Sunday, October 29, 2006


I love Mississippi. I was born and raised here, and too many times, she is not treated with the respect that she deserves. All too often, stereotypes begin to play a key roll when people speak the name of Mississippi. But to me, these stereotypes are not true. Most people have a sense of fear when they come to Mississippi for the first time. It is that, “Lock the door when driving through there” mentality. They seem to believe that racism stills reigns, but I disagree. In fact, most of my friends are black. We all have a great relationship with each other. Hence, people should not automatically make assumptions about a certain place. The truth is that you will find genuine people who put other needs before their own. Mississippi is the most giving state in the Union, per capita. Morgan Freeman once said that “I did not choose Mississippi, but she chose me.” I totally agree with this statement. In fact, I am glad that she chose me. From the vast Mississippi Delta to the gentle rolling hills, Mississippi has so much to offer. This past summer, Matt Lochen and I took a 7 day tour of Mississippi. We stayed with people that I knew all along the way. We went through the Delta to Merigold, Yazoo City, Clarksdale, Belzoni, and many other small unique places. We then went down to Vicksburg and Natchez. We then headed down towards Jerry Clower’s home at Route 4, Liberty, Mississippi. We went to the gulf coast to see the area devastated by Hurricane Katrina. To say the least, it was a fun . Matt was able to see what all Mississippi had to offer, and I was able to see thing that I had never seen before. From this, I really saw what Mississippi really is. She is a wonderful state with great people who love and value each other.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Football, nothing else like it!

As everyone knows, I love football. For as long as I can remember, I have been a huge football fan. So many times, football gets put under the microscope, so to speak. Many people do not believe that football should be held in high regards. While I agree with this, I also disagree with this. Academics are the most important things in a school. However, for so many students football is their form of "enjoyment" when it comes to high school. Football is "their way out, " so to speak. Anyway, football is important to so many students, and it gives them an opportunity to be actively involved in the high school activites.

This past Friday, the largest game in the state of Mississippi was played at Olive Branch High School. In fact, it was named as the game of the week in the USA Today. The number 1 team took on the number 2 team. That is right, South Panola High School took on Olive Branch High School. It was one of the most exciting football games that I have been to in a long time. We had to be at the school pretty much the entire day to help with parking and other things. By 5:30, the campus was packed and we had closed the campus. By 7:30 the stadium was closed as over 8,000 fans packed the stadium. It was so exciting to be there. Everyone was happy and cheering for their Tigers or Conquistadors. In the end, South Panola won 12 to 7. However, Olive Branch should have won the game. They lost due to a fumble on one of the last drives of the game. To say the least, it was a great game, and it provided a way for us to come together as an Olive Branch family.

Getting Kids to do Their Homework

To get students to do their homework, this is never an easy task. I struggled for a semester with class averages in the basement in Pre-Algebra. Everyone told me with Pre-Algebra not to expect a miracle. They said that normally class averages would be in the high 60s, and I would have to accept that and move on. At Christmas last year, I decided to change that. At that time, I had two classes of Pre-Algebra. Both of their averages were in the mid 60s. Everyone kept telling me how good that was for those classes. The problem was that they were not doing their homework. Homework counts about 50% to 60% of my average. So, if you don't do your homework, you will fail. I decided to turn it into a class competition. I wrote both of the class averages at the top of the board. Each day, I updated them. I told them that whoever had the highest average at the end of the nine weeks, I would give them a pizza party. They didn't exactly understand the concept of how to get their averages to go up. So, I told them that I would make a deal with them. I told them that if everyone would do their homework and bring it to class, I would promise them that their class average would go up. If it didn't I would eat my notebook. So, the next day, everyone had their homework. The class average shot up by 2 points. The kids got so excited! Both class averages began to rise. The kids were doing their homework. By May, both class averages were in the mid 70s. This was a huge accomplishment. This year, I started out with the same procedure. As I look at my front board, my Pre-Algebra averages are 78, 77, 76, and 80. So, it is clear that this will work. Turn your homework into a class competition, and they will improve. If you only have one class of a particular subject, then set the bar high. For example, tell them that if they get an 80 class average, then you will give them a reward.