Jones is Home for the Holidays

Brett Young shows off his championship ring and brilliant smile at a local restaurant.

One of the greatest things about the holidays in Quitman is to see a QHS alumnus at a local restaurant, shake his hand, and say, “Jones, man. It’s so good to see you. What are you doing now?”

Brett has that huge smile on his face when he mentions Virginia, a basketball state championship with Lake Taylor High School, a Teacher of the Year award, and to get in a conversation with this 2004 QHS graduate makes you smile as you think, “Mr. and Mrs. Jones have all their babies home this week.”

They have definitely raised and are raising some incredible children. Their second born laughs and nods when he says, “We all have advanced degrees, and I think my brother is getting ready to go back soon. He’s the philanthropist of us,” he points to his wrist and shows the 2nd and 21st (BU) Mentoring bracelet representing the nonprofit his brother has established. “College was not an option. Undoubtedly we were going to college. I remember during my senior year how I thought I would take it easy since I had what I needed. We had to stay at school all day because basketball practice started at 7th period. We couldn’t leave. So I just picked easy classes, and then I took the schedule to my mom and she changed it. I took Pre-Calculus, Probability and Statistics, and Chemistry during my senior year. I had to have A’s and B’s to play sports, and in order to get a car, I had to graduate with honors.”
Jones got the car and was only told once in junior high that he couldn’t play sports because of a C. He didn’t have a C for long.Brett Jones is happy to be home.
It was at Quitman Junior High that Jones decided he would become a teacher.
“When I was in the 7th grade, I watched this show about a 15 year old. They were talking about him being a professional athlete. And I’m talking. And I’m watching. I know I’m decent. I’m okay as a player. But I knew then I was not going to be a professional athlete. That’s when I knew I wanted to coach. My mom said, ‘If you are going to coach, you are going to have to teach. Jobs with coaches as P.E. teachers do not come along often.’ Then in 10th grade, I met Mrs. Daisy McKenzie in Accelerated English. She challenged me. She said, ‘You have a gift to speak, and because of that, you have a gift to write. I would write about my goals, self motivating stuff. I want to do this. I want to do that. Speaking those things into existence. When I got into the classroom (as a teacher), I saw the impact she had on me.”

Jones talks with a QHS classmate he hasn't seen in years.

Jones has a list of familiar names, such as Coach Hampton, Coach Pettigrew, and Coach Russell, among many others, who inhabit so many legendary stories for him. But for the current students of Quitman School District, his advice comes from his own experience teaching, coaching, and being the Athletic Director at Lake Taylor Middle School in Norfolk, VA.
“Enjoy your journey because your journey is different than everyone else’s journey. Your struggles and your successes are going to be different than everyone else’s struggles and successes. How we measure success is by your effort, not your outcome. What’s meant for you is meant for you. Be proud of Quitman. Be proud of Mississippi. Dream big, and remember what Kendrick Lamar said, ‘If you’re generous at heart, you don’t need recognition. The way you are awarded is God’s decision.'”