Program molds young men into educators

Published 1:26 pm Thursday, October 1, 2015

Students at Longwood University are making moves towards the future of education with the institution’s Call Me MISTER initiative, a program established to foster a broader range of available teachers within the community.

According to Cedric Hawkes, the vice president of the Call Me MISTER program, “the term MISTER is literally an acronym that stands for men instructing students toward effective role models. The mission is to encourage and steer more males, particularly African-Americans, into the educational field.”

Dr. Maurice Carter, the director of the program, said it was established and implemented during 2007-2008 school year. Admission into the program requires that a student be enrolled in a participating university or college where a degree and teaching certification will be obtained. “The Call Me Mister program offers financial assistance toward tuition and books for the students enrolled in the program.

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In addition, the program offers a brotherhood that is designed to help foster each other’s growth and educational success,” Hawkes said.

“Teaching is a career that does not pay an enormous amount or have terribly good hours,” organization treasurer Joshua Reeves said. “On the other hand, teachers get to impact the next generation and serve as mentors to kids that sometimes have no positive role models in their lives.”

According to Longwood University’s Call Me MISTER website, “it is expected that a MISTER who completes his program of study and becomes certified to teach will assume a teaching position and teach one year for each year they received financial support from the Call Me MISTER program.”

In addition, students enrolled in the program engage in a variety of projects that allow the participants to give back to the local community. “There are several community initiatives that the Call Me MISTER program is involved in, including assisting with the Habitat for Humanity, tutoring/mentoring young students at the middle and high school levels in various surrounding counties and participating in the Martin Luther King Day Challenge,” Hawkes said.

“My most memorable experience would definitely be mentoring elementary school students last semester,” Reeves said. “Just by going to see them a few times a week, we could motivate a group of kids to do better in school and to behave better in and outside of the class,” he said.

“As an older college student, [at] age 33, I thoroughly enjoy having the opportunity to interact with my fellow Misters and help to foster their growth as young men,” Hawkes said.

In addition, without the financial assistance offered by the … program, it would not have been financially possible for me to return to college to finish my degree,” he said. Currently, a total of 19 students are enrolled in the program. “It’s vital,” Carter said of the program’s presence at Longwood and in the community.

To learn more about the Call Me MISTER program, visit or call (434) 395-2663.