Editorials

In South Mississippi, it takes each of us to help lift up schools

AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALDKen Turner, right, tutors Kreole Elementary second-grader Dorian Johnson on Feb. 24 in Moss Point. Turner and his wife, Sheila, tutor at the school four days a week. They take turns going on their lunch break to help students with their reading.
AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALDKen Turner, right, tutors Kreole Elementary second-grader Dorian Johnson on Feb. 24 in Moss Point. Turner and his wife, Sheila, tutor at the school four days a week. They take turns going on their lunch break to help students with their reading. SUN HERALD

This is the power of one. Or in this case, the power of two.

Karen Nelson first treated our readers to the story of the Turners, Ken and Sheila, and the magic they work at a small Moss Point school.

One of the Turners shows up every Tuesday through Friday at Kreole Elementary to spend their lunch hour with a child in a spartan room, and with not much more than a table and chairs, helps a child learn to read.

The second-graders get a running start toward the third-grade gate that could hold them back if they don't learn to read at grade level in third grade.

The Turners don't have special training but they have a knack for getting through to a struggling child.

"They do well for the Turners," their second-grade teacher, Tujuanna Likely, said. "They take pride; the kids want the Turners to see them do well."

And there is the lesson for us all.

There are many problems in Mississippi. And the state of some of our schools is one of them.

And we can complain, and we can call our legislators and we can expect little to change. Or we can do what the Turners have done.

The Turners run an auto parts store and garage in Pascagoula. They aren't professional educators and yet they found a way to make a difference in a student's life. One on one. Without a computer in sight.

And it's an experience that, for them, has its rewards.

"They get a word," Ken Turner said. "You see that little light come on, that's reward enough."

And each of us has something to offer our schools besides our tax dollars. Others volunteer in cafeterias, or help clean up, or brighten the schools with decorations.

"If more parents would come in even just once in a while, it would help so much," said Karen Logan, the Bulletin Board Lady at Kreole. "You can do a bulletin board for $2. It's something anyone can do. It doesn't have to be complicated."

Most of us have an extra hour, an extra couple of bucks. We can't think of a better way to invest them.

This editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists, and cartoonists are their own.

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