often than not, it's the teacher who inspires students.
But for the
University of Southern Mississippi faculty who have come in contact
with Carla Walters, the scrappy senior from Laurel has reaffirmed
their devotion to their profession.
A special education
major, Walters was honored Tuesday during Southern Miss' University
Awards Day ceremonies with one of the top student awards, the Judge
R.J. Bishop Award, given annually to a student who endures and overcomes
hardships in pursuit of a degree at the university.
a single mother who has battled breast cancer, while at the same
time raising four children and pursuing her dream of becoming a
put the most incredible people in my life, people He would put in
my path to keep me going," Walters said.
have supported me so much, and told me that this (becoming a teacher)
is what I was meant to do," she said. "They weren't going
to let me give up."
Dr. Jim Siders
and Dr. Janet Nelson, two of Walters' professors in the Southern
Miss Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education,
praised her dedication and endurance.
grown so much as an educator, just watching the grace that she lives
through," Siders said. "I've never seen anyone hold their
chin up like her. She'll make a heck of a teacher."
of whatever happened that made it difficult for her to continue
her program, she never made excuses," said Nelson. "She
never expected to be treated any less stringently than the other
students, and I found that to be remarkable."
a senior from Petal, was named the Phi Kappa Phi Silver Bowl winner
as the university's top academic achiever. Winters is a student
in the university's Honors College and a biochemistry major.
an honor," Winters said of her award. "It was a wonderful
decision to choose (Southern Miss) for my undergraduate education."
Other top student
award winners included Laura Lynn Mayfield and Absalom Zach Thomas,
who received the Best Female and Male Citizen Awards. Southern Miss
Student Hall of Fame inductees included Shahira Dia Ali, Katherine
Leigh Anderson, Thomas Blaine Barker, Marcus Jerome Coleman, Jennifer
Lynn Duke, Jared Steele Loftus, Molly Elizabeth Malone, Christopher
Gerald Moore, Justice Marie O'Keefe and Matthew Wayne Pennington.
my honor and privilege to co-chair University Awards Day along with
(University Union and Student Activities director) Barbara Ross,"
said Mary Beth Walker, Southern Miss Student Activities coordinator.
"It was inspiring for me to see all the student leaders of
Southern Miss gathered together and honored at the event."
the afternoon ceremony were recognized with awards, scholarships
and other acknowledgments, including membership in selective honor
graduation, University Awards Day is also a special time to recognize
student achievement, and it fills me with pride to see these students
recognized for going above and beyond, sometimes overcoming adversity,
to realize a dream," said Southern Miss President Shelby Thames.