Program to honor late school board member Hasten

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
Shown at the Iberville Parish School Board are school leadership administrators Gail Edwards, who will lead the White Castle College Readiness Program, WHS Principal Charles Handy, and Superintendent Dr. C. Edward Cancienne, Jr. presenting plaques honoring the late Alberta Hasten to her sisters, Earthley Baptiste and Evangeline Davis.

In a moving salute to the memory of school board member Alberta Hasten, Dr. P. Edward Cancienne, Jr. presented a new intensive college readiness program at White Castle High School in cooperation with Southern University at Monday's Iberville Parish School Board meeting. The new college readiness initiative encourages greater skills development with intense interaction with Southern University faculty and students at White Castle High School. Hasten, who worked tirelessly to advance education in the White Castle area, died suddenly last year. At the meeting were a few members of the family who accepted plaques to honor Hasten and her vision for higher education.

The new White Castle High School and Southern University A&M College readiness program will be voted on next school board meeting, including ongoing cooperative activities, tutoring, mentoring, and programming for all grade levels. The program is being lead by master teacher Gail C. Edwards from the School District's administration staff, and Principal Charles Handy and the faculties of the two institutions.

The mission of the program is to advance the culture of high expectations for future college attendance at Southern University. According to Dr. Cancienne, we want to create mutually beneficial partners to give students the opportunity to successfully attend and complete college after high school.

If approved by the board, the program will begin in June of 2013 and conclude in May 2014 with detailed outcomes. The program will follow the five-fifths agenda for America, include summer enrichment camp, art, music and theatre, Student/Community Day at Southern University, College Preparation Program, Field trips, STEM student interaction bi-annual trips, interaction with both bands, cheerleaders and theatre programs, cohort academy end of year achievement banquet. The program is expected to cost approximately $100,000 per year.

"This program allows you to hear the voice of Alberta Hasten loud and clear. She keenly understood and loved the people of White Castle. She was a champion of those in poverty, neglect, bias and did not cringe in the heat of civil rights for the silent, unseen, underprivileged, underserved, and misunderstood. These issues took on real meaning and real faces to Alberta and she was not afraid to stand tall and strong to defend that passion to serve her constituents. College readiness built on experience and exposure was a mantra of hers. She believed that all children could learn at high levels given skilled teaching and opportunity. This project was born of Alberta Hasten's thoughts, ideas and lifestyle, and from working with her so closely for six years that it beaus her stamp of approval," said Dr. Cancienne in recommending the new academic initiative.

There are continuous and numerous interaction programming between the two schools as well as intensive tutoring and mentoring between the two.

"It all starts with aspirations," he added.

Leading the administrative effort is Gail Edwards, award-winning and highly recognized master teacher in Iberville Parish School System.