Graduate’s name: Alan Stanfield
Home city: Tupelo, Mississippi
Name of school or program: Parkway Elementary School
Year completed: Second grade
What is your education story?
“My mom, Stephanie Stanfield, is helping me write this because I’m only 9. I’m Alan Stanfield, and I just graduated from second grade at Parkway Elementary in Tupelo, Mississippi. It was awesome to get a diploma and wear a cap and gown! Check out my picture—see that smile?
“Next year, I’ll be at Lawndale Elementary and third graders will have to pass a reading ‘gate’ to go on to the fourth grade. I’m lucky because my mom helps me everyday with school stuff. She makes sure I do my homework, and she talks to my teacher ALL the time—I mean, ALL THE TIME, about how I’m doing in reading and math (and whether I’m minding the teacher or goofing off).
“She meets with my teacher AND the principal when I’ve messed up, and she tries to make sure I get the help I need. I had a really hard time with reading in first grade but mom worked with me a lot at home and even asked a tutor to help me a little. It got easier this year, but I’m still working on understanding what I read. Mom helps my two brothers and two sisters, too, but mostly me.
“My mom LOVES education! She graduated from the Parents for Public Schools Parent Engagement Program so she could learn more about how schools run and how she could help me and other kids, too. Mom was worried that other kids weren’t ready for kindergarten. So, she helped start a class to prepare them.
“Last summer, my school held a ‘Splash Into Kindergarten’ program for new students to get them ready for school, and it was my mom’s idea! Of course, she got some other parents from Parents for Public Schools to help. Next month, they’ll have ‘Splash Into Kindergarten’ at all four elementary schools in Tupelo to help more kids.
“I know I am ready for the third grade because I worked hard, and Mom knew how to help me too! This won’t be the last time I wear a cap because I know I am going to graduate from high school. My mom and dad will be there, helping me all the way.”
Submission from: Nita Rudy from Parents for Public Schools. The organization, based in Jackson, Mississippi, works on strengthening public schools.