PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Walk down the halls of Colmer Middle School and you'll think you're in the Pascagoula Hall of Fame. Faces of Pascagoula School District alums will greet and inspire students this coming school year.
It's the newest step in the district's Destination Graduation campaign. Superintendent Wayne Rodolfich said the poster campaign is designed to honor successful alums and to inspire current students to greatness.
"We're taking pictures of students who have graduated from the Pascagoula School District, and we're making posters of where they have gone, and some have been Heisman trophy candidates. Some have played in the NFL. Some are now jet pilots. Some have graduated from Annapolis Naval Academy, West Point. Some have graduated from ivy leage schools," Rodolfich said. "We're trying to have a visual for our students to see that from these hallways, they can go anywhere in the world."
Colmer Middle School Principal Wanda Fishburn said she's excited about the posters because she thinks the homegrown talent will help motivate students more than anything else.
"So much about life for them is about the folks on TV, and they're not real," she said. "But these are people that we can call up and come to our school. That's real, and these kids are looking for real."
The graduation rate in the school district is just less than 80%. This year the district has made several changes to help that number climb. They've beefed up curriculum, added pre-AP classes and realigned the middle schools.
"This is the best year that we've had since I came to Pascagoula," Rodolfich said. "Since Hurricane Katrina, we really feel like we're turning the corner right now."
They hope local heros like these will inspire students to succeed.
"That's what this is about," Fishburn said. "Is taking them forward, not only during destination graduation but through college. We want them to be productive citizens who are capable and able."
The Pascagoula School District is looking for successful alums to feature on posters. If you know of any home-grown success stories that could be featured on a poster, you're invited to contact the district.