Call Me MiSTER® Program Celebrates One Year at Grambling State University

First-year milestones include cumulative 3.24 GPA, launch of an Aspiring MiSTER program at local junior high school

GRAMBLING- The Call Me MiSTER® program celebrated one year at Grambling State University (GSU) with a banquet earlier this month. Held at the Washington-Johnson Complex, the banquet drew the MiSTERS, family members, and representatives from the College of Education including Department Chair Cheyrl Ensley, Dean Obadiah J.K. Simmons, Jr. GSU President Rick Gallot served as guest speaker.

Because less than 2% of the teachers in America are African-American males, Grambling’s Black Male Teacher Initiative joined with Clemson University’s nationally-known Call Me MiSTER® program to help develop and recruit more Black men into the teaching profession.

Program participants receive scholarships, preferred housing, individual advising, mentors from practicing or retired professionals, recognition at school activities, professional development opportunities, and more. As graduates, they are expected to have an impact by returning to critical need schools and communities to pursue their professional careers.

Last year, the program held a meet and greet as the students moved in. This year, the program participants wanted to “take it up a notch to celebrate the accomplishments of the MiSTERS and to commission the new MiSTERS,” said George Noflin, Jr., director at GSU.

During the banquet, the three members of the second cohort were pinned: Cameron McCullough, Joseph Evans, and Kametrius Palmer. The event also celebrated the accomplishments of the standing MiSTERS, including a cumulative 3.24 GPA and the launch of an Aspiring MiSTER program at local Jr. high schools.

In an inspiring and thought-provoking speech, President Gallot challenged the young men to “not only know what to do but also to figure out why you do what you do.”

The MiSTERS conducted the entire program. Music was provided by music education majors Cameron McCullough and Isaiah Farrell. London Wright gave the prayer and Quinlan Coltrain introduced the guest speaker. Joseph Evans and Kametrius Palmer, the MiSTERS who attended the Clemson Freshmen Orientation, gave a report and organization president Ja’Deric Talbert, gave the State of the MiSTERS where he talked about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“2020 was not the year I believed any of us expected it to be,” he said. “COVID-19 has affected all of us in some shape, form, or fashion. As future educators, one key element this pandemic has taught us all is how to adapt, rediscover, and recommit to our true priorities.”

He stressed that the MiSTERS didn’t take it easy as they adapted to the new normal. They presented at the University of Louisiana System’s “For Our Future” conference, attended several virtual trainings with cohorts from across the county, and completed community service with a weekly food drive.

Talbert said that he looks forward to “the successful years to come for the “Call Me Mister” program as we welcome more outstanding young men.”

Dr. Norflin said the university has been very supportive of the program.

“Grambling is truly a family and this program has been supported from day one,” he said. “I can’t say enough about the support that has been provided by everyone to ensure our success. I continue to tell the MiSTERS that to whom much is given, much is required. I have learned that the scholars live up to the expectation that is laid out for them. Also, our meager beginning is not an indication of how bright our future will be.”

For more information about the Call Me MiSTER® program, please contact Dr. George Noflin, Jr., director, at (318) 805-6225. You may also contact Milton Jackson, assistant director, at (318) 274-2742.

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