Southern Miss opens Golden Stars youth initiative with men's basketball program
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The Southern Miss men's basketball team is off to its best home winning streak since the 2011-12 season, and an added bonus to the community buzz has been the brand-new Golden Stars program, an academic rewards initiative for elementary and middle school students in the Pine Belt area.
Participating schools set their own criteria for students to qualify. Each student who achieves the honor receives two complimentary tickets to the game and gets recognized on the court at halftime. Their names also get displayed on the videoboards throughout the contest, and they receive certificates as well.
"We just want to make sure we are getting involved in the local community, doing our part to give back and promote the importance of education," Murray Littlepage, director of marketing, said. "We think it's a great opportunity to get kids in the area to a college campus and see what it's like, hopefully inspiring them to keep working hard in school and expose them to Southern Miss."
Schools honored during Saturday's 85-78 win over North Texas were Rowan, Thames, Hawkins and Woodley Elementary, as well as Burger Middle in the Hattiesburg district. The next Golden Stars game is slated for Saturday, Feb. 10.