Lincoln Prep student receives citizenship award

Jayden Gilliam was awarded the Dr. Birdex Copeland Jr. Citizenship Award in recent graduation exercises at Lincoln Preparatory School. 

“The award recognizes a student who possesses strength of character, is a school or community leader, promotes citizenship, or other similar characteristics of leadership,” said school director Gordan Ford, who made the presentation along with Lolita Copeland, Dr. Copeland’s widow. 

Dr. Copeland was a native of Mansfield. He served as a teacher and administrator for thirty-four years at Grambling State University, retiring as Dean Emeritus of the School of Social Work.  

Ford said Gilliam along with past and future winners will be recognized as part of a permanent display at the new Lincoln Preparatory School complex, which will open in the Fall of 2022.  

Ford said this is not the first time Dr. Copeland has been recognized for his contributions to Lincoln Preparatory School. 

“In 2018, Dr. Copeland was awarded the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools’ Governance Award, recognizing him for his exemplary service on behalf of our school and the students and families we serve,” Ford said. “Lincoln Preparatory School, the City of Grambling and the Copeland family celebrate the life of this amazing man today.”

Dr. Copeland was president of the Grambling High Foundation Board of Directors. Prior to becoming president of the Foundation Board, he worked with members of the board, Grambling State University administrators and Grambling City officials to gain approval from the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to convert the Grambling Laboratory Schools into what is now Lincoln Preparatory School.  

Prior to becoming dean, he was head of the Sociology Department at GSU for 18 years.  Dr. Copeland also served as chairman of the board of directors of Shreveport Federal Credit Union many years, chairman of the Grambling Legends Square Taxing District, member of the Grambling Economic Development Council, Grambling City councilman, and a deacon of the Mount Olive Baptist Church of Grambling.