OXFORD, Miss. – Students at Okolona Elementary School and North Panola Junior High School probably don’t know University of Mississippi senior Angie Tracy, but thanks to her, they have new reading materials this fall.
Tracy helped the North Mississippi Education Consortium obtain $3,000 in grants for the schools. The St. Louis native has been chosen as the university’s Education Student of the Month for November.
“It’s nice to see something happen with the gifts that I can give,” said Tracy, whose family foundation awards annual grants to nonprofits around the country. “When I go to schools, I see kids who need things, so I’m glad I’m able to help and know that these donations are being used in a meaningful way.”
The funding is provided by the Tracy Family Foundation in Mt. Sterling, Ill. The initial $2,000 donation to the consortium last spring provided the Okolona school with funding to buy digital books for E-readers used by students. The second grant, a $1,000 donation used to buy new classroom texts for North Panola, came this fall after Tracy reported the results of the first donation to the foundation’s board.
“My grandparents have 47 grandchildren,” she explained. “When we turn 18, we all get to award a $2,000 Third Generation Grant to an organization of our choosing. Each year, we present which organizations we chose to benefit and we vote to give an additional $1,000 to one. This year, we selected the consortium.”
Tracy chose the consortium because of its mission to improve public education in the state. The organization is housed in the UM School of Education, the state’s largest institution for teacher and educational leader preparation, and is composed of 45 public school districts and three community colleges. The consortium offers continuing education for educators and professional leadership and development for schools under state conservatorship, such as the Okolona and North Panola districts.
“Angie is an outstanding young lady with the heart of a teacher,” said Susan Scott, NMEC program assistant and teacher education instructor who nominated Tracy for Student of the Month. “When she contacted me, it was clear that she’d done her research and she wanted the donations to go directly to students.”
An elementary education major, Tracy is a completing her student teaching at Bramlett Elementary School in Oxford and completing a honors thesis through the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. Her thesis involves a survey of teaching methods used by Mississippi public mathematics teachers.
She also serves on the education committee of the Tracy Foundation and hopes to continue to benefit education causes in Mississippi and elsewhere.
“I’m fortunate that I can actively help causes that I’m passionate about,” Tracy said. “It’s nice to reach out and not just sit back and watch.”