(EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill.) Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's Head Start/Early Head Start Program, headquartered at the SIUE East St. Louis Center, has won a dozen awards-on the state, regional and national level-because of several Metro East parents and staff who know the importance of quality early childhood education.
For example, there is the tenacious mother who overcame medical struggles and championed equality regarding her child's learning challenges; the single parent who almost seemed like a fixture at her children's preschool; the father who works long hours to ensure quality instruction for his son and daughter and recruits other dads to do the same; and the school administrator who has spent the past 11 years developing strong parent and community involvement in order to foster excellence in Head Start programs.
These people helped bring new honor to the comprehensive early childhood development program that has served St. Clair County for more than 30 years. "Producing and maintaining quality early childhood education is the crux of our mission that we carry out every day," said Hazel Mallory, Head Start program director at the center. "And I was proud and happy to learn of the array of awards we received for our hard working Head Start staff and parents." Ms. Mallory was recently elected to the board of directors for the Illinois Head Start Association as a member at large.
On the state and regional levels, the winning tallies of awards for the SIUE program from the Head Start Association are listed below:
Meanwhile, the National Head Start Association awarded Tangelina White the Ann Phipps Memorial Scholarship, which comes with a $1,500 prize to be applied to an institution of higher learning, and Debrah Carnahan, second place for "Beating the Odds," which honors those who conquered difficulties and persisted throughout hard times to become self sufficient. "Head Start supported me emotionally and professionally and had faith in me," said Mrs. Carnahan, former Belleville Head Start parent who continues to work as a volunteer. "Now I'm able to offer support to families who have children with special needs." Mrs. Carnahan and her husband, Carlton, have special needs children of their own.
"Winning is great and was appreciated by all of the honorees," Ms. Mallory said, "but what matters most to them are the objects of their devotion and hard work-the children."