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Where Are They Now: Rev. Anderson “Ted” Graves, II

What year did you graduate? I graduated from Bassfield High School in 1989.

Where did you go from there? I went to University of Alabama and received my Bachelors in Language Education and Masters in Education Administration.

The Prentiss Headlight—Anderson Graves' high school photo from Bassfield High

The Prentiss Headlight—Anderson Graves’ high school photo from Bassfield High

Wife and Children: I met my wife Sheila (Asberry) in Montgomery. We have been married 22 years. She is a teacher also, the daughter of a teacher and a principal. We have two children, Kaitlin who is graduating this year and will be attending Jackson State, and Anderson Graves III age 13.

What was your career choice and why? I taught school for 11 years, English, reading, drama, then was a high school assistant principal in 2006-2013. I really didn’t intend to be an educator when I left for school but I guess it was just in my blood. In 2006 at 34 years old I surrendered to the ministry and now am pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church and Executive Director of SAYNO (Substance Abuse Youth Network Organization), a nonprofit to help youth avoid drugs.

Do you still have relatives or friends here that you visit? Most of my family is still in JDC. My Mom and Dad are Buford and Shirley Graves. Dad’s family is in Bassfield and my mom’s in Prentiss. Dad was a farmer and director of 5-County Child Development and Mom taught at Prentiss Institute.

Who were your best friends in school? Eric Thompson and Mandell Echols. Mandell is Teacher of the Year at East Marion. Those were the guys I got in trouble with. I was a heathen when I left JDC but David Echols, Mandell’s brother is the one who led me to Christ at college.

What were your favorite activities in JDC while growing up? Anything that would get me out of working on the farm. I was in the band and loved reading.

Who were people in the county that influenced you or your career choice? There are so many. Edna McLeod was my 1st grade teacher and a member of my home church, Holly Springs. I went to Head Start and failed the test for 1st grade. My mom said it was not because I couldn’t do it but I was stubborn and didn’t want to answer those “baby” questions.

Ms. Edna took me under her wing and pushed me. I went from thinking I was slow to receiving full academic scholarship to UA. She used to tell me if I would do certain things for her she would sing at my wedding.

Well, I got married at Holly Springs and she did sing at my wedding! Erma Griffith and Leon Griffith mentored me before I had even heard of the word.

Ms. Erma took a group of us students and taught us etiquette teaching us how to be a gentleman and how to talk to girls and people. Doris Glen Hathorn was my Jr. High English teacher who also taught us what we needed to know as a person and when she found out I was going to teach English my Aunt Carolyn Hathorn sent me a box of English literature and a box of theological material when she found out I was going to be a minister.

Tug Lee, also a member of Holly Springs probably never finished high school but asked us boys history questions and gave us life lessons. Ilean Allen, my 12th grade English teacher was the hardest teacher I had including those in college.

She made me write my research paper over again because I formed my “f’s” wrong. She brought out a form of English in me that I never knew I had. My grandparents and aunts especially talked to me about life.

The Prentiss Headlight—Anderson Graves, II

The Prentiss Headlight—Anderson Graves, II

What advice would you give to those who are growing up in the county now to insure their future success? When I left JDC I left the farm intent on putting the area behind me.

Only after I left did I realize how much I owed Bassfield, MS.

When I got out into the world I found the values I had been taught such as, don’t mistreat the old and the young and respect women, and there is nothing worse than being a sorry man, as well as good work ethics, are not universal.

Work hard at whatever is in front of you and, as I was told, “don’t be stupid, act like you’ve got some sense.” I believe I had an advantage even in academic and intellectual settings because I had Bassfield country sense. Learn a physical trade, Learn from those who work the hardest jobs, those with calloused hands.

Do what has to be done just because it has to be done. Stay in church and get good lessons in faith. Eventually, you will realize you need it.