Support Continues: Despite the global pandemic, Millington Education Foundation finds a way to give back to schools

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By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Melvin Burgess, Shelby County Assessor of Property, spoke at the March Millington Area Chamber of Commerce Luncheon held at the Hampton Inn & Suites and catered by Olympic Steak and Pizza. A video of Burgess’ speech can be heard on The Millington Star Newspaper Facebook page. Burgess outlined property values for Flag City during his time addressing the Chamber members. Also taking place at the Chamber Luncheon was a check presentation to the Millington Education Foundation on behalf of the Chamber. Chamber Executive Director Terry Roland made a pledge back in November the organization would make a donation to the MEF.

On Nov. 16 a tradition continued despite a global pandemic.

Since 2015, the Millington Education Foundation has hosted a grant presentation ceremony to give money to E.A. Harrold Elementary, Millington Elementary, Millington Middle School and Millington Central High School. 

In the past all four schools have hosted the new Flag City tradition with special guest from Mayor Terry Jones, City Manager Ed Haley, Millington Aldermen, Millington Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Terry Roland and more. 

The 2020 grant ceremony was also in jeopardy because typical fundraisers were canceled. But the MEF Board of Cary Vaughn, Mark Healy, Karroll Warberg, Karla Hornsby, Beth Hearn, Rebecca Fears, Chuck Hurt Jr., LeAnna Dagen, Randy Hart, Jeremy Tincher, Rosie Crawford, Mark Neal and Thomas Sellers Jr. came held virtual meetings insisting grants would be rewarded to the Millington Municipal Schools. 

With mask and social distancing, dozen guests arrived to the Millington Performance Arts Center to present the four schools with $3,000 each to assist with academic funding. Nearby watching principals, administrators and teachers receive the checks from Vaughn were MMSD Superintendent James “Bo” Griffin. 

“It means we have the best stakeholders of any school district,” Griffin said. “For our Education Foundation to come up with $12,000 after not being able to raise a nickle this year is amazing. They knew we had short coming. But that’s what great about our community. 

“We always come together for our kids,” he added. “It doesn’t matter like if there’s a situation like today or there is a catastrophe, Millington comes together to take care of its own. That’s what so great about One Millington. It doesn’t matter if you work for the city, the school system, you’re a police officer, a firefighter it doesn’t matter. We all work together for the betterment of our kids.”

The Millington Education Foundation entered the 2020 ceremony already presenting $100,201.79 since reforming in 2014. Already in 2020, Millington resident Tony Johnson donated $5,000 to the schools. Roland announced the Chamber will donate to the Education Foundation in the near future. 

All the recipients were grateful for the donations and MCHS Principal Mark Neal announced the Fine Arts Departments will benefit from the grant money on his campus. Griffin said the hard working and unselfish staff of MMSD will make sure the $12,000 goes to the first priority — the children.

“There’s not a teacher in the world that does this for the pay,” he said. “I will never be able to pay what these teachers are worth. They make sacrifices and they truly love on their kids every day. And that’s the biggest thing. That’s why us being in school is so important. We’re their safe haven. 

“Some come from broken homes or may have situations at home that when they come to school they know somebody is going to be there for them,” Griffin continued. “They’re going to be positive and going to take care of them. These teachers show it everyday. They’re doing impossible work every day. That’s why they’re miracle workers.”

With the new teaching formats because of the pandemic, Griffin said he is humbled and honored to see the men and women of MMSD perform their callings. 

“The teachers are teaching twice as many courses, with half as much pay, half as much resources,” he concluded. “They’re still getting it done. I see it everyday whether it’s virtual meetings or in person. They work together to get things done. It’s a team effort and I am extremely blessed to be a part of this organization.” 

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