Making A Difference: Magnolia Speech School - - Jackson, MS

Making A Difference: Magnolia Speech School

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

This story is not only about a person Making A Difference, but a whole school.The school is Magnolia Speech School and the person is Libba Matthews. She just passed away, but her legacy is still here with us. 

Who was Libba Matthews? Well, she was 99 years old when she died recently, so you may not have known her personally.  Lots of people did meet her over the years in her capacity as the founder of Magnolia Speech School in Jackson. And it wasn’t like she just jumped out of bed one day and decided to create a unique school. No, being a mother was her necessity to invent.

"Libba’s son was born profoundly deaf 60 plus years ago and she decided at that time she wanted him to be oral and there was no oral education for the deaf here in Mississippi," said Valerie Linn, Executive Director of the Magnolia Speech School. "And she took it upon herself to find a way to make that happen for her son. And here we are 60 years later and she’s touched hundreds of lives through her passion and commitment for her son."

The little school out on Flagg Chapel Drive in west Jackson has far exceeded it’s first mandate and has broadened its scope in education of children with all sorts of communication issues to the point it is probably the only school exactly like it in the country.

These are smart kids but they have difficulty communicating. And that can keep them from being who they were created to be. That’s what Magnolia Speech School addresses. And it has attracted families from all over the country to take advantage of it.

"As far away as Alaska and Pennsylvania, they have come here to Magnolia Speech School. And we serve children from every county in the state," added Valerie. "So families have moved here so their children can get this intense education and then go back into their public school or their school of choice. Our idea is to love them when they come in but from the minute they come in, plan on how they’re going to get out."

But none of it would have happened had it not been for Libba Matthews, and her son, who she was determined to help. And has Made A Difference for so many others in the process.

Only about 25% of Magnolia Speech School’s operating expenses are covered by tuition. They depend on the community for the rest of the support.

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