Teacher named Meridian School District Parent of the Year
PARENT OF THE YEAR Josephine R. Virgil, left, accepts a plant as a token of appreciation from Meridian Schools Superintendent Dr. Janet McLin. Virgil, a teacher at Carver Middle School, was named the school district's Parent of the Year during an assembly Tuesday. Photo by Steve Gillespie / The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie/staff writer
Feb. 27, 2002
Through tears of joy, Josephine R. Virgil accepted the title of Parent of the Year on Tuesday from the Meridian School District.
The announcement was made after a Black History Month program in the school's gymnasium attended by students and faculty.
When Meridian Schools Superintendent Janet McLin made the announcement, Virgil said her first thought was, No they didn't.'
Virgil, 50, is serving as president for the second year in a row of the Carver Middle School PTA. She also is the school's Adopt-A-School program coordinator, which has about 80 corporate sponsors that provide support to the school.
Besides that, Virgil teaches trainable mentally disabled children at Carver. Virgil, a single parent who raised three grown children, typically spends about 13 hours a day at work.
She drives the school bus that brings students to Carver's 6:30 a.m. Early Bird tutoring program. She also drives the bus that takes children home from Carver's after-school tutoring program, which ends at 5.
She even tutors students herself.
Virgil is a graduate of Jackson State University, and remains active in the JSU alumni association. She is an active member of St. Paul Methodist Church, where she works with youth.
She is a member of the Metropolitan Elks Lodge and serves as president of the Queen City Optimist Club.
Virgil said she gives so much of herself because she is a parent. Said Virgil: "If something should happen to me I would want others to care for my children the way I care for theirs."
She said her devotion comes from her mother, who raised five children by herself in Kemper County after Virgil's father died at the age of 38.
Besides her three grown children, Virgil also has three granddaughters. "To me the best thing to spend on children is time," she said.
As the school district's Parent of the Year recipient, Virgil will be among those the Mississippi Department of Education will consider for the statewide Parent of the Year honor to be announced this spring.
Virgil said all schools are in need of more parental support on all grade levels.
She said she has observed parents being more involved with their children during the early years of education, but she has seen the support drop off, usually around the middle grades.