AT&T ‘puts its money where its mouth is’ in Mississippi education

By Ayesha K. Mustafaa

Staff Writer

We know the phrase, “Many can talk-the-talk but do they walk-the-walk?” Often we are disappointed when we only get the “talk” and not the “walk.”

However recently, there was a pleasant surprise to learn that one of the biggest “talkers” in the business – AT&T- actually put some of its money where its mouth is.

Dr. Nancy New, executive director of New Learning Resources School District (NLRSD) was aglow as she welcomed Gov. Phil Bryant and Mayo Flynt, AT&T Mississippi president, to the New Summit School located at 1417 Lelia Dr., Jackson, Thursday, Sept. 27.

The occasion was the presentation of the AT&T Aspire $100,000 donation to NLRSD, which is comprised of New Summit and North New Summit Schools.

The donation will be used to enhance NLRSD’s existing dropout prevention resources for 100 primarily African-American, at-risk and special needs students.

According to AT&T, it has contributed nearly $10 million nationwide to 47 recipient organizations through its Aspire program that assists in individualized teaching, life skills development and computer assisted instruction. 

NLRSD is one of the 47 recipients. Applicants were evaluated based on “their accomplishments in serving students at risk of dropping out of high school and their ability to use data to demonstrate the effectiveness of their work,” according to the AT&T released statement.

Through its official release, AT&T said its Aspire program is one of the largest corporate commitments focused on helping more students graduate from high school ready for college and careers.

With the announcement of an additional quarter-billion-dollar expansion to the program this year, AT&T’s commitment comes to $350 million. In 2011, more than $115 million was contributed through its corporate, employee and foundation giving programs.

“Data shows that in 2011, approximately 16,000 Mississippi children did not graduate,” said Bryant. “That is 16,000 young people who do not have the educational foundation they need to establish secure futures.”

The Governor referred to the “improved business climate of the state and bringing in more better-paying jobs,” adding “our educational attainments must keep pace.”

He applauded AT&T’s initiatives and New’s “innovative efforts to reach struggling students and help them on the path of success.”

On behalf of AT&T, Flynt said, “It is an honor to support this (NLRSD) program and the work they are doing to help stem the high school dropout crisis in our country.

“By educating Mississippi’s youth and helping them prepare for the future, we can ensure the future workforce of our company and our country with qualified employees with 21st century skills needed to remain competitive in the digital, global economy,” Flynt said.

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