Discussions with dads’ held at Coahoma County Jr./Sr. High School


By Josh Troy

Clarksdale Advocate

Male leaders in the community offered their support to Coahoma County Jr./Sr. High School boys during a “Discussions with Dads” program on Thursday morning. The Coahoma County Jr./Sr. High School boys met with males in three different sessions. Junior high school students participated in the first session, high school freshmen, and sophomores were in the second session, and high school juniors and seniors were in the final session. All female adults left the room before any of the discussions began.

Dave Houston, owner of Dooney’s Barbershop and Carnival Treats, told the kids their Superintendent, Dr. Virginia Young, cares about them and it is the “new Coahoma County” thanks to her leadership. “You all have a Superintendent here in this school that loves you,” Houston said. Houston wished he did things differently back when he was in school. He talked about serving 11 years in prison and associating with gangs. “The person that you don’t know is Dooney the thug because, at one time, I was a hard-headed guy,” he said. “Some of you guys have been in trouble, and that’s not the end of the world, but I was a hard-headed guy.” Houston said kids will not always be told the consequences of making bad choices. He pointed out that only four fathers showed up to the event. “We invited all dads, and this is what we got,” he said. Houston told the children they can pass tests and do well. “You can do it,” he said. “You can overachieve. “You can pass the test. You’re all smart. You’re just not trying.” Houston said the talk on Thursday was just the beginning, and he would be back to continue influencing the students positively.

Melvin Brown, a retired teacher and Friars Point resident, challenged the seniors. “One of the things one of my organizations does is we award scholarships every year, so what I’m going to do is offer the seniors an opportunity to earn a scholarship from the Omicron Pi Foundation,” he said. Brown said the essay would be about the resurrection of Friars Point. “I want to get Generation Z and our children involved,” he said. Brown said the essay would be due April 15, 2024, and the organization normally awards scholarships of $1,000 per student. He added winners of the essay contest may have an opportunity to apply for a sustainment scholarship of $500 per year as long as they are in school. The students would be required to be in good academic standing, maintain at least a 2.5 GPA, and be in school full-time. Brown also talked about the importance of having students who become teachers, attorneys, and doctors.

Robert Miller, Director of Spiritual Development for But God Ministries in Jonestown, did an experiment with the freshmen and sophomores. Miller told everyone who lost someone to gang violence or experienced gun violence, knows someone who drives a Scat Pack Dodge Charger or Camaro, or does not live in a two-parent household to stand on one side of the room. Only six of the students were not standing on that side of the room. “By statistics, you are all done. That’s your chance,” said Miller to the students who experienced one of those things. “This is the statistics when you grow up in an area where there are no jobs, no opportunities. You all are not dumb. You all are not stupid. You all are smart. You all are intelligent.” Miller believed Coahoma County Jr./Sr. High School could do something about those statistics. “Who can change this?” he said. “Us. You all. We’re trying to tell you all to stay out of the way. It’s alright. It’s OK to say no.” Miller talked about his situation. “I’m going to make sure these babies make it,” he said. “I’m standing with you all. I’m with you all. Why? Because my brother is in prison. My cousin is dead, so I stand with you all. I know what you all are going through.” Miller said anyone in the room who needs something, whether it is a job or getting into school, should come to him for help. “We’re all going to make it,” he said.

Charles Brantley, the son of Brown, said when he was a child in Friars Point, he would get off the school bus, and his community and Jonestown would be fighting. “I was like why are you all mad at each other?” he said. “I don’t even know why you all are mad at each other. It was just the history of Friars Point and Jonestown.” Brantley said kids in junior high and high school could fall into that trap. “It doesn’t have to be like that,” he said. Brantley had children from Friars Point, Jonestown, and Clarksdale raise their hands. “See how close you all are to each other, every day,” he said. Coahoma County Jr./Sr. High School Principal McKinley Scott and Resource Officer Stephen James were both present for the program. “Give them your undivided attention,” said Scott to the students. “Make sure you get something today.” Young’s husband, Rodney, was also present. Young spoke about “Discussions with Dads” briefly before the program started. “We’re excited to have these men here today,” she said. “We’re just here to welcome them.” Young addressed the children. “I’m glad to see you here this morning, but I am especially glad to see these men,” she said. “I tell your parents all the time you all are some of the most respectful young students that I have seen.”



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