during the day and less crowds. We have learned that it is

good, and often necessary, to have a little time away from home and

from the kids. It gives us a break from our daily home life and gives

us a chance to reconnect with each other When we first started

going out, we often found ourselves constantly talking about the

kids, but now we discuss other topics.

What brings you the greatest joy as a parent?

Seeing our children grow into little people and develop their

personalities brings us the greatest joy. We also enjoy seeing the

world again through their perspective.

When our children were first born, we often wondered how

much of their personality was already there and how much we

would influence. As they have grown, their personalities have begun

to show, as well as their opinions and interests. Blair has a big

personality and is a natural leader. Winston is more laid back and

has a great sense of humor. They are both empathetic and show

kindness to each other and towards other people. We are excited to

see how they will continue to evolve and want to make sure that we

help them grow into their best selves.

There is also joy from seeing the children experience something

new and seeing their sense of pride when completing a task independently.

The things that we take for granted because we’re so

used to them are all new to the kids. For example, driving through

a car wash is a big adventure for them! When they accomplish

something on their own, such as riding a bike, they are literally

beaming with pride.

Who is the financial manager in your home?

We work on finances as a team. I handle the day-to-day

finances, such as bills, household budget, and regular family

expenses for clothes, school fees, etc. Quincy handles the long-term

planning and finances, such as savings and investments.

It works for us to divide the finances this way because we can

then focus on our specific area and the burden isn’t on one person to

handle everything. Also, when we get together to discuss finances,

we have information to report and can adjust our budgets and

financial goals based on each other’s information.

What is your discipline philosophy regarding your kids?

Our children are still very young, so we try to model the behavior

we want the children to have. We talk to them often and tell them

the consequences of their actions. Usually, our biggest troubles come

with temper tantrums. If one of the children misbehaves and

talking doesn’t help, we take away a privilege, such as watching TV.

In a worst-case scenario, they sit down by themselves to calm down

or they are sent to bed early. As they are disciplined, we always make

sure to tell them we love them, and we care about them.

What do you see in your role as the greatest benefit

to your family?

As husband and father, Quincy is the leader of our family. In

addition to being the provider, he helps drive the success of the

family with his hard work, sacrifices, and self-discipline. From his

work and life experiences, he has gained plenty of foresight that he

can pass on to the children so that they can be better positioned

and better prepared for life’s experiences.

As wife and mother, I have several roles (scheduler, cook, doctor,

counselor, referee, and cheerleader just to name a few). But most

importantly, I am the foundation and glue that keeps the family

together. In my experience as an engineer, I worked to make things

better and I apply those same engineering principles in our homelife

to make our processes more efficient and productive.

What’s a quick go-to meal that isn’t fast food?

And who does the cooking?

Tacos are always a quick easy meal for us. I also like to stir fry

vegetables and cook fried rice, which is a great way to use up leftover

rice, veggies, and meat. I do most of the cooking.

How long has Madison been your home?

Quincy has lived in Madison for over ten years, and I have lived here

for seven years.

What are some favorite things about Madison County?

Some of our favorite things about Madison County include the

great public schools, the family-oriented environment, and the

friendly people.

How do you spend your summer breaks?

We usually go to the beach and visit relatives out of town. The

pandemic has caused us to spend more time at home this past

summer, so we did a lot of grilling and playing with the kids.

What accomplishments make you proud during your time

living in Madison?

Our two biggest accomplishments while living in Madison

have been starting a company and starting and raising our family.

We have been most proud of starting Quincy’s company,

The Octagon Group, which is a government relations and business

development firm. Prior to starting his own company, Quincy

worked for ten years as the director of government affairs for the

Mississippi Municipal League. In that role, he handled the government

affairs for every city and town in the state. He really enjoyed

the profession and had a desire to expand his client base from solely

municipal government entities to include private sector-based

clients as well.

In the beginning, there was a lot of work and travel trying to

secure his first few clients. We have since experienced a lot of growth

and success with his clients and he has recently entered a strategic

partnership with Bryant Songy Snell Global Partners, a government

relations firm founded by Governor Phil Bryant.

16 • NOVEMBER 2021


Starting a family and raising our children is another

proud and even greater accomplishment. Our family is

the driving force for all the decisions that we make, such

as where we live, our career choices, and how we raise

the children. Our family is very young, and we are proud

of the values we are instilling in our children to be good,

responsible, and compassionate people.

We are so thankful to God, our families, and friends

who have been so supportive of us throughout the

process of growing our company and family.

What drives you to have the job that you have?

And what do you do for a living?

Quincy is a government relations and business

development consultant. He helps clients develop

strategies to meet their goals and objectives. He is very

people oriented and is a strong believer in the power of

building relationships and networks. He loves to solve

problems, which is the main objective of his job. He

enjoys his work because it is hardly ever mundane.

He gets to interact with people daily, solve problems,

and gets to see the tangible results of his work.

I am currently a stay-at-home mom. Prior to that,

I worked as an industrial engineer for over ten years in

the manufacturing, defense, and insurance industries.

As an employee, I was hard working and added value

to the company that I worked for to help it grow and

succeed. When my oldest was born, I wanted to apply

that same drive to help my family’s growth and success.

We decided to put my career on hold to raise the

children. Motherhood has been the toughest job I

have ever had with the most demanding bosses, but

it has also been the most enjoyable and rewarding

job so far.

QUESTIONS FOR THE CHILDREN

What’s your favorite thing to do as a family?

Blair Friday family movie night

Winston Going for walks and bike rides

What’s your favorite restaurant?

Blair & Winston Chick-fil-A!

What’s your favorite TV show?

Blair My Little Pony

Winston Curious George

Hometown MADISON • 17


18 • NOVEMBER 2021


Hometown MADISON • 19


Together, we continue to build upon the economic

development infrastructure of Madison County.

We recognize and salute the industry and businesses

for the contribution they make towards our quality of life.

135 Mississippi Parkway, Canton, MS 39046

601.832.5592 | madisoncountybusinessleague.com

Third Quarter

Madison County Business

League &

Economic

Madison County Economic

Development Authority

Development

Outlook

3rd Quarter Economic

Development SEPTEMBER Outlook 9, 2021

September JACKSON 9, 2021 YACHT CLUB

Jackson Yacht Club

135 Mississippi Parkway, Canton, MS 39046

601.605.0368 | madisoncountyeda.com

CONNECT WITH US ON FACEBOOK!

20 • NOVEMBER 2021


Hometown MADISON • 21


22 • NOVEMBER 2021

CALL NOW: 601-401-3299


Merry Christmas

AND HAPPY

NEW YEAR!

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

and his name shall be VIrtual Virtual called Wonderful Travel

Counselor, Mighty God,

Show Everlasting

Series

Father,

Prince of Peace.”

AAA will behosting aseries

Isaiah 9:6

of virtual travel shows so

you can learn more about

the destinations waiting

for your when you’re ready

to travel. See how our

travel agents can help

plan your next journey.

Space islimited. For more

information and to to RSVP. RSVP.

scan the QRcode or visit

AAA.com/travelshowqr

IT’S TIME

TO LET MORE THAN

YOUR MIND WANDER

AAA Travel is here for you when you’re ready for

your next vacation. Our travel advisors in the AAA

Ridgeland office can help you safely navigate the

changing travel industry. We’re also hosting virtual

travel shows about the experiences

waiting for you, including tropical

escapes to Hawaii and the Caribbean

and U.S. destinations like Alaska. For

more details, scan the QR code or

click on AAA.com/travelshowqr.

CALL 601-957-8484

VISIT 900 E. County Line Road

Ridgeland, MS 39157

You do not have to be a AAA member to use AAA Travel. AAA Missouri members must make advance reservations through

AAA Travel to obtain Member Benefits and savings. Member Benefits may be available for a limited time only, are subject to

availability and restrictions may apply. Offers and benefits are subject to change without notice. Not responsible for errors or

omissions. The Automobile Club of Missouri acts only as an agent for its travel vendors and is a motor club with a principal place

of business at 12901 N. Forty Drive, St. Louis, MO 63141. Copyright ©2021 Automobile Club of Missouri. All Rights Reserved.

Hometown MADISON • 23


Emily Melichar

Bourbon Balls

• 1 large bag of vanilla wafers

(finely crushed)

• 1 cup white Karo

• ½ cup bourbon

• 1 cup chopped nuts

(pecans, walnuts - your choice)

• 2 Tbsp. cocoa

• 2 Tbsp. sugar

• Powdered sugar

Put everything in a large bowl and

mix together. Roll into balls, and let

them set. Roll balls in powdered

sugar, and enjoy!

Enjoli Nolen

Hash Brown Casserole

• 1 stick of melted butter

• 2 lb. bag of cubed hash browns

• 1 French onion dip

• 1 can of cream of chicken

• 1 bag shredded cheddar cheese

• Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400.

Combine all ingredients in a large

bowl, except for shredded cheese.

Place in a greased 9x13 casserole

dish and top with reserved cheese.

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until

hot and bubbly.

Elisa Oswalt

Blueberry Cream Cheese

Pound Cake

• 1 box Duncan Hines

butter yellow cake mix

• 3 eggs

• ½ cup oil

• 1 8 oz. cream cheese, softened

• 1 15 oz. can blueberries or 1½ cup

fresh blueberries

Preheat oven 350. Spray bundt

pan with Bakers Joy cooking spray.

Drain blueberries very well. Mix dry

cake mix with cream cheese (slicing

it, not mixing/creaming it so it’s in

small chunks). Mix eggs, berries,

and oil together in a separate bowl.

Once combined, mix all ingredients,

tossing until batter is wet. Pour into

bundt pan and bake 30-40 minutes,

or until toothpick comes out clean.

24 • NOVEMBER 2021


Kristy Daniels

Christmas Sausage Bread

• 1 loaf of frozen bread dough

• 1 tube of Tennessee Pride

breakfast sausage

• 2 cups of mozzarella cheese

• Spray butter

Place frozen loaf bread in bread pan

and cover with Saran Wrap to let rise

overnight. In the morning, preheat

oven to 375. Cook entire tube of

sausage until done. While sausage is

cooking, spray cookie sheet with

spray butter, take the risen bread loaf

out of the pan and spread on cookie

sheet. Flatten out bread dough the

length and width of the cookie sheet.

Spread one cup of the mozzarella

cheese in the center of flattened bread

dough. Place cooked sausage on top

of mozzarella cheese in a layer, then

layer the last cup of mozzarella cheese

and on top of sausage. Fold both ends

of the bread dough in and fold the

sides in so that all cheese and sausage

is “stuffed” in the dough. Flip over so

seam is on bottom and place in oven

for 20 minutes, or until outside is

golden brown. Add cheese, jalapeños,

eggs, etc. or whatever you like to

customize your bread.

Candace Sigler

Grandma Wilson’s

Christmas Cookies

• ½ cup shortening

• 1 cup sugar

• 1½ tsp. orange zest

• 1 egg, beaten

• ½ fresh squeezed orange juice

• 3-3½ cups flour

• 3 tsp. baking powder

• ¼ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream

shorting and sugar until well blended.

Add orange zest and egg. Gradually

add orange juice. Sift dry ingredients

and add to mixture, blending well.

Add more flour if necessary, until

stiff enough to roll. Roll on floured

surface. Cut using your favorite

holiday cookie cutters and bake on

greased cookie sheets for ten minutes,

or until edges are light golden brown.

Lemon Icing

• 1 cup powdered sugar

• ¼ cup melted butter

• 3 Tbsp. water

• 1½ tsp. lemon juice

• ½ tsp. lemon zest

Mix well until creamy. If icing gets

too thick, add a few drops of water.

Separate into smaller bowls and add

food colorings. Ice cookies using

the back of a spoon. Decorate with

your favorite holiday sprinkles!

Dry cookies on a cooling rack.

Amanda Culbertson

Toasted Pecan Delights

• 1½ cups pecan pieces

• Salt to taste

• 1 stick butter

• 1 package white almond bark

Place pecan pieces on baking sheet.

Spread evenly and salt well. Add one

stick of butter (cut into pats and put

on top of pecan pieces). Toast in oven

set to 325, stirring occasionally so

butter and salt is evenly distributed.

Make sure all the pecans are evenly

coated with butter and salt. It takes

about 15-20 minutes for the pecans

to be fully toasted. Melt one package

of white almond bark. Add roasted

pecan pieces (including butter and

salt) to melted candy (do not drain

butter off ). Mix well to cover all

pecan pieces. Drop by spoonfuls onto

wax paper or parchment paper, and

let harden.

Manuella Picarella

Artichoke Casserole

• ½ cup olive oil

• 2 cups Italian cheese

• 2 cups Italian bread crumbs

• 2 12 oz. bags frozen French style

green beans

• 2 cans artichoke hearts

• 2 small onions, chopped

• 6 large garlic cloves, chopped

Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil.

Trim any tough edges off of the

artichoke leaf ends. Mix in artichoke

hearts and break them apart while

they are cooking down. Add in the

green beans and cook down. Remove

from heat. Stir in the bread crumbs

and Italian cheese, and put mixture

into a 9x13 baking pan. Cover and

bake at 350 degrees for 35-45

minutes.

Hometown MADISON • 25


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26 • NOVEMBER 2021


Hometown MADISON • 27


A New Era

Ridgeland

City Hall

Susan

Marquez

As mayor of the City of Ridgeland,

Gene McGee has seen the city

grow in ways he could never

have imagined when he was

first elected in 1989. The most

meaningful change for him,

personally, is the new city hall

building, dedicated on

Valentine’s Day this year.

28 • NOVEMBER 2021


Hometown MADISON • 29


“I spent the first 32 years as mayor of

Ridgeland in an office with no windows!”

Now he can gaze out large windows in his

second-story office which overlook an area of

the city which is being developed to include a

performing arts center and Choctaw Nation

museum. “This has been a long time coming

for Ridgeland, and it’s something I’m very

proud of.”

The previous city hall building, on the

corner of Rice Road and Highway 51, was

a former blueprint company. “We had to

retro-fit it to suit our needs,” says McGee.

“We finally couldn’t retro-fit it anymore. It

couldn’t provide the IT services we needed,

and it wasn’t serving the citizens well.”

The mayor says a master plan was done

for the city in 2008, and citizens determined

that a city center was needed. “They picked

this spot.” Located on the corner of School

Street and Highway 51, the new Ridgeland

City Hall is a building that will serve the

city’s needs well into the future. Designed

by Dean and Dean Architects, the 32,000

square foot two-story brick and stone

structure features aluminum artwork

inspired by the city’s logo. A Veteran’s

Memory Park is anchored by a large brass

bell that can be rung in honor of those

who have served in any of the military

branches of the United States.

The building is full of symbolism and

ties to the community. Upon entering the

building’s soaring two-story lobby, guests are

greeted with a large three-dimensional glass

artwork by glass artist Andy Young and

Pearl River Glass Studio. Young describes

the work as “an architectural grid in the form

of squares in opalescent glass to represent the

new building and the ever-changing map of

the city. The steel form supporting the glass

is an abstract silhouette of a bicycle and

represents the layers of seen and unseen

infrastructure. The frame design honors the

foresight in city planning and multiuse trails

throughout the community. Dancing across

the glass are small details of flower petals, as

a reminder of the city’s commitment to

beautification. Also in the lobby is an

oversized canvas painted by Ridgeland artist

Mark Millet, rich in symbolism about the

city of Ridgeland’s history and future, from

the indians who walked the Natchez Trace

to today and beyond.

A well-appointed history room is filled

with significant artifacts related to the city’s

history, as well as maps and more. A glass

showcase will feature a revolving exhibit of

memorabilia from some of Ridgeland’s most

prominent as well as long-lived residents. The

new board of directors room comfortably

seats an audience of seventy for the city’s

board meetings. The room features the latest

30 • NOVEMBER 2021


technology available, including screens around

the room used when something is shown, so

that both aldermen and those in attendance

can view them. Special accommodations

were made for members of the media to plug

into the microphone system. The wall behind

the board of aldermen features another work

by Andy Young and Pearl River Glass Studio.

The glass mural depicts Ridgeland through

symbols and form. In the center is the seal

of the City of Ridgeland. The background

features trees, a familiar scene along the

Natchez Trace Parkway, which is depicted

by an arc flowing through the trees.

The building also included a muchimproved,

dynamic IT and traffic control

division that features a fully-enclosed and

protected server room along with traffic

monitors to cover the entire city. The public

works department has space for its emergency

operations center, focused on providing

continuous service to the community in

times of crisis.

The rest of the building is designed with

both function and service in mind. “When

they were working on plans for the building,

architects from Dean and Dean met with

each department to determine their needs,”

says McGee. The finishes in the mayor’s

office, finance and administration, water

billing, community development, public

works and recreation and parks are very

simple and budget friendly. “Our mission for

this project has been to build a community

green space and city hall building that is

representative of Ridgeland,” McGee says. It

was important to the mayor and board that

the building be centrally located and energy

efficient, welcoming, yet fiscally conservative,

function to provide top quality service,

resilient to stand the test of time, and one

that represents the beauty of Ridgeland.

The greenspace is on the front side of

the building, which faces east, towards the

police department building. “Just wait until

Christmas,” says McGee. “It’s going to be a

real showplace!” The greenspace can be

used for community events, such as family

movie nights.

The $15.9 million Ridgeland City Hall

was built without a tax increase. The Veterans

Memory Park has been funded in part by

through sponsorship opportunities and

through engraved bricks and plaques sold

to honor veterans. “It’s a place where people

can come meditate and remember their

friends and family members who served in

the military,” says McGee. “We will use it

two times each year to honor our veterans.”

The first time will be on Veteran’s Day,

November 11, at 11:00am. Representative

Michael Guest will be the speaker.

Hometown MADISON • 31


32 • NOVEMBER 2021


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34 • NOVEMBER 2021

”Peace comes

with having

a strong

military.”


Ready

to Serve

Camille Anding

Retired Master Sergeant

Ralph Hamill

served his country for thirty-six years – twentytwo

in the National Guard and fourteen in the

reserves. His commitment to serve his beloved

nation began when he joined the National Guard

his senior year in high school in 1956. Over the

next three-plus decades, he served in eight

different units.

It was a commitment of weekly meetings, one

weekend every month, and summer training at

Camp Shelby. Hamill said, “I’m a strong Christian

and always wanted to protect my country, and

God allowed me to serve for a long time.” That

monthly weekend became a routine for him,

but he said, “It seemed like some of the most

important family functions and events would

always fall on that weekend.”

Hamill remembers the training days at Camp

Shelby as always being the hottest days of the

summer. “The wind doesn’t blow through those

pine trees at Camp Shelby!” he said. He served

as an instructor at the camp for two years and

was on standby or called up for several potential

crises in the state. In Operation Bright Star,

Hamill was sent to Egypt to work in the desert

with the Egyptian Army. His unit expected to get

orders for Vietnam, but they miraculously were

not called. During Desert Storm, volunteers were

requested, but Hamill’s first wife was battling

cancer, and he said he would go if ordered but

couldn’t volunteer with her being so ill.

During time away from the military, his

talent for singing gospel music placed him

in a well-received ministry of singing for

occupants in assisted living and nursing

homes. Governor Waller heard Hamill sing and

encouraged him to record an album in Nashville.

Hamill took his advice and sent his signature

song, “Put It in God’s Hands” throughout

America and nine countries.

The railroad work took up the rest of Hamill’s

working years. He invested forty-two years as

a clerk in Artesia, Mississippi.

Hamill has an impressive collection of awards,

plaques and photos representing his years in

the National Guard. He’s an avid spokesman

for the guard and encourages young people to

consider the rewards of the National Guard’s

benefits and the lifelong friends that one makes

in this branch of service.

In the years that followed his first wife’s death,

Hamill met Ann Smith at First Baptist Church

Jackson. She had also lost her spouse. Ralph

and Ann were drawn together, and the two

celebrated thirty years of marriage last June.

They are enjoying their golden years at the

Sunnybrook Estates retirement community, one

of the places he had visited with his singing

ministry for eighteen years. “I always loved this

place,” he said about Sunnybrook, “and I knew

this would be where I would live someday.”

As a proud veteran, Hamill regrets our

country’s departure from a strong military.

He believes our country won’t survive without

being a military superpower. He’s quick to

acknowledge, “Peace comes with having a

strong military.”

Hometown MADISON • 35


36 • NOVEMBER 2021


National Adoption Day is November 20, 2021. It was initially started to

raise awareness of the children waiting to be adopted in the United States–

120,000 this year alone. We’re honored to have met local families from

all across the metro who opened their hearts and homes to adoption.

We celebrate the families that have been created and the children chosen–

not of your flesh, nor of your bone, but still miraculously your very own.

Hometown MADISON • 37


38 • NOVEMBER 2021


Worth theWait

Susan Marquez

Clay and Dottie Grubbs were high school

sweethearts at Jackson Prep. They married

in 1999, and Clay went to dental school at

UMC while Dottie taught at St. Andrews

lower school. The couple had two little boys,

Clayton and Stewart, and their lives seemed

perfectly idyllic. “With the boys only 21

months apart, we stayed very busy with

sports and activities,” says Dottie.

But as wonderful as their life was, the

Lord began to stir their hearts in 2009.

“We felt that our family was not complete,”

Dottie recalls. “We knew His plan for us was

to adopt.” Dottie says there is no set road

map for adoption, and had she known all

the bumps she’d encounter on their five-year

adoption journey, she may not have said yes.

“I’m glad we didn’t know, or we may have

missed out on such an amazing gift.”

Clay and Dottie stumbled around for two

years, with one dead end story after another.

They went through agencies, created “life

books” for birth mothers to review, had home

studies done, and even signed paperwork on

a little girl in Atlanta only to have the birth

mother change her mind. The hurt,

disappointment, and mental exhaustion

were almost more than they could bear.

“But God carried us,” says Dottie. “Our boys

saw first-hand how we are not in control and

how trusting God’s plan can be hard.”

More time passed, and they decided that

if God wanted them to have a child, He would

drop one in their laps. And that’s exactly

what happened. “We received a phone call

from a friend that a birth mother wanted

adoption. We called the prospective birth

mother and God began his work.” Shortly

after meeting the birth mother, Dottie and

Clay offered her to move into their home.

“We simply wanted to love on her and show

her that no matter where she had been, God

loves her, and new starts can happen through

God’s forgiveness. For us, the adoption was

second behind loving her.”

Betsy Grace came into the world on

February 11, 2015, and she was surrounded

by prayer and love. The birth mother moved

home, and they have all stayed connected

with texts, photobooks, Christmas, and

birthday gifts.

Despite a busy schedule with two active

boys, Dottie says Betsy Grace has folded into

their family like the missing puzzle piece they

had been waiting for. “We never skipped a

beat as a family. She attended her first sporting

event when she was three weeks old, watching

her big brother play basketball. The joy the

boys have around her is wonderful. She can

roughhouse and hunt with them, and in the

next moment she is dressed up in a princess

dress or working on cheerleading and

gymnastics. She rolls with whatever is going

on around her and has hardly missed a game

of either brother.” Betsy Grace is currently

involved in team gymnastics and playing

soccer and softball. “Now is her time to

shine after being a spectator for so long!”

The adoption journey taught the family

life lessons including that when it is God’s

plan, nothing will get in the way. “We have

an obedient heart,” says Dottie. “We had

been burned several times and the easiest

route would have been to pass on Betsy

Grace’s situation and go on with our lives.

Thank the Lord we did not! We would have

missed out on Betsy Grace and the story

that God unfolded for our family. The

boys got to be a part of watching God bring

disappointment and grief and turn it into

the most beautiful story of redemption.

I am so thankful He allowed us to be a

part of His plan for our girl.”

The Grubbs’ days are busy, but full of

fun. “Clayton is now sixteen and plays on

the varsity football and baseball team at

Prep. Stewart is fifteen and plays on the

junior high football team at Prep. Betsy

Grace is six. She attends First Presbyterian

Day School, and she competes on team

gymnastics, softball, and soccer. Not to

mention, we are avid hunters! Now that

hunting season has started, we will enjoy

God’s creation together.”

Dottie has a favorite Bible verse that

speaks to her heart, particularly when it

comes to the adoption of Betsy Grace.

“For I know the plans I have for you,

declares the Lord. Plans to proper you,

not to harm you, to give you a future and

a hope.” –Jeremiah 29:11

Hometown MADISON • 39


40 • NOVEMBER 2021


From Russia with Love

Mistie Desper

He predestined and lovingly

planned for us to be adopted to

Himself as His own children.

–Ephesians 1:5

Susan Ryan and her husband, John,

followed their faith and God’s guidance to

adopt their second child to make their family

complete. “It was so special to know that God

had chosen adoption for us. It truly was a sign

from Him,” said Susan.

After their son, Parker, was born, the

couple longed to add to their family. When

adding a sibling did not happen, God worked

on their hearts to adopt. John knew all too well

the ins and outs of foster care and adoption.

He himself grew up in a foster family that

ultimately adopted him and gave him an

incredible forever home. Susan said, “I always

had adoption on my mind being an older

mother.”

The pair prayed diligently before making

the decision to adopt. As they navigated the

sometimes terrifying and extremely thorough

process, they relied on their faith as guidance.

Deciding to adopt internationally brought

about challenges such as travel and abiding

by another country’s regulations. Regulations

that required an intense investigation into

every aspect of their life. However, that

grueling and stressful process was all worth

it in the end.

God led them across the country to Russia

to Matthew who joined their family when he

was merely a year old. Susan said, “We are so

blessed. He truly completed our family.”

Recalling his own childhood, John added,

“I was the youngest of five children when I was

adopted. I was never treated any differently

and always felt loved and cherished by my

[adopted] mother.” That same love and

adoration he felt has been poured into

Matthew’s life as well.

Susan said, “We knew we wanted a child

as young as possible so that we could really

connect and nurture him as early as possible.”

Susan explained that God had his hand in

every aspect of the adoption even down to the

location. Later they found out that many more

boys than girls are put up for adoption in

Russia. Their longing for another son truly

was destined and God paved the way and

opened all the needed doors for them that led

straight to Matthew. She said, “God really

gave us a peace throughout the process.” John

added, “Matthew adds so much to our family.

He really balances Parker’s personality with

his sensitivity.”

As young boys growing up together, Parker

recalled, “Our family is very competitive and

we have always loved playing basketball, board

games, and video games. We would make up

competitive games in just about any situation.

We would even make a car ride competitive

by searching for letters on the road and going

through the alphabet.”

Parker, now 19, and Matthew, 16, have

continued to grow and strengthen their

brotherly bond over the years. Parker said,

“I really don’t think about Matthew being

adopted. I was only three when he joined our

family and I forget he is adopted most of the

time. I have always liked having a little brother

to look after, grow up with, and happy he will

always be in my life.”

Matthew added, “I feel welcome and loved.

I know that God chose me to be a part of my

family and my parents wanted me with all

their hearts. They wanted me and pursued

me. That feels great.”

As a sophomore at Jackson Academy,

Matthew was chosen as a class favorite and

has enjoyed playing basketball and golf. Susan

said, “He is just such a neat kid, so humble,

and nice to everyone. She added, “He is very

interested in the Raider Network and doing

sports announcing and commentating for

JA. He really loves every aspect of sports.”

Matthew added, “I would love to do some

type of sports broadcasting as a hobby. I am

taking a course in broadcasting right now.

We get to commentate the junior varsity

football games and it is a lot of fun.”

Although Matthew loves all things sports,

he plans on pursuing a major in engineering

once he reaches college. He said, “I have

always loved to create and build things.”

This year, Parker graduating and leaving

for college has left a hole in the family’s hearts

and in Matthew’s daily life. Parker visits

regularly but it has still been a big adjustment.

To John, it has always been important to

spend special time together as a family. He

said, “Eating at the dinner table together is

very important to me. It’s a special time to

relax. Opportunities these days are so few

and far between because people are so busy,

its very important to relish being together as

often as they can.”

Hometown MADISON • 41


42 • NOVEMBER 2021

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Hometown MADISON • 43


A New Mission

Sunnybrook

Children’s Home

Susan Marquez

44 • NOVEMBER 2021


For 57 years, Sunnybrook Children’s Home has served

children ages five to eighteen, until they age out of Child

Protective Services. A group of people who saw a need

in the community founded Sunnybrook in 1964 in

Jackson, and for many years, that need has been met

on the beautifully shaded campus on Sunnybrook Road

in Ridgeland.

The mission of Sunnybrook was simple: that every child and

youth in Mississippi will experience the advantages associated

with growing up in a healthy Christian family environment.

No matter what their background is, children have found a

safe haven there with hope for a better future.

With changes in legislation and the goal of putting as many

children in foster care as possible back with a familial unit, the

role of Sunnybrook has changed to meet the growing need of

those young adults who have transitioned out of CPS. There is

now a new mission: to receive transitional-age youth, initiate

and strengthen their overall personal development while at

Sunnybrook, and support them as they create and execute a

personal plan toward their next step of independence. “They

simply aren’t ready for life in the real world,” says Ron Veasey,

who serves as the director of development at Sunnybrook.

“Many don’t have a high school degree or GED. They don’t

have a driver’s license, a car, a job, or money, so many end up

on the streets or in jail. Older youth exiting the foster care system

have significantly more negative outcomes than young people

raised in a typical home environment. The statistics are horrible,

as one can imagine.”

The Transitional Living Program at Sunnybrook is for those

who have aged out of the foster care system, as well as those

who have been emancipated before turning eighteen, along

with private placements due to broken adoptions. Tier One is

for kids 16 to 18 who need more supervision. Tier Two is for kids

18 to 22 who don’t need as much supervision but may need

assistance with things like getting a driver’s license, applying for

FAFSA and more. “We work with them all on basic life skills that

will help them as they go out into the world,” says Ron. “We have

a psychologist on staff as well to assist them with the difficult

things they have seen and experienced.”

Ron has a real heart for the work Sunnybrook does. “When I

was five years old, my parents brought home a boy who was

nine, almost ten, and they told me he was my new brother. He

came into our family as a foster child.” Ron never questioned his

parents. He always thought of Harry as his older brother and a

part of the family, but he says it was confusing. The child cycled

in and out of their home over the years, going back with his

mother, then back to Methodist Children’s Home before

returning to Ron’s family’s home. “He is 64 years old now. My

parents helped put him through college and actually modeled

Sunnybrook’s mission of helping bridge the gap for a vulnerable

foster child who ages-out of the system. I’ve witnessed my

brother face serious challenges that would be devastating had

he not had a family or a resource to catch him before he fell

too far. He’s worked hard his entire adult life, has a good

marriage, and has two children and two grandchildren. He is

family, and the cycle of dependency has been broken. At my

father’s funeral my brother spoke of the guidance, direction,

discipline, and most of all the love that he received from my

dad and family from nine years old to present.”

When Ron retired from a 33-year career at Trustmark in 2020,

he stayed home for about six months. However, he got restless

and knew he needed to do something with a purpose. “When I

saw this position open, I knew it was right up my alley. I applied

for the job and began working at Sunnybrook June 1 of this

year,” says Ron. “This position is more of a calling than a job.”

Ron admits that the position has stretched him further than

he planned. “With the marketing aspect of the job, I’ve become

a bit more left-brained. There is a creative aspect to this, figuring

out how to reach the right folks with the right message. I’m

getting the hang of it now. I’ve got the wind in my sails! We have

a wonderful staff who works with our residents to help them

become productive citizens. A donation made to Sunnybrook

is an investment in not only the residents here today, but also

a future investment in the generations of that resident and our

community as a whole.”

The transitional program isn’t that old, and already Ron says

they’ve seen several success stories. “We are fortunate that

Holmes Community College is just next door. We have five

attending college there this semester. Holmes has been a good

partner for us.” Through its programming, staffing, and facilities,

Sunnybrook is specifically ministering to these hard-to-reach

young people. “Our goal is to give these young people the tools

they need to succeed and thrive as engaged members of the

community.”

Due to the COVID pandemic, the annual fundraiser for

Sunnybrook has been cancelled for the second time this year.

“We couldn’t, in good conscious, hold the event,” says Ron.

Instead, there will be a live stream event on YouTube with

Marshall Ramsey on November 4th at 3:00. “This will be a

unique way to tell our story. Marshall does a fantastic job in

illustrating what we do to help donors truly understand what

it takes to transition these young folks from foster care to

being productive, successful citizens.” As Ron says, “I have

witnessed personally the mission statement of Sunnybrook

in my life, and seen a needy child’s cycle of dependence and

hopelessness broken.”

Hometown MADISON • 45


SALUTE

to First Responders

What made you decide to become a policeman?

I am originally from Meridian, where my dad served as a fire chief as well

as in the military/National Guard. I have always really admired my dad

and how he handles himself and treats people. He has always looked out

for the underdog and raised me and my brother to do the same. I wanted

to be in a position to have a positive impact on the community around

me, and that is what led me to be a policeman.

How long have you been with the Madison PD?

I have been with the Madison PD for two years. After graduating from

MSU, I was in corporate America for almost 20 years, working for a great

company. I never lost the desire to support the community in a leadership

role, so after talking with my wife and praying through what direction to

take, I decided to make a career change.

Tell us about your family.

My wife Haley and I have been married for 15 years this past October.

She graduated from Ole Miss, so we have split household! We have two

beautiful daughters, ages 13 and 10, who are both a part of the wonderful

Madison school system.

What is the toughest thing you’ve experienced in your job?

By far the hardest part of my job is when I see adults make bad decisions

around kids, and the psychological impact it has on them. Kids are much

smarter than we realize, and absorb much more than we even know.

I feel that it is my responsibility as a Christian and as a human being to

lift them up in these situations.

Patrolman

Bryce

McCARRA

MADISON POLICE DEPARTMENT

Share some things you enjoy doing in your spare time.

In my spare time I enjoy Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a form of martial arts, because

I feel that it is good for the job, good for the mind, and is good exercise.

I also enjoy hunting deer and turkey and following MSU baseball, but

most importantly, I love to spend time with my family.

What are three things on your bucket list?

I’m 46 years old and I feel like I’ve experienced a lot of really good things

already in my life. In my corporate job I was blessed to be able to travel

the country and see beautiful places and meet some really cool people.

My objective now is to live one day at a time and to be a better dad/

husband than I was the day before, keeping my family safe and spending

quality time with them. I live every day for the Lord and pray for health

and safety for all around me.

46 • NOVEMBER 2021


Who is someone you admire and why?

I have an amazing wife. She is someone I greatly admire, for several

reasons. When I made a career change, she supported me 100%.

Haley also works full time, is actively involved in our church and

the school PTA, and she keeps me and the kids straight. She is the

rock of the family, and we are so fortunate to have her in our lives.

If you could give one piece of advice to a young person,

what would it be?

I tell young people all the time - as you get out into the real world,

do what makes you happy. A lot of people strive to make X amount

of money, and I can tell you, firsthand, that alone will not bring

you happiness. If you’re not passionate about what you do, you’re

not going to be happy. It will have a negative impact not only on

your work production, but on your home/family life as well. Do

what you’re passionate about and enjoy it. It’s not really a job if

you enjoy what you do!

What is your favorite thing about the City of Madison?

I am passionate about Madison. With everything going on in

our world, law enforcement tends to get a bad rap. However, in

Madison we have a tremendous amount of respect for and from

the city leadership and community. We look out for each other.

Madison has been the safest city in the state for the last several

years, and not because of us, but because of the people who live

here and the integrity with which they live their lives. We have a

tremendous relationship with the community and leadership, and

for that I am very thankful.

Hometown MADISON • 47


SHOP

Local

Support our Small Businesses

48 • NOVEMBER 2021


SHOP Local

T & D Furniture

Swivel Rocker Recliner $199 / Console, available in different colors $269

Apple Annie’s

Brandon & Madison

Mary Square Car Charm & Natural Diffuser

Madison Marketplace

Jill Art Designs Ornaments / Heidi Hoyle Designs Ornaments

D-Bat

Great Stocking Stuffer: Platinum & Gold Memberships

Rick’s Pro Truck

WeatherTech Pet Feeding System $64

Orca Walker Tote $199

Hometown MADISON • 49


The CHALKBOARD Madison Schools

Madison Central

Madison Central High School held

its annual homecoming festivities

September 27 - October 1.

Rowan Gentry was crowned

homecoming queen at the game

on October 1.

L-R: Sean Brewer, MCHS Principal;

Anna Kay Bumgarner, 2020 homecoming queen;

Rowan Gentry, 2021 homecoming queen,

Charlotte Seals, Madison County School

District Superintendent.

SENIOR COURT Front L-R: Reid Hewitt, Sneha Cherukuri, Jamyiyah Cotten,

Megan Staehling, (queen) Rowan Gentry, Mia Valentine. Back L-R: Vic Hollins,

CJ Barney, JT Evans, Landon Parrow, Rob Hill, Isaiah Wilson

JUNIOR COURT Front L-R: Bergen Bianchi, Mattie Dupuy, Ava Dear,

Kinsley Wilson, Avery Chambliss. Back L-R: RJ Smith, Bryman Williams,

Jake Norris, Vic Sutton, Aiden Allen

FRESHMAN COURT Front L-R: Sara Reeves Thomas, Lana Nabulsi,

Pearl Magee. Back L-R: Jaiden Johnson, Micah Jones, and JP Baldwin

SOPHOMORE COURT Front L-R: Kylira Griffin, Brooke Bumgarner, Lauren Sutton,

Hollin Brewer. Back L-R: Tyrone Richardson, Ty Miller, Harry Singh, Camden Hood

50 • NOVEMBER 2021


Financial Staff 2021-2022

Front L-R: Isabelle Anderson, Macy Thornton; Business Managers

Ann Travis Hutchinson, Camille Boles and Sarah Liza Stockett;

Catherine Lowry, Lynnlee Johnson, Megan Staehling,

Leighton Barrett, Sally Claire Stockett, Ellie Wright.

Middle L-R: Truitt Mayhue, Genna Ishee, Kate Fairburn,

Olivia Stevens, Olivia Davidson.

Back L-R: Mae Mae Davis, Brooke Bumgarner, Elle Sandifer,

Avery Johnston, Lauralee Hetzel, Sara Powell Taylor,

Cole Flesher, George Tickner, Ty Miller, Reed Cascio.

Not pictured is Landon Parrow.

Yearbook Production Staff 2021-2022

Front L-R: Abby Boyd, Kate Elizabeth Lewis, editors Nora Beth

Thomas and Grayson Franks.

Middle L-R: Rachael Carpenter, Rhyin Singleton, Audrey Jenkins,

Elizabeth Walters, Olivia Heard, Rebecca Warren, Anna Edgar.

Back L-R: Joaquin Chade-Mendez, Angel Kaur,

Mackenzie Mercer, Fancier Shi, Landry Gates, Izzy Goddard,

Sarah Corley, Lucy Hawk.

Newspaper Production Staff 2021-2022

Front L-R: Editors Adya Praveen and Taylor Martin.

Business Manager Mary Addison Loving.

Middle L-R: Allie Hurt, Caroline King, Anna Kimbrell,

Hannah Schossler, James Phillips.

Back L-R: Brittan McFadden, Avery Holland, Meredith Morrow.

2021-2022 National Merit Semifinalists and Commended Scholars

Front L-R: Semifinalist Rachel Pierce, commended scholars Neely Kiihnl, Ann Travis

Hutchinson, semifinalists Caroline Kiser, Emily Adcock, Sarah LeRoux, Rebecca Mozingo,

commended scholar Deanna Wilbourn, semifinalists Miriam Milan, Sally Claire Stockett,

Sarah Liza Stockett, commended scholars Sneha Cherukuri, Taylor Martin, semifinalists

Sarah Grace Shurden, Yumnaa Shaheen, Rebecca Lu. Back L-R: Semifinalists

Cannon Bosarge, Duncan Cavett, Will Farthing, Austin Chang, Calvin Van,

Conner Nguyen, commended scholars Cade Agostinelli, Compton Ross, Drew Harris,

semifinalists Wes Fowler, Jack Pringle, Logan Smith, Reese Sorrell, and commended

scholar Benjamin Joshua. Commended scholar Matthew Heidorn is not pictured.

Hometown MADISON • 51


The CHALKBOARD Madison Schools

MRA

7th Grade Football Team

4th Row L-R: #60 Hayden Mize, #61 Trace Rowe, #66 Cole Farris, #72 Colt Woods,

#74 Jackson Wells, #77 Nick Nelson, #80 Graham Kennedy, #84 Tripp Carroll,

3rd Row L-R: #23 Mack McIntosh, #24 Reagan Hood, #25 Bayler Foote,

#33 Peyton Hester, #52 Bobby Edgar, #54 Frazier James, #58 Judson Hamilton,

#59 Smith Street

2nd Row L-R: #13 Thomas Edwards, #14 Asher Wiggins, #15 Walt Bryson,

#16 Holt Adams (Not Pictured), #17 Biven Patterson, #18 Hayden Fiorito,

#19 Cash Myrick, #20 Bradyn Mason, #21 Gray Hancock, #22 Walker Rives

1st Row L-R: #1 Duren Melton, #2 Ty Childress, #3 Brody Brown,

#4 Brody Hillhouse (Not Pictured), #5 Trey Pentecost, #9 Towers Adams,

#10 Hayes Harless, #11 Boston Sims, #12 Pierce Ingram

MRA 5th graders Chase Joyner and Tyler Triplett

review math skills by working problems on balloons.

For activity, Rocco Frascogna and Tatum Pope got to practice rolling dough for bread.

52 • NOVEMBER 2021


Kindergarten student Graham Herron celebrates career

day. Each child gets to dress of in their career of choice

and report to their class facts about their chosen career.

Graham dressed up as a Mississippi State Football coach

complete with his own personalized playbook.

Luke Weaver dressed as a fireman

on Career Day at the kindergarten.

Kindergarten students Parker Lee Holmes and Ann

Langston Scarborough celebrate the start of school by

drawing a picture of themselves on their first day.

Kylan Andrew and dad Tony Andrew

Sykes Sturdivant and dad Micajah Sturdivant

Every year, MRA hosts Donuts with Dad. It’s a whole

week where each class gets a morning surprise of

(you guessed it) donuts with their dad. If you were a

bystander, you would see the class door open as you

heard the audible inhale of excitement and then the

united shrieks of “DAD!” Each child pulls their dad in

and does not leave their side throughout any of the

activities, that is, until the donuts get presented.

Then it is giggles while forcing donuts into dad’s mouth

and powdered sugar mustaches until the event is over.

After, there are a lot of head kisses and promises to

see them after school. Most times, there are even silent

tears from the students as they wave goodbye.

It’s mornings like this, with the shrieks of excitement,

the giggles and playfulness, and yes, even the tears,

that confirm the impact dads have. And year after year

of watching our kindergarten students come alive at the

sight of their parent walking through the door, we are

convinced that there will always be a need for events

like Donuts with Dad. We cannot thank parents enough

for missing a morning of work to have the most

impactful donut with the ones you impact the most.

Royce Vaughn and dad Jeremy Vaughn

Sykes Frances Lohman and dad Jordan Lohman

Hometown MADISON • 53


The CHALKBOARD Madison Schools

MRA

5th graders celebrate in pep-rally and prepare for ESPN to come for the

varsity football game! L-R; Fenley Bowie, Lilly Ford, Mae Myers Naccarato,

Bailey Potter, Mary Winston McCraney

5th graders led the pledge and prayer for elementary chapel.

L-R: Ella McQueen, Chase Joyner, Addison Sloan, Hayden Banks,

Stella Fuller, Lydia Cook

7th grade STEM lab students Abigail Jones, Frazier James, Brooks Fondren,

Carter Jeffress, and Meena Fountain used the scientific method to develop

a testable experiment using the physics of bottle flipping.

Ann Felder Cook, a 4th grader at MRA,

studies spores in science class.

Middle school students Charlie Maxey,

Hill Arcemont, and Avery Latham find visual

representations for vocabulary words.

5th graders Levi McPhail and Eliza Reynolds

practiced reading the weather report using

a green screen like a meteorologist.

54 • NOVEMBER 2021


Shirley Simmons

State Test Ranked Class of 2026

The current 8th grade class at Shirley Simmons has very exciting news. On the English Language Arts state test, as 7th graders, the class was ranked 11 out of over

250 other classes in the state of Mississippi. This is a prestigious and well-deserved accomplishment. Below the 8th grade class is sitting and listening attentively

as they receive instructions for the Pre-ACT. This year the MCSD administered the Pre-ACT to all 8th graders in the district. We are anxiously awaiting our results!

Congratulations to Ms. Tammy Sharpe,

SSMS Cyber Foundations I and STEM teacher,

for being chosen as the MCSD 1st Quarter

Technology Integration Award Recipient!

L-R: DeVaughan Smith, MCSD Instructional

Technology Specialist, Nashandra James,

MCSD Technology Instructional Coordinator,

Tammy Sharpe, Kelvin Griffin, SSMS Principal.

Hometown MADISON • 55




TheTime COIN

Camille Anding

I meant to – I really meant to. It was

a Sunday morning, meaning the usual

preparations for church.

I had put a roast in the oven set for a timed bake, and

a pot of string beans was getting an early cooking on the

stove top. They would only need heating before we ate

our Sunday meal, so I would turn them off like usual –

or at least I meant to turn them off!

When we pulled into our carport after church, we all

noticed the smoke curling from the sides of the back door.

In a panic rush we unlocked the door and ran through the

house – totally saturated in smoke. The beans that I meant

to turn off were billowing smoke from their charred remains.

The house smelled of smoke for days, with each whiff

reminding me of my meant to that never materialized.

Surely it was a lesson I wouldn’t have to repeat. But I did

and we do, don’t we? If it’s not an I meant

to regret, it’s an if I would have . . .

If I would have taken the route

suggested, we would have avoided

the traffic snarls or if I would have

taken better care of my body, maybe

I wouldn’t...If I would have called

her like I meant to, I wouldn’t have

missed my last chance to talk to her.

If I would have studied more in high school, college

wouldn’t have been as difficult. If I would have listened to

my parents, I might not be in this mess. If I would have

heeded the speed limit sign, I wouldn’t be paying this

speeding ticket.

Our lists grow with the years God gives us. Some

choices, some decisions, some meant tos place us in

circumstances that could have been avoided. Yet all play

roles in our lives that teach us lessons, especially if we’re

fast learners.

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and

have it more abundantly.” His life in us with Him guiding,

and us always following, wouldn’t be a guarantee that life

would be free of sin, trouble or regret, but it would,

without a doubt, lessen the pitfalls and stumbles.

As we grow older, the flimsy excuses and intentions

of I meant to or if I would have

diminished due to the hourglass of

time subtracting them. That’s why we

need to learn from our mistakes

and meant tos. Proverbs 1 gives wise

advice: “Let the wise listen and add to

their learning.”

58 • NOVEMBER 2021



You can postpone

the vacation.

You can postpone

the vacation.

But don’t put of f your

But don’t put of f your

health care.

Many things have been postponed because of the pandemic,

Many things have been postponed because of the pandemic,

but your health care shouldn’t be delayed. Routine screenings

but and annual your health wellness care exams shouldn’t can help identify be delayed. health issues Routine in the screenings

and earliest annual stages, wellness when they exams are most can treatable. help identify health issues in the

earliest stages, when they are most treatable.

Our providers are committed to helping you stay well. We are

Our taking providers extra precautions are committed to provide to a safe helping and clean you stay environment well. We are

and offer both in-person and telehealth appointments.

taking extra precautions to provide a safe and clean environment

and Make offer your both health in-person a priority and and schedule telehealth an appointments. today.

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Make your health a priority and schedule an appointment today.

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