Michael Hardy played the role of a Shakespearean bard when he shared the lyrics he wrote on the importance of character building with 4th and 5th grade Character Classes at Neshoba Central Elementary School.

Accompanying himself on the guitar, Michael shared his six pillars of character with these youngsters who stand at the crossroad of becoming tomorrow's leaders.

The lyrical lesson emphasized the importance of Respect, Responsibility, Caring, Fairness, Trustworthiness, and Citizenship.


Gail (Mrs. Dale) Alford has been inspiring students for 12 years in her role as activities teacher in the Character Classes at Neshoba Central Elementary.

Like many of us, Gail has watched the musical dreams of Michael and his sister, Madison, come to fruition, and was a part of their lives before she became their teacher.

She was also their school bus driver, and often listened to Michael and Madison practice as they rode back and forth to school from the home they shared with their parents, Sarah and Mike Hardy, on McKee Street.


Jane Thomas watched a St. Patrick's Day parade in Washington, D.C. years ago and it stirred in her a desire to attend the Tournament of Roses Parade.

Her husband, Steve Thomas, stirred the dream into motion when he found an ad for just such a trip in Jane's Rotary magazine.

Jane and their daughter, Rachel, left Jackson Saturday, Dec. 29 bound for Pasadena, Calif.

They spent the afternoon touring the Ronald Reagan Library, which Jane described as a highlight of their trip.

That evening Jane and Rachel were guests at the Tournament of Roses dinner party.

The program included a presentation of the history of the Rose Bowl Parade.

They toured the site where the actual construction of the floats was taking place and saw the hundreds of Tournament of Roses volunteers at work.

The finished work was to be judged the next morning at 7 a.m.

Bright and early on New Year's Day, Jane and Rachel were in their assigned seats in the crowded bleachers, awaiting the parade which lasts about 2-1/2 hours.

"Our seats were about 45 minutes into the parade. The weather was wonderful, and the view of the mountains in the background behind the parade, was spectacular!" said Jane, whose "bucket list" wish was all she dreamed it to be.

In their spare time, mother and daughter took the tour into Beverly Hills and saw the famed "Hollywood" sign on the hillside.

They took a bus to Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles.

Seeing the Pacific Ocean, Rachel exclaimed, "I don't want to go home!"

But back in Mississippi, this second-year student at Ole Miss, quickly followed the lead to Birmingham, and did her part to cheer the Rebels to victory in the Compass Bowl.

Lending their support to the Rebels were Mark, Joni and Ben Duncan.

They were weekend house-guests of Ole Miss friends, Michael and Lucinda Mason.

Joni and Lucinda were Kappa Gamma sorority sisters at the University.


Have you never been on the Ole Miss campus?

Walk through Dr. Patrick Eakes' medical clinic and you are there!

Attending the game with the doctor were John, Ty, Melissa, Jason and Percy Miller; Steve, Madison, Carson, and Gg Settlemires; Scott, Andrew and Ashton Johnson; and Shane and Kyra Hardy.


Pat Thomasson referred to her trip to the Compass Bowl on Legion Field in Birmingham as a "girl's road-trip."

Between a lot of shopping and eating, Pat and her friends did attend the game.


While Molly and Tom Turner, Dr. Joe Jordan and Cheryl Mars did lend their combined neighborhood support to the Ole Miss Rebels, Cheryl, Molly and Sharon McKay lent special support to Philadelphia High School standout, C. J. Johnson, who has been named by The Clarion Ledger as "one of the six top players on the Ole Miss team for 2013."

The girls have made it a practice of standing near the fence before each game, to catch C. J.'s eye, as a show of support and encouragement.

Molly, Tom, Joe and Cheryl, and their weekend hostess, Philadelphia native Susie Hand Denson, attended the downtown pep rally the night before the game.


Let's back up a bit to the Gator Bowl in Gainesville, Fla.

Among Philadelphians lending their support to the Mississippi State Bulldogs were Stanley Salter, Andrew Windham and Alan Windham. Also, Steven Thomas, Dan and Stephanie Perry, Allison Perry and Kyle Barrett.


The JOY (Just Older Youth) group and friends from East Philadelphia Baptist Church attended 2012's final Christmas show at the Bolinger Family Theater in Bruce.

Once performed by Bolinger family members only, the cast has grown to include more new members, who quoting Ray Fleming, "put on a great show."

Following the show, the Philadelphia group visited Pap's Restaurant in Ackerman and enjoyed their famous buffet.

Enjoying this time of fun, fellowship and good food were Randy, Jackie and Austin Hearn, Richard and Linda Brewer, Ray and Lilly Partridge, H. G. and Mary Jo Cooper, William and Carolyn Smith, Mike and Jane Barrett, Curtis Blocker, Teresa Adkins, Bobbie Anthony, Ray Fleming, Georgia Nowell, Juanita Breazeale, Dean Beckham and Jan Estes.


Tom and Shirley Cox's Christmas visitors included Dr. Tommy, Lee Anne, Marshall and John Bailey Cox; Tommy, Terri, Allison and Bailey McCarver; Stephen and Kayla Bryant; Ike, Carla, Macy and Isaac Martin; and Brent and Meagan Anthony.

Also, Kipps and Carol Webb; George and Frances Cumberland; Tim and Renee Brantley; Kyle and Kalen Brantley; Micky, Sue and Drew Cumberland; Katherine Tingle; Ern and Kay Black; Joyce and Bobby Hardy; Tanner Rhodes and Libby DeWeese.