Coldwater, Miss. Mayor Jessie J. Edwards knows when something unusual has happened in is neck of the woods and recently took note of such an event.
The happening was the Back to School Conference in Coldwater Cultural Center. The "unusual" wasn't the conference, which has an eight-year history. It was the crowd.
Students, parents, teachers, friends and well-wishers turned out until the annual conference's biggest crowd ever – standing room only at 275 – had assembled.
The theme of the conference was "Reading, Writing and Arithmetic." The topic presenters were Debra Steele, Tennessee Department of Education (reading); Monica Barnes-Williams, retired teacher, Tate County Schools, Memphis City Schools (writing); and Sharon Johnson, teacher, Tate County Schools, Coldwater High School ( arithmetic).
Others appearing on the program were: Robert Skipper, principal of Coldwater High School; Rev. W. T. Reynolds, pastor, Mt. Calm MB Church; Alderwomen, Belinda Sandridge and Donzella Jefferies; Erica Walters of Health Help; Ozella Ward, Coldwater PTA; Maurice Robinson, the Tate County Chapter of the NAACP; Mattie Watkins, the Mississippi Industrial College Alumni Assoc., Inc.' Tasha Sow, the Jessie J. Edwards Public Library; and Wert Spiva, COLD, Inc.
The keynote address was delivered by Federal Judge Bernice B. Donald, who sits on the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Donald a native of Olive Branch, focused on history, self-discipline, good study habits, and perseverance.
The first 125 students to enter the building received free school supplies and a book bag. Several gift certificates were given away, with lunch provided for all participants.