HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The City of Hattiesburg has been recognized by the EXCEL BY 5 organization for its efforts to prepare children for elementary school.
EXCEL BY 5 is a private, corporate-sponsored certification program in Mississippi for communities which have developed support systems for families with pre-school aged children.
Thursday, EXCEL BY 5 board members presented the city with its certification during a celebration at Kamper Park.
13 communities across the state have been certified so far.
"It means that we really do value education and that's really what this is about, that our young people are valued enough that we want to make sure that they are prepared for school when they get there," said Johnny Dupree, mayor of Hattiesburg. "It takes the collaboration of a lot of different people and agencies together to make this work," he said.
"The overall goal is for those children to be really ready, healthy, happy and ready to succeed when they do begin school," said Nadine Coleman, chair of the board of directors of EXCEL BY 5.
Petal was the first city in the state to get its certification.