Student Spotlight: Jack Hoda

Story compiled by Kayla Rowe, graduate assistant with the Luckyday Program.

Sophomore Luckyday Scholar and Southern Miss student Jack Hoda recalled his experiences working as a Teacher Advisor in Rosedale, Mississippi, at the Rosedale Freedom Project this past summer. Read his story for insight into his service to the community.

What is the Freedom Project?

“The Freedom Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the educational, social, and economic advancement of youth in an impoverished community and failing school district. The summer program, modeled after the Freedom Schools of the 1960s, is offered to 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students who are given the opportunity to engage in rigorous reading and math curriculum structured around social justice that is relevant to them and their community. At the Freedom Project, students are able to expand their education through programs not regularly offered at their schools such as drama, African drumming, and gardening. As the summer comes to an end, we take the students on camping trips to Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee in which they visit Civil Rights museums and monuments, learning about the powerful history of social justice in the South. Throughout this program, students not only take charge of their own education but also learn how to be leaders in their schools and communities to create change.”

What impact did this experience have on you?

“Working at the Freedom Project has meant so much more to me than I ever thought it would. As the 7th grade math teacher, I was able to develop relationships with students that both pushed me to be a better teacher and encouraged them to chase after their education. My experience this summer has strengthened and solidified my passion for both education and social justice, while the relationships I have made with my fellow teachers and our director have developed into strong friendships that push me to grow as a teacher, student, and person. The work I have done and the relationships I have made this summer have played a great role in my continuing discovery of the plans I have for myself, my education, and my career.”

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