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Amanda Hanegan, MPSD Teacher of the Year, Recognized as MSU-Meridian Outstanding Graduate back button

MSU-Meridian Spring Commencement Recognized Outstanding Graduates


Article Courtesy of Mississippi State University - Meridian

Amanda Hanegan, Meridian High School Math Teacher

Mississippi State University-Meridian held its spring commencement exercises on Friday, May 10 at MSU Riley Center with 124 degrees conferred. The graduates were from 40 cities/towns and two states. There were 41 honor graduates and 40 Riley Scholars; individuals who received the Riley Next Step Scholarship, four semesters of tuition and fees, which was established in the fall of 2010 by The Riley Foundation and other generous donors.

Five students were also chosen as 2012-2013 Outstanding Graduates including veteran educator Amanda Hanegan.

For the past two years, Amanda Hanegan has taught math at Meridian High School by day and by night was a student at Mississippi State University-Meridian. The 39-year-old mother of two received a Master’s of Arts in Teaching Community College Education degree from MSU-Meridian at spring commencement.

Hanegan was also recognized by the division of education at MSU-Meridian as Outstanding Graduate student and earlier this year she was recognized by the Meridian Public School District as their Teacher of the Year.

“Teaching is truly a calling,” said Hanegan. “I felt the call one summer years ago when I was a counselor at Camp Discovery, a math and science camp in Natchitoches, Louisiana. At the time I was a Physics major at Northwestern State University. After that summer I decided I liked working with kids so I switched my major to education.”

She began her teaching career in Shreveport, not far from where she grew up, then she and her husband, whom she met at Camp Discovery, moved to Chicago. Then it was off to Dallas, Texas, where she continued to teach while he completed his residency and then the couple moved to Mississippi where Hanegan has taught for 13 years.

“I think going back to school was good for me in a lot of ways,” she reflected. “It helped me appreciate my students who are balancing work, school, and other responsibilities at home since I had to learn to juggle those same activities. I also think it was good for my children to see the effort and determination and sacrifice it takes to earn a degree.”

Hanegan hopes since she is now qualified to teach college classes that it might be possible, in the near future, for Meridian High students interested in MCC’s dual enrollment program, to take some mathematic college classes at the high school rather than going to the community college.

“This would be great for those students who have no way to get to MCC during the school day,” she said, “and I hope that the administration and college will be able to work something out.”

In the meantime – Hanegan will enjoy just being an educator again - and not a student too!

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