Head Start celebrates 57 years of service

Published 8:50 pm Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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Submitted by Laura Hunter

The Lowndes County Board of Education Head Start program celebrates 57 years this month, a benchmark that represents service to the children and families of Lowndes County since 1966.

As part of the milestone celebration, children at each location participated in celebrations and special events.

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Head Start held its 50th Annual Appreciation Banquet on May 4, at Embassy Suites Hotel-Montgomery. The theme for the program was “Under Our “Big Top”. 

The following individuals assisted with the program: Angela Calhoun, education/disabilities as mistress of order, Stephanie Scott – Fort Deposit Head Start PreK teacher who gave the welcome, Reverend Robert Grant, school system board member, who delivered the invocation and blessing, and Lashica Mason McCall, fiscal manager who introduced the keynote speaker. 

Keynote speaker Alabama State Representative Kelvin Lawrence House District 69 delivered dynamic words of encouragement.

U.S. Congresswoman Terri Sewell’s office provided Lowndes County Board of Education Head Start with a proclamation commemorating the annual event. 

After the event, then Head Start Director Samita L. Jeter provided WSFA-12 with an interview regarding the occasion. 

The following individuals were honored for volunteering and donating in-kind items throughout the 2022-2023 school year:

Most Participation

Central Head Start – Cee Shanks in first place, Jessica Shuford in second place and Brianna McPherson in third place.

Fort Deposit Head Start – Stacy Rudolph in first place, Jeremy Hardy, Sr. in second place and Jaqueline Allen in third place.

Jackson-Steele Head Start – Kandance Thomas in first place, Sonya Gresham in second place, and Robyn Raven in third place.

Parent of the Year

Tenease Lawrence, a parent at Central Head Start, was awarded parent of the year.

Grandparents of the Year

First place went to Joann Williams at Central Head Start. Second place was awarded to Ceilia Allen-Sellers at Fort Deposit Head Start with third place being awarded to Dorine Smith at Jackson=Steele Head Start.

Fathers of the Year

David Miles at Central Head Start was awarded first place, followed by Travis Mendenhall, Sr. at Fort Deposit Head Start in second place and Brandon Thomas at Jackson-Steele Head Start in third place.

Volunteer of the Year

Roscoe Miller, Owner of radio station WKXN 95 was awarded volunteer of the year.

The L.D. Flowers Memorial Award was given to Carmen O’Donnell.

Community Partners of the Year included Thomas Ellis with Priester’s Pecans, Ruby Jones-Thomas, the then Lowndes County Circuit Clerk, and Rebecca Bates-Sloane with Bates House of Turkey.

Head Start also wants to acknowledge Lowndes County Board of Education Head Start Policy Council members, Lowndes County Public School Board Members, Lowndes County Commissioners, Lowndes County Department of Human Resources, Lowndes County District Judge Adrian Johnson, Lowndes County Probate Judge Lashandra Myrick, the Family Guidance Center of Alabama, the Hayneville/Lowndes Public Library, Hope Inspired Ministries, and HIPPY Lowndes.

On May 6, Head Start hosted its 23rd annual fishing trip at Rhyne’s Lake in Hayneville. The event offered enrolled families to mingle with community supporters and have a little competition for smallest and largest catch.

Promise Haygood earned awards for largest, and most fish caught. Darnell Mendenhall and Kylie Knight tied for the smallest fish.

Central Head Start had the most participation for the event and the Davison Family was recognized as the family with the most participation.