MADISON • RIDGELAND • FLORA • CANTON • GLUCKSTADT
V76 / 1121
2 • JULY 2021
Hometown MADISON • 3
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4 • NOVEMBER 2021
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Hometown MADISON • 5
6 • NOVEMBER 2021
FROM OUR CONSULTING EDITOR
Here we are with the last
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.
IN THIS ISSUE
PUBLISHER & 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
...see you around town.
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
Why did you decide to make Madison
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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
Flexible & Fast Mortgages
It’s a CNB Thing.
Greg Shows, Vice President / Mortgage Originator
601.607.3725 | (c) 601.573.9262
Buy or refinance today.
“ We’re a local community bank,
so our mortgage turnaround times
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Castlewoods Banking Centre 102 Plaza Dr. | Flowood, MS
Madison Banking Centre 114 Grandview Blvd. | Madison, MS
Pear Orchard Banking Centre 744 South Pear Orchard Rd. | Ridgeland, MS
Hometown MADISON • 13
14 • NOVEMBER 2021
PHOTOS: Coriss Watson Photography
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
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
Madison County Business
Madison County Economic
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
“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,
Prince of Peace.”
AAA will behosting aseries
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
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.
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
• 1 large bag of vanilla wafers
• 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!
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.
Blueberry Cream Cheese
• 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
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
Christmas Sausage Bread
• 1 loaf of frozen bread dough
• 1 tube of Tennessee Pride
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
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
• ½ cup olive oil
• 2 cups Italian cheese
• 2 cups Italian bread crumbs
• 2 12 oz. bags frozen French style
• 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
Hometown MADISON • 25
‘Tis the Season
YAZOO CITY | F LORA | FLOWOOD | CROSSGATES
26 • NOVEMBER 2021
Hometown MADISON • 27
A New Era
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
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
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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Hometown MADISON • 33
34 • NOVEMBER 2021
Retired Master Sergeant
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
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
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
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
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
He predestined and lovingly
planned for us to be adopted to
Himself as His own children.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Hometown MADISON • 45
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.
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
Support our Small Businesses
48 • NOVEMBER 2021
T & D Furniture
Swivel Rocker Recliner $199 / Console, available in different colors $269
Brandon & Madison
Mary Square Car Charm & Natural Diffuser
Jill Art Designs Ornaments / Heidi Hoyle Designs Ornaments
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
58 • NOVEMBER 2021
You can postpone
You can postpone
But don’t put of f your
But don’t put of f your
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.
Make your health a priority and schedule an appointment today.