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Jerdon Hardiman: VDN boy’s basketball Coach of the Year

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Jerdon Hardiman (photo via Facebook)

Vicksburg Junior High School head basketball coach Jerdon Hardiman led his team to become the greatest that the city of Vicksburg has seen in a while, leading him to be named the Vicksburg Daily News boy’s basketball Coach of the Year.

Hardiman led the Gators to a successful 18-1 season and an appearance in the Little Six Championship game. The Gators had some big victories along the way including beating Clinton and South Delta who were both undefeated until they played the Gators.

As he held his team to a high standard throughout the year, Hardiman never took it easy on his team at practice. Given the news about this award, Hardiman knew that his hard work was paying off.

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized as boy’s basketball Coach of the Year,” he said in a statement to the Vicksburg Daily News. “I am graciously humbled by this prestigious award, and I would like to give credit to an incredible assistant coach, DeAndre King and a tremendously talented team of young men whose dedication and diligent work ethic allowed our team to finish the season with an outstanding record of 18-1.

“While this year has been successful for our team, it has been a challenging feat. I would like to thank Vicksburg High School’s head coach Kelvin Carter, the athletic director, Vicksburg-Warren School District and most importantly, my wife and family for all the tremendous support throughout the season. I recognize the importance of a strong support system, and I would like to extend recognition to the community and all the basketball fans who support our efforts.

“Growing up, basketball was a positive outlet for me both physically and emotionally. I learned many important lessons from playing the game. Among the most important was the inevitability of failure. I learned early on through the game that life is not about how many times you get knocked down, but about how many times you get back up. Basketball has always been a passion of mine, and I feel blessed and honored every day for the opportunity to not only coach but act as a role model and influencer in the lives of promising young athletes.

“I was a former assistant coach at Rolling Fork’s South Delta High, head coach at Warren Central and now as a head coach of the VJHS for the last four years, and I am more eager than ever to share my knowledge of the game with a goal of becoming next year’s champions.”

Vicksburg Junior High basketball has always had a big name around the state, and with Hardiman’s leadership, the Gators will continue to be successful on the court.

People

Pastor Reginald Harris Celebrates 17 years at Bright Morning Star Church

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Photo by Thomas Parker

Vicksburg Daily News was on hand to celebrate a special day with Pastor Reginald Harris and his family.

Sunday, the congregation at Bright Morning Star Church honored Pastor Harris for 17 years of leading the church.

Churchgoers decorated their vehicles and took the opportunity to join in the drive-by celebration and show their appreciation to the Pastor and his family.

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People

Those who keep us safe: Sam Winchester

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Photo by David Day

For 30 years and counting, Samuel K. Winchester has been a public servant.

In 1990, prior to a career in law enforcement, Winchester enlisted in the United States Military.

“I’ve always been involved in that line of work,” he said. “I am a veteran. I was in the United States Army, so that work really centered around a career in law enforcement after that.”

After the army, he got his first start in law enforcement by working at Alcorn State University. After a brief stint with the college, he started at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department in 2000.

Winchester grew up in a tiny town in Jefferson County, northeast of Natchez, called Rodney, Miss.

His upbringing resulted in him seeing first hand what it means to be a public servant.

“The person I looked up to was my father,” Winchester said. “Ironically, we both mirrored each other’s occupations. He was in the military and also he worked at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s department.”

Winchester saw that the Warren County Sheriff’s Department was hiring and he was hired in 2004.

With almost two decades with the Warren County Sheriff’s Department, Winchester wears many hats.

Winchester has worked his way up the ranks and in 2006 was named detective for the Criminal Investigation Division. He also is a hostage crisis negotiator for the department. Winchester is also called on to investigate county fires as a county fire investigator. Lastly, one of the most notable positions Winchester serves is as the primary driving instructor at the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officer Training Academy for the State of Mississippi located in Pearl.

With all these responsibilities, Winchester is a mild mannered man who enjoys being there for his community.

“My favorite part of serving on the sheriff’s department is that I get to help people,” Winchester said. “In today’s society, our job is centered around the public, so we always want the public to know we are available to them and it’s very crucial that we help everybody. If you can just help one person and touch one person’s life you can consider that a successful day.”

The people of Warren County are not the only people who recognize Winchester’s hard work. In 2017, he was recognized by Hon. Bennie G. Thompson in the House of Representatives by a Congressional Record for his service.

In the record, Thompson wrote, “I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing, Det. Sam Winchester for his hard work, dedication and a strong desire to serve his country and community.”

After all of this success in his career, Winchester was asked to define a community hero.

“When you serve the public you dont put alot of thought into it being an individual community hero because it has so many moving parts to it,” he said. “Its a team effort. It’s not an individual effort. I look at everyone who serves the public and in law enforcement as a hero. Everyone who wakes up and puts on the uniform and risk their life to save someone else’s life or touch someone else’s life, that’s a hero.”

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Education

Mississippi native elected as Harvard student body president

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(photo courtesy Noah Harris)

A Mississippi high school graduate has been elected as Harvard University’s student body president.

Noah Harris, a 2018 graduate of Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is the first African American to serve in the role at prestigious Harvard University in Massachusetts.

“I’m really grateful that the student body is entrusting me with such a historic and unprecedented moment,” Harris told WDAM. “To make the right moves and to really bring their voices to the forefront. I just never expected that I would be in a position to run for this.”

Harris is a junior and a political science major at Harvard. He served as treasurer on the finance committee in his first two years. His vice president and running mate is neuroscience major Jenny Gan. Both plan on making a difference at the university.

Harris and Gan will be sworn in Dec. 6.

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