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The Starkville School District took home two first place awards during the Mississippi School Public Relations Association’s 2009 Awards of Excellence program in Jackson on Friday. SSD was awarded first place in the audio/visual category for its video, “Believe,” and in the marketing material category for a newspaper ad campaign promoting Starkville’s public schools.

“It is rewarding to be recognized for your work, especially work that you really believe in,” said SSD Public Information Officer Nicole Thomas.

“The awards reflect the talent of those who helped to create the ad campaign and the video as much as the quality and effectiveness of the projects themselves. The Starkville School District shares these awards with Parents for Public Schools and Broadcast Media Group, Inc.,” Thomas added.

“The MSPRA awards program recognizes outstanding school public relations efforts. The winning entries represent the diversity of education in Mississippi and epitomize the creativity and unique approaches to problem solving,” MSPRA President and Public Relations Director for McComb School District, Monique Gilmore said. “By honoring the best practices in school communications, MSPRA seeks to encourage the highest standard of school public relations.”

The eight-week newspaper ad campaign, sponsored by Parents for Public Schools, featured SSD students and alumni and showcased the numerous areas where SSD excels.

“This campaign would not have been possible without the financial support of PPS,” said Thomas. “PPS has always recognized the importance of marketing in public education, and they have always supported the efforts of the Starkville School District.”

“There are so many elements of quality in the Starkville public schools that are not reflected in accountability ratings,” said Brother Rogers, PPS president. “PPS is proud to showcase this quality and pleased to see it recognized statewide.”

Visit to see some of the award-winning ads.

“Believe,” a video that has garnered national attention and received more than 10,000 hits on YouTube, uses teachers and students to appeal to each member of the Starkville School District and the Starkville community to believe in, lean on, respect and encourage one another.

The video was a collaborative effort between the Starkville School District and Broadcast Media Group, a Starkville-based production company and a friend of the Starkville School District.

“The best way to tell a story is through the eyes and voices of those most impacted,” said Robbie Coblentz, Broadcast Media Group, Inc. president. ‘Believe’ is an example of that type of story telling. “Believe” is the Starkville School District’s story.”

“This video represents the best that we have to offer. Our greatest resources are our students and our teachers and our belief in each other,” said Supt. Judy Couey.

“The shared vision for the project is evident in the final product,” said Thomas. “It is a compelling video that stirs emotion, but more than that, it spotlights who we are in the Starkville School District and what we believe.”

“We’re very proud of this project,” added Coblentz. “It was fulfilling to be involved with the development of this message.”

View the video above.

Nicole Thomas
Public Information Officer
Starkville School District
401 Greensboro Street
Starkville, MS 39759
Phone: 662-615-0021
Fax: 662-324-4068