STARKVILLE, Miss.--Mississippi State will use a new $10,000 grant from the Starkville Oktibbeha Achieving Results community foundation to help create an on-campus outreach center focused on rural education.
David Shaw, the university's vice president for research and economic development, said SOAR's generous contribution will be instrumental in helping the university address "our city, county and state's tremendous educational challenges, needs and opportunities."
Announcement of the grant took place earlier this week during a press conference at the Hilton Garden Inn.
"The needs of rural education are very different than those of inner-city schools," Shaw said. "When you're dealing with poverty situations or family challenges at home, those kinds of challenges are very different than what most education centers are focused on.
"Where better to do research on how to improve the educational system than here at Mississippi State, a top-flight research university," he added.
Shaw said the partnership school "will allow sixth and seventh graders from the city and county to come to our campus and be educated in partnership with our College of Education and faculty across the entire university."
The outreach center also will feature a teaching and research laboratory, which Shaw said "not only will provide Mississippi State with the opportunity to reach out and play an active role in the local community, but it also will serve as a place where we can bring teachers, superintendents and principals from across the entire state of Mississippi to watch the very best teaching techniques and learn from new curricula that are being developed right here on our campus."
SOAR was established in 2002 as an affiliate of Northeast Mississippi's CREATE Community Foundation. Since 2005, it has awarded more than $100,000 to more than two dozen different organizations and projects in Starkville and other Oktibbeha County communities.
So far this year, SOAR contributions totaling $23,339 are being shared among eight different local organizations.
While SOAR's endowment fund is invested and managed by CREATE, a local board of directors retains control over funds distributed to community organizations. The current board includes John Robert Arnold, Larnzy Carpenter, Bobby Crosland, Suzanne Dressel, Dora Herring, Pat Lane, Paul Millsaps, Fenton Peters, Buddy Staggers, Nellah Taylor, Charles Weatherly, Martha Wells, Ross Williams and Marty Wiseman.
In addition to MSU, other entities receiving 2014 grant awards include Starkville's First United Methodist Church; Friends of the Starkville Public Library; Oktibbeha-Starkville Emergency Response Volunteer Services; Starkville High School's art department; Starkville Community Theatre; Starkville's Youth Taking Authority; and recent Oktibbeha County GED graduates.
Visit www.createfoundation.com/default.aspx to learn more about the foundation and SOAR. To make a tax-deductible donation to SOAR, contact Charles Weatherly, awards committee chair, at 662-617-0948, or Jan Eastman, executive director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more on MSU's Office of Research and Economic Development, see www.research.msstate.edu.
Complete information on MSU is found at www.msstate.edu.