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Greater Metro

‘Rest in love’ Tina Birchett

Tina-Birchett-600Tina L. Birchett – CEO and publisher of Birchett & Associates, comprised of the Sisterhood Outreach Summit & Showcase and GRACE® Magazine – has passed away.

News of Birchett's passing was a stunner. "What...Say it ain't so...," Carla Stotts Hills posted on Facebook soon after getting the word.

Many others shared the sentiment.

"Praying for Tina Birchett's family," Deidre Malone of the Carter-Malone Group, wrote in her post. "We were in Leadership Memphis together. She was an astute businesswoman and she will be missed."

J.U.G.S. - 60 years of good works

JUGS-1-600The year was 1953 and two Memphis teachers – Josephine Bridges and Dr. Sarah Chandler – were in their twenties when they founded a group called Just Us Girls.

Now the women's organization is known as Justice, Unity, Generosity, Service International - J.U.G.S. And this year, Memphis was the host site for "A Diamond Celebration" – the group's 60th anniversary.

"We renamed it Justice, Unity, Generosity, Service after we started having charity balls and needed a more serious name," said the 81-year-old Bridges, who conceived the plan to improve the lives of children using a small group of committed women.

Still relevant says Afro American Police Assoc.

Cliff Dates-600Grounded in the belief that a sound police department is at the core of any municipality, members of the Afro American Police Association (AAPA) are rock-solid sure that the group – now 40 years old – is still vitally relevant for the sake and safety of the City of Memphis.

This weekend, the AAPA will celebrate its 40th Anniversary.

President Chris Price says the AAPA's unity is still fed by its founders' commitment. While racism is less of an overt influence, the current AAPA leans heavily on its history to maintain its commitment and morale.

  • Written by Tony Jones
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Cato Johnson elected THEC chairman

Cato-Johnson-300The Tennessee Higher Education Commission – the public policy coordinating body for the state's public higher education system – has unanimously elected Cato Johnson as its new chairman.

"I look forward to helping the commission reach its goal of increasing the educational attainment beyond high school so that more Tennesseans with college degrees can make positive contributions to our workforce needs," said Johnson, who served as vice-chairman last year.

"I want to thank Cato for his work on the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC)," Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said. "I look forward to working with him as chair, and I appreciate his willingness to serve Tennessee in this new capacity."

LeMoyne-Owen College nets $1.7 million grant

LOC-200The LeMoyne-Owen College has won a five-year $1.7 million National Science Foundation grant for its new Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) implementation project. The funded project is the College's "Moving Forward – Steps to Graduate School" program.

Congressman Steve Cohen visited the LOC campus on Friday to help the college announce this major achievement.

"I'm glad that we have made this important investment in our students at LeMoyne-Owen College," said Cohen. "This effort to build on the school's already-proven projects will go a long way towards preparing undergraduates for successful careers in good-paying fields."

Star treatment greets Hanley students

Hanley elem-2-600Aspire Public Schools opened its first school outside of California on Monday (Aug. 5) and for the students at Hanley Elementary School that meant star treatment.

Students filed into Hanley on a red carpet, passing under a balloon-adorned archway. Each registered student received a free uniform shirt.

"This is our inaugural school year in Memphis," said James Willcox, Aspire's chief executive officer. "Our team has been planning for this day for over a year and is excited about bringing our educational model to the students here in Memphis."

Supt. Hopson marks historic start of 2013-14

Super Hopson-600At the end of the first day of school Monday (Aug. 5) in the new Shelby County Schools system, new Supt. Dorsey E. Hopson II Esq. reached out to parents and the community with a special letter.

Here's what he conveyed:

"The first day of our school year is undoubtedly a historic day for our 145,000 Shelby County Schools students and for all of Shelby County. Words cannot express how thankful I am for everyone who has worked so hard over the past several years to ensure we were prepared for this moment.

"As you are well aware, the past several months have been particularly demanding as we have transitioned to a unified school district. Though we have all faced a number of challenges, our students continue to impress me. Despite the merger-related distractions that are ever-present across our community, our students have received numerous national awards, made impressive academic gains, received prestigious scholarships and competed at the highest levels in sports and other extra curricular activities. The families of our students deserve much credit for keeping our students focused, as do our teachers and principals for their continued dedication.

Student iTeen Report: Back to school thoughts & advice

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The time has come for waking up early and staying up late with homework. That’s right, school. As of Monday morning, students all over the Mid-South are back in classrooms with their pencils sharpened and binders handy.

Deidra-Shores-160Personally, I’m a bit nervous about my junior year in high school. I haven’t always had the best study habits and this year is when I need them most. This isn’t 10th grade anymore. More is expected of you and you have greater responsibilities. Now that I’ve gotten my permit and started driving, I really am starting to understand the importance of this year as a whole.

I spoke with five Memphis teenagers about what they hope to get out of their junior and senior years of high school. Kayla Little, Eboni Johnson, Angelica Owens, Latifa Alijuma and Fredrick Alexander spoke with me about high-school life, including the things they are excited about and the things they fear.

 


 

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Kayla Little is a junior at Cordova High School, where she is heavily involved in the Cordova High chamber orchestra. She has practice after school throughout the week and is involved in performances at various places around the city. Not only is Kayla a gifted violinist, she’s also involved in the MIFA C.O.O.L program – a college readiness program that provides the basics and more so that students are ready the day they head off for college.

One step closer to graduating, Kayla says she’s ready for all the excitement the 11th grade will bring with all old and new friends. Now, along with excitement, also come fears about the junior-year standardized tests that play a major role in the pursuit of college.

I asked Kayla for her advice to new sophomores. She said, “Take yourself a bit more seriously…grades and classes are more serious now than you think they are.”

 


 

 

 

 


Eboni Johnson, a senior at Middle College High School, has taken an interest in photography and it’s now a big part of her life in and outside of school. She is a part of the modeling society and a dedicated member of her school’s volleyball and basketball teams.

Her upcoming senior trips have her excited, as well as being a part of student council and homecoming.

Eboni’s advice for incoming juniors is that hard work is the key. She says if you do it right, you will really understand the meaning of hard work. She also says that new juniors should try their hardest on the A.C.T and take it as often as possible with the goal of getting better and better.

Eboni says that what scares her most is that she’s finally about to go off to college. There’s only one year left of living at home. She’s really focused on making the best grades she can and meeting every requirement for graduation.

 


 

Angelica-Owens-150Southwind High School senior Angelica Owens is an author, with a new book due for release in September. She loves shopping, sports, writing, and above all, talking.

With the end of high school in sight, Angelica is buckling down and getting prepared for college. Extremely excited about the senior prom, she isn’t afraid of anything about her senior year because she has been preparing for a while.

 Here’s her advise to the juniors: “Study like your life depends on it, because you have an endless number of tests.” Junior year, she says, must be taken very seriously because it’s preparing you for your senior year and eventually college.

 


 

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Latifa Alijuma is a junior at Cordova high school and heavily involved in activities in and out of school, including F.B.L.A., future business leaders of America. She is also in the national Spanish honors society, which prepares students for the future in business. They frequently volunteer in disadvantaged neighborhoods and schools. They also compete in regional and national competitions.

Latifa has set a lot of personal goals for her junior year and she’s ready to accomplish them. She is taking all advanced placement classes and trying her best to pass them so she can get college credits.

 Her words of advice for rising sophomores are that it’s easy to get really lazy. But don’t do it. She says most tenth graders don’t understand the importance of the year until it’s over.

 Fredrick Alexander is a junior at Frasier High School, where he plays basketball. Now that he is a junior, graduation is feeling real, he said. He’s already looking into different colleges and universities, where he wants to major in engineering.

 He says what frightens him is the idea of several tests ahead. He is preparing for the A.C.T and S.A.T. and hopes to do well on both.

 Fredrick says that if he could give a word of advice to a new sophomore it would be to stay active in school and stay on top of your grades. Every little effort counts, he says.

 (Deidra Shores, former NBC “Today Show Kid Reporter” and student at Cordova High School, is the TSD iTeen Reporter.)

  • Written by Deidra Shores, Special to The New Tri-State Defender
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