Lunenburg students praised for MISTER participation

Published 8:11 am Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The director of a program intended to attract more minority men into education praised two Lunenburg County students who participated in its summer program.

Maurice Carter, director of Longwood University’s Call Me MISTER program, applauded rising Central High School seniors Raymond Alexander and Dion Graham in an email to Lunenburg County Public Schools Superintendent Charles Berkley Jr. following their participation in the program’s recent summer institute.

“The young men were exceptional and their leadership was exemplary to the entire institute,” Carter wrote. “I believe you have two young men who may become educators and return to Lunenburg to teach.”

Carter thanked Berkley for supporting the program and said, “We look forward to others participating in the Call Me MISTER Program in the future.”

The annual summer institute provides an overview and history of the program for new members as well as an opportunity for senior members to mentor the incoming class, the website notes.

Call Me MISTER — Men Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models — is a national initiative to broaden the pool of available teachers from a more diverse background.

The program is open to all students who desire to pursue education, and, because of the low number of males who choose teaching as a profession, has undertaken the critical task of providing male role models — especially African American.

A MISTER who completes his program of study and becomes certified to teach is expected to assume a teaching position and teach one year for each year they received financial support from the program, according to the organization’s website.

Berkley told members of the school board about the organization during its November meeting, calling it “something we need here in Lunenburg County.”

Carter said local school officials tailor the program to benefit the students at a particular school.

At Longwood, one of the perks of participation includes financial assistance and receiving a new Jos. A. Bank suit every year, Carter said.

Earlier this year, Carter said he has been to approximately 50 school districts talking, recruiting and mentoring students. Students in the program are in the community mentoring and doing outreach about 300 hours per semester, he said.

“They are out there in the community working with young people in addition to earning their degree,” he said.