Tuesday, September 27

Nearly 500 students attend annual Back-to-School Summit

Rev. Craig Gregory encourages students to stand on the stage during the 2016 Back-to-School Summit on Sept. 15 at the Cade Community Center in St. Martinville, La. Rev. Gregory served as the keynote speaker for the Summit.
Baton Rouge, LA – Almost 500 8th grade students from St. Martin Parish schools attended the Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives’ annual Back-to-School Summit on Sept. 15 at the Cade Community Center in St. Martinville, La.

The summit, which was themed, “Go for the Gold! Everyone can be a Champion,” was held to encourage the students to make better life choices, build character, think before becoming sexually active and abstain from drug use.

Newly appointed Southern University Ag Center Chancellor-Dean of the College of Agriculture, Bobby R. Phills, Ph.D., addressed the youth asking them, “Did any of you use agriculture this morning?”

Many of the young students looked puzzled and answered, “No.”

“Sure you did,” replied Phills. “Did you eat cereal for breakfast? What are the clothes you’re wearing made of. That’s agriculture.” 

Phills went on to explain that agriculture touches every part of life and encouraged the students to attend college and study agriculture; even if they did not go to Southern University.

The students were also greeted by St. Martin Parish President Guy Cormier and St. Martin Parish Superintendent Lottie Beebe, Ph.D.

Shonda Garner Brooks, Loren Carriere and Min. Darren Benoit served as presenters for the summit. Each shared their personal stories of how they made the wrong choices in life at an early age but through the help of God, family and friends they were able to get their lives back on track.

SU Ag Center's Research Associate for Animal Science Antonio Harris provided the students with information on how to apply for college.

Rev. Craig Gregory, Pastor of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church and public servant, was the keynote speaker for the event.

Gregory told the students that each of them was born for a purpose and emphasized the importance of them fulfilling that purpose.

“The summit taught me that our younger siblings see what we are doing and we have to be an example for them,” said St. Martinville Jr. High student Querrea Savoy. “Knowing that I have six other siblings I have to be an example for them,” she added.

Savoy also said she enjoyed the obstacle course and learned that everybody can be a champion.

Model and small business owner Morgan Pete served as the hostess for the event and provided one of the students with a free photo shoot and modeling lessons. 

The Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives is a satellite campus of the Southern University Ag Center.

Photos from the event are available here.

Television stations KLAF/Fox 15, KATC 3 and KWBJ TV 22 aired stories on the event. The videos can be viewed at: https://goo.gl/G0hkqr and https://goo.gl/5VP0mb.


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