Cool Schools: Utica Elementary Middle School

Cool Schools

UTICA, Miss. (WJTV) – Magic can happen when all sides of the teacher, student, and parent triangle are working together. 

Melva Burks understands that triangle, and goes above and beyond to hold up her end as a parent. But the PTO president was still surprised to be named Utica Elementary Middle School’s Parent of the Year.

“When I walked in and everybody was clapping, I was trying to figure out what was going on. I was excited,” Burks said.

With two daughters at the school, she’s always there to show support to the faculty and staff. 

“When a parent comes down to help in the school, it does something to that parent as well as that child. It makes you want to come back and do more, especially when you are accepted and the doors are open to do so,” Burks said.

According to Principal Will Smith, many of his parents are like Burks. So the decision to give her the award was hard.  

“She’s just all in with what we do. Anytime I’m faced with a challenge, I can give her a call. She is able to come up and help us deliver,” Smith said.

When funds to take students who did well on state testing to an NBA game fell short, it was Burks who stepped up to find a solution and keep the promise. 

Her motto is “Happy teachers, plus happy students, equal positive results.”

But Burks says being an involved parent is easy when you have a principal like Dr. Smith. Every year he’s lead the school, their rating has increased from a “D” to now a “B” rating. 

It’s a well-oiled machine they have going in Utica, and this parent is just one of the hardworking gears.

You can nominate your school to be the #CoolSchool of the week! Send us an email telling us about a program, teacher, parent or student to

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories