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New teachers get acquainted

By By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
July 31, 2003
Portia Graves and her husband, Troy, said they are glad to be back in the area. Both will begin the next school year as special education teachers at Quitman Elementary and Quitman High School, respectively.
They are returning to the area from Clarksdale in Coahoma County. Portia is originally from Meridian and Troy is from Quitman.
Portia said she aspires to touch the lives of each of her special needs students.
Husband and wife attended a reception for new teachers Tuesday at Mississippi State University-Meridian Campus. The event was sponsored by the Phi Delta Kappa Fraternity, an international educational fraternity.
More than 50 new teachers attended the reception.
Tiffany Roberts, president of Phi Delta Kappa, said she wants to make the reception an annual event.
Roberts is also a new teacher in the district. She will begin her career as an elementary school counselor in the Meridian Public School District. She'll know what campus she has been assigned to on Wednesday.
The reception fell on day two of a three-day new teacher orientation sponsored by the Meridian Public School District. Teachers new to Meridian spent Monday through Wednesday learning about the city, the people and the school policies as well as new technology and classroom management.
West Lauderdale
Middle School
April McCary said it is hard to grasp the fact that she will have her own class of students in a few weeks. "It's exciting, but I know I have to get my room ready and I have to make plans and it's all new," she said.
McCary will begin her first year teaching seventh-grade science at West Lauderdale Middle School. She said she did not leave Mississippi to teach in a higher-paying state for a couple of reasons. Her husband's job won't allow the couple to relocate, but the main reason is because she likes the area.
West Kemper
Wendy Pilgrim said she plans to get her first-grade students' attention with a class mascot.
Pilgrim, 43, is entering her first year as a teacher at West Kemper Elementary School. She said she has always wanted to be a teacher.
Pilgrim said she has spent most of her adult life working at a furniture and grocery store she owns with her husband but she is excited about her new career.
Newton Elementary
Janet Estes has spent the past two years as a teacher at Newton Academy. She said she was ready to leave private school and teach in public schools because she feels she can make more of an impact.
Estes will teach kindergarten at Newton Elementary and she said she plans to use music to get the children's focus and attention.
Estes said she believes music helps students read and learn and she is excited to try out her new songs.