An Instructor with Years of Experience is Changing Lives at East Mississippi Correctional Facility
“I have a passion for working with these guys.”
Bonnie Sims, instructor of the GED program at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility in Meridian, MS leads the way in GED graduates. They have more than any other correctional facility in the state. While there are several staff members involved in this remarkable achievement, Ms. Sims is the catalyst.
“It just makes you feel so good when someone has a breakthrough,” she says.
At 82 years young and a widely respected career in education behind her, Ms. Sims still teaches with energy and a desire to change lives.
Isaiah Sanders is one of her successful students.
“Ms. Sims was exceptional,” he says. “She was special. She was special because at times I got frustrated with the process, and I couldn’t figure it out. She had the patience to sit through me being frustrated and walked me through it. And I appreciate that.”
Balin Russell is another GED graduate.
“Oh, it’s a great accomplishment,” he says with pride. “It makes me feel proud of myself, makes me feel proud of my parents that they helped me be the person I am today. The tutors and teachers here have helped me become the person I am today just by the morals that they go by. Just to teach in a prison like this. It can’t be easy to teach in a setting like this.”
Daniel Baker is the lead academic instructor at the facility which holds a strong emphasis in programming in general and changing lives.
“We’re proud to come to work knowing that we’re going to do something positive, in a positive way; that we’re going to change a life. That’s what keeps me here, is knowing that we’re helping somebody, and that, to me, is more than all the money in the world.”
Sean Land is a resident who has also experienced success in the GED and other programs.
“Being inside these prison walls doesn’t stop who I am as a person It doesn’t stop me from advancing my education. It doesn’t stop me from being better.”
“If I have a weakness,” concludes Ms. Sims, “it’s the love for my fellowman, especially those in need. It’s a part of me.”