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The state of Mississippi receives grant to put non-education college graduates in the classroom.

With help from the Phil Hardin Foundation, Meridian Public Schools, Mississippi State University, and William Carey University, an opportunity has opened for several college graduates who originally majored in a different field than education. A new grant program is allowing those who are aspiring educators to receive financial help from grants to return to college and take necessary courses to help them get in the classroom, which area colleges hope will improve a teacher shortage in Mississippi.

"We’re excited about the fact that Meridian Public School district in partnership with MSU Meridian and William Carrey by way of the Phil Hardin Foundation, we found a unique and a creative way to fill our classrooms. We’re excited about the fact that through the teach Meridian grant it gives us an opportunity to tap into individuals in our community who have a passion and a desire to become educators.”

Claire Hasselle teaches 5th grade at Poplar Spring Elementary and was originally a Biology major but says she decided there was a different way that she would put her undergraduate degree to use.

“My children are a product of Meridian Public Schools, and I really wanted to offer something back to my community, and I wanted to be part of these children’s lives here so this offered me a way to do that.”

Dr. Amy Carter who serves as superintendent for Meridian Public School says having grants such as the Phil Hardin Foundation helps to eliminate debt when returning to school and helps keep those prospective teachers at ease.

“This partnership is so important because you take educators or members of the community who are committed to education just as a moment ago you met Ms. Hassel who was a mom, who had students enrolled at Meridian Public School District and she wanted to become a part of our educational system so by going back to school having this opportunity to have two classes paid for through the Hardon grant she is able to now become an educator.”

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