a blend of humor and personal testimony, nationally renowned motivational
speaker Jason Dorsey emphasized the importance of having educators
like Dr. Frances Karnes help gifted and talented students realize
their potential Thursday, during a banquet celebrating the 25th
anniversary of The University of Southern Mississippi's Karnes Center
for Gifted Studies.
Dorsey was the guest speaker at the banquet, held
at the Hattiesburg Lake Terrace Convention Center. He has been featured
on NBC's "Today Show," ABC's "The View," and
the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series. "Being gifted
is a blessing, but being gifted alone in no way guarantees success,"
Dorsey said. "Without the help of educators and the (Karnes)
Center, that potential just stays potential."
"With the center's help, we can make that potential
The Center for Gifted Studies was established in 1979
and provides services for children and youth in grades kindergarten
through 12, as well as support for teachers and undergraduate and
graduate students. The center was renamed the Frances A. Karnes
Center for Gifted Studies in 1999 in honor of Karnes, a longtime
professor in the Southern Miss Department of Curriculum, Instruction
and Special Education and director of the center.
A variety of services are available through the center.
Instructional programs on a wide range of topics are provided for
intellectually gifted students in grades kindergarten through 12.
A program to develop leadership concepts and skills is offered for
students enrolled in grades six through 11, and teacher training
and in-service education are provided for regular education personnel
and for teachers who specialize in gifted education.
A conference for parents of gifted youth and other
concerned adults is conducted on an annual basis, and research is
conducted in rural and urban schools for a variety of purposes.
For those persons with special interests in gifted students, the
center will explore the potential to provide specific services designed
to meet those interests.
More than 100 supporters of the center, including
current and former students at the center, parents and others, turned
out for the event.
Dr. Lara Otaigbe, whose daughter Florence, 10, has
participated in the center's Summer Gifted Studies Program, said
discovering the center after she and her family moved to Hattiesburg
from Iowa two years ago was like "finding a diamond in the
"She has learned so much. It (the Karnes Center)
has really blessed our lives," Otaigbe said.