Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations; (662) 621-4157 - Matthew Killebrew - firstname.lastname@example.org
“Coahoma Agricultural High School made me what I am today,” said Dr. James Steven Blake as he recounted his days at CAHS and the teachers who set him on his way.
Dr. Blake was the honored guest in ceremonies Saturday as Coahoma Agricultural High School named a building for his generosity to Coahoma Community College and the high school. A renowned gastroenterologist practicing a Philadelphia, PA, Dr. Blake has endowed the schools with $100,000 as well as sponsoring summer trips up the East Coast from Washington, D.C. to New York City for honor students at CAHS.
Dr. Blake is a 1989 graduate of the high school and graduated from the University of Mississippi with degrees in zoology and chemistry. He earned his medical degree from the Philadelphia (PA) College of Osteopathic Medicine with further study at the University of Tennessee Medical School in Memphis.
“We were living in Peoria, Illinois in 1964 when my father got a letter from then President B.F. McLaurin offering him a job teaching in auto mechanics. My Mom intercepted the letter and held it for a while because she did not want to return to Mississippi.”
She eventually developed a guilty conscience, gave the letter to her husband, and the family packed up to move to Clarksdale, Mississippi.
“Mississippi was tough in 1964. There was a lot of unrest, but we managed. The move was good for us as my Dad had a long career at CCC and I attended the schools on campus.”
Among the dignitaries offering reflections of Dr. Blake was former CCC president Dr. McKinley Martin.
“You picked the right person to offer reflections about Dr. Blake and his family,” said Dr. Martin. “I was the first person to greet the Blake family upon their arrival which I recollect was during the night. We found them their place among faculty housing and I had the pleasure of watching Dr. Blake grow up on our campus.”
Also offering recollections was his former science teacher Mrs. Patricia Brown.
“You could tell five minutes into any class, he was going to become somebody,” Brown said. “He was always asking questions, very curious and inquisitive. Dr. Blake was a natural yearning to learn more than he knew the day before. It was a pleasure and challenge having him in the classroom.”
Dr. Blake recognized his former teachers who were attending the ceremonies, but had particular remarks for all of the English and Literature teachers who taught him.
“I have to tell you, when I entered Ole Miss, I was ready for English” Blake said. “English classes were tough at the University, but Coahoma Agricultural High School got me ready for English — thank you,” he ended.
Also giving heartfelt thanks were two Coahoma Community College students currently attending on a Blake Scholarship Award — Tre-Shawn Malone and Ashley Craig. They both offered heartfelt thanks and recounted how valuable the scholarship was in ensuring they will be able complete their first two years of college.
“Dr. Blake,” said Craig, “I wish I could find the words that go beyond thank you to express my appreciation for the opportunity you have given me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Following the ceremony in the George Lewis Theater, CCC President Dr. Valmadge Towner led Dr. Blake, his family, and friends outside of Building 3 of CAHS to unveil its new name — “The Dr. James Steven Blake Building”.
For more photos from this event CLICK HERE.