CALL ME MiSTER Rashad Anderson giving welcome speech to guest. C.M.M receives $90,000 of grant money to go towards their program and training of male teachers.

South Carolina State University celebrated an “amazing day” last week, with the university’s Call Me MiSTER program receiving a $90,000 grant.

“I know the power of C.M.M. and how it can transform students’ lives. I’m a former Mister, graduate of this very own cohort, and there’s so many opportunities and resources that our guys need,” C.M.M. Campus Director Dr. Rashad Anderson said during an event announcing the grant.

“It’s a great day not only for S.C. State, but for the state of South Carolina,” Anderson said.

The grant came from The Leveraging Innovation for Educator Excellence (LIFE2) Program. The grant will be used to recruit and train more Black male educators for high-need schools via the Call Me MiSTER Program.

Anderson said LIFE2 saw “the critical importance in developing not just black educators, but highly qualified black educators.”

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“We want highly qualified teachers that are well-read, well-trained, and well-versed because they are on the front lines, working with our children of the future,” Anderson said.

The money will go toward internship opportunities at local schools, provide support for certifications, and fund some trips for the group. For Anderson, it’s imperative to have these things for his group.

“We’re looking forward to exposing them to professional development conferences and a national crop of workshops across the nation,” Anderson said.

Two of the Misters, seniors Gabriel Million and Jordan Puch, say they are finally being recognized for the things they do in the classroom and community.

“It’s a blessing to finally have somebody notice it and give you your flowers while you’re here,” Puch said.

Million said, “We’ve been grinding quietly, in the classroom, outside the classroom, staying up late preparing for presentations. It’s good to see now that you know again all of our hard work has not gone unnoticed.”

LIFE2’s goal is to improve student achievement by increasing access to effective educators in high-need schools, according to its website. They’ve partnered with the Midlands Community Development Corporation to fund the grant.

Call Me MiSTER originated at Clemson University in 2000. It then spread around the state of South Carolina throughout the decade, with South Carolina State’s C.M.M. program being created in 2007.

“Representation matters. We want black male educators, but we want highly qualified black educators. There’s a level of excellence that we expect for all Misters. One thing that I say about our cohort is that we’re revolutionary educators,” Anderson said.

“I honestly do not know where I would be without Call Me MiSTER. Not only has it changed my life, but I also have brothers whose lives have also changed and I also know that if I don’t have anything else, I always have my brothers,” Million said.

“Call Me Mister is probably one of the most important programs on this campus because of what we do. We are building the next generation, molding the youth,” Puch said.

Terry Benjamin II, a Claflin University mass communications senior, is reporting for The Times and Democrat as a Lee Enterprises-sponsored news-sports intern.

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