For the past four generations, Dunnam Shirley has had family members become educators and leaders, and this all started by taking courses at Meridian Community College. Shirley is on the path to become an educator, and was recently appreciated for his hard work by earning a big-name award.
“The award is called the HEADWAE Award that stands for higher education appreciation Day working for academic excellence.
The Mississippi legislature passed a law where they recognized one college student and one college faculty member from all 34 public colleges and Universities in Mississippi.” Said Dunnam Shirley MCC student.
Although majoring in education has been trending in Shirley’s family ,it’s not something he always thought about considering.
“My ninth through 11th grade year, I was going to be a veterinarian, and then my senior year it kind of hit me like a freight train that hey you’re going to be a teacher, I still took my love for animals and my love for sciences and coupled that with my love for education, and now I’m a Biology education major.”Said Dunnam Shirley MCC student.
Shirley said he’s glad he can tackle two things at once, one following in the footsteps of his family and also sharing the knowledge of what he’s passionate about with students.
“Family traditions are a big staple in my house, I’m a fourth-generation educator, and I feel that it’s my calling, and I’m passionate about school, passionate about education and passionate about helping people succeed and learn.”Said Dunnam Shirley MCC student.
Those traditions trace back as early as the mid-20th century.
“Mama came here to MCC during her freshman and sophomore years right out of high school. Mama would have been here in 1957-58.”Said Dr. Angie Carraway MCC instructor.
Included in the family education bug is Dunnam's aunt.
"I came here as a dual enrollment student in my junior and senior years of high school, and then I’ve taken some courses since then. Said Angie Carraway MCC instructor.
It didn’t stop for Carraway as she serves as a chemistry instructor on campus and has even taught her nephew in some courses.
“I took chem one and chem two under her teachings, and I was also under her labs, and a lot of people ask well that must have been nice she showed you a lot of favoritism: no.” Said Dunnam Shirley MCC student.