Students lobbying to make the blueberry the state fruit are honored at the State Capitol

Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 8:26 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -We are one signature away from the blueberry becoming Mississippi’s state fruit. It’s a story we first told you about last month when we introduced you to some special students at Mannsdale Upper Elementary.

Friday, they got an all-access tour of the State Capitol.

" It’s my honor today to introduce the fourth-grade class of Mannsdale Elementary School,” said Rep. Jill Ford from the House floor. “The class that actually had the good idea of making the blueberry the state fruit. Please make them feel welcome today.”

They received a standing ovation.

Their field trip comes just one day after the news that the bill passed the State Senate. Project Blueberry group’s excitement tamed some as they marveled at the Capitol building, many of them for the first time.

“I have two letters that I received delivered to my desk that were handwritten,” noted Sen. Daniel Sparks. “One from Strick Spencer.”

“Now we’re here in the Capitol,” said student Strick Spencer. “It’s like really, really cool because now it’s going to the governor, and he had to say yes to get it passed.”

The visit taught them about how their efforts went from research to reality.

“This right here made an impact on me,” said Sen. Michael McClendon in reference to a letter he received from one of the students. “That’s exactly why I voted for it, and I want to thank you.”

“It’s really cool because we’ve all done this,” added student Everett Kern. “Both of us, both classes, handwritten letters. It’s just really cool that it’s going to the governor now.”

“Always remember your word, your encouragement, especially in your own handwriting, means a lot,” explained Sparks. “Y’all made this happen.”

Bill sponsor Rep. Jill Ford was beaming with pride for the students.

“I am overwhelmed that we have been able to watch this go from nothing but a good idea to be manifested into an actual law,” noted Ford.

And their teacher.

“I just am beaming with pride as if they’re my own personal children,” said teacher Lisa Parenteau. “I don’t think they understand the gravity of it. I don’t understand the gravity of it. I haven’t wrapped my head around it.”

This is their message to the governor when the bill to make the blueberry the state fruit officially hits his desk.

“He should sign it because we’ve worked hard for this,” said student Tailyn Haugh.

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