ITTA BENA, Miss.—Mississippi Valley State University joined representatives from the Greenville Public School District (GPSD) in celebrating the inaugural class of the GPSD Early College during a special opening ceremony Wednesday, Aug. 22.
Stationed on MVSU's campus, the early college offers select GPSD students the opportunity to gain college credit while earning their high school diploma.
The ceremony, hosted in MVSU’s Business Education Building Auditorium, was designed to formally welcome the 10th graders to MVSU’s campus and give community members and stakeholders the opportunity to see the early college in action.
The event was highlighted by the mock signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) by MVSU President Dr. Jerryl Briggs, Sr. and GPSD Superintendent Janice Page.
“This is just the beginning of a long-standing partnership with the Greenville Public School District. Here, at the university, we believe in our vision of ‘One Goal. One Team. One Valley…In Motion’ and ‘In Motion’ means partnerships like the one we’re celebrating right now,” said Briggs during his opening remarks.
“The university is moving, and we’re moving in the right direction. Creating opportunities for all to have access and availability to higher education is one of our premier goals. This is just one example of how we’re moving the university forward,” he added.
Then in their third day of classes, the students were referred to as “trailblazers” by Page.
“You’ve stepped up to the challenge. You’ve already set the bar high, and you’re on your way to meeting the high expectation that we’ve set and you’ve set for yourselves,” said Page to the roughly _____ early college students present.
“We know that you’re up to the challenge, and we want to make sure that we’re doing everything to ensure your success. Continue to do well and we’re looking forward to hearing great things.”
MVSU is the first four-year Mississippi Institution of Higher Learning to participate in an early college program.
As part of the partnership, MVSU has provided classroom space to house GPSD Early College students who will spend their days on Valley’s campus completing high school and college courses. Professors from MVSU are teaching the college courses while GPSD teachers are providing high school instruction. GPSD, in conjunction with a MVSU agreement, is providing the students’ transportation to Itta Bena.
GPSD Board of Trustees member Jan Vaughn said that setting up the early college wasn’t an easy feat.
“It took a lot of long hours and discussion to get us where we are today. We know how important a college education is, and we’re so overwhelmed about this great opportunity. It’s a great savings and investment in the student’s future,” she said.
MVSU Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Constance Bland noted that the early college initiative has already garnered interest from surrounding school districts.
“We think the early high school program is nothing short of wonderful, and we’ve already gotten three calls from other school systems that want to join. It’s a wonderful partnership and we thank (GPSD) for being the first to work with us on this endeavor,” she said.