Featured Story

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fred Johnson talks with ninth graders at North Panola High School, including Wanda McKinney (left). Sitting at the table in blue shirt is Ole Miss senior cornerback Jeremy McGee. Photos by Ken Daugherty

Fred Johnson (from left), Jeremy McGee, Jennifer Mock and Frenchie Sanford talk about how to help 9th graders improve graduation rates and attitudes.

Social worker, Ole Miss cornerback visit NP 9th graders

By Ken Daugherty
North Panola High School Graduate Fred Johnson visited the school’s 9th graders recently as part of an ongoing mentoring program.
Johnson offered encouragement:
“You’re better than they say you are,” said Johnson.  “Let’s start with this year, your 9th grade year, and not let up.” 
“People are not going to give you something if you are not going to use it.”
“They will give you a new school if you prove to them that you will use it,” according to Johnson.  Johnson recalled the days when North Panola was outstanding in sports. Now he said that South Panola has taken over in the football arena.  It hasn’t always been that way, according to Johnson, a 1975 graduate.  “Sports is another way to go to college,” added Johnson.
Johnson described how he was the only one of ten children to finish college.  He promised his mother that he would do that, and he kept it.  Furthermore, he remembered the days of not having running water when in high school, but the poverty did not stop his desire to improve his educational level.  “You have got to make up your mind and follow through,” Johnson said.
“We need to act like a team at North Panola, he continued.”  Crenshaw, Como, and Sardis “don’t need to be messing with each other,” according to Johnson.  “We need to work together to see some good things come about and out of the North Panola School District.”
Special guest for the recent mentoring session was Jeremy McGee. The senior corner back for Ole Miss talked to the 9th grade about how to improve their ability to be successful, too.  He was born and raised in the 6th Ward of New Orleans, and described how he came to the conclusion that he had to leave that place and get an education in order to prevent him from becoming just like it.  He plans to try to get a position as a professional football player, but if not, he wants to finish his social work degree at Ole Miss and return to the 6th Ward to help others like himself.  He wants to find a way to give back to his community, he told the students.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox