May 18, 2018
Learn more about the celebration of our culminating Mississippi corps, with moments and quotes from our 2016 Alumni Induction.
Tamia Brice’s first year of teaching didn’t exactly go as she planned. “I wanted to quit almost every day,” she says with a chuckle. Laughter and nods of agreement ripple through the crowd - a crowd filled with Tamia’s fellow 2016 corps members, who are celebrating completing the second and final year of their corps commitment.
Tamia continues, sharing that in the midst of the challenging days and hard lessons she leaned on the friendships she built in Mississippi, as well as a quote that stuck with her: “Winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit.” Armed with this mindset, the help of her friends, and “a lot of faith,” Tamia made it successfully through her first year and second in Yazoo City, learning and growing alongside her students.
So have her fellows 2016 corps members. On this day, May 12th, at the historic B.B. King Museum in Indianola, Mississippi, they and their families, as well as Teach For America staff, have gathered to mark their transition from the corps into alumnihood - or, their Alumni Induction. Here, representatives of their corps year address the crowd, reminding them of their lessons learned and wins earned and looking forward to what’s next.
TFA alumnus and Quitman County Middle School Principal, Phelton Cortez Moss (‘12), also extends a challenge to the corps - in the words of Migos’ hit song - to “walk it like you talk it.” He encourages them, as new alumni, to continue to be the people fighting on the frontlines of this movement, regardless of what they do next.
Dr. Barbara Logan Smith, Executive Director of Teach For America - Mississippi, closes the Alumni Induction by acknowledging this corps year as the final one of the Mississippi region, since on June 1 the region will formally re-consolidate with the Arkansas region to become the Greater Delta. “You are the grand finale,” she says, thanking them for their service to students and communities around Mississippi, while challenging them that the work of fighting for educational equity continues wherever and whatever their next chapter holds.
We welcome the 2016 corps into our community of alumni across Mississippi and Arkansas as we start this new chapter together - as teachers, non-profit leaders, students, entrepreneurs, and more. Some - like Andrew Dittmar, who teaches high school English in Shaw and left Alumni Induction to get ready to chaperone their prom - will continue teaching at their schools next year. Others - like Chandler Brandenburg, who is finishing her second year teaching chemistry in Ruleville - will be leaving Mississippi to attend programs like medical school. No matter their chosen course, we are confident they will continue “the walk” and the work for their students.