Biloxi First to ‘honor’ Susan Hunt

Susan Hunt has dedicated her life to the children of Biloxi, whether through being a career educator, or working with Biloxi Excel By 5 or helping spark an interest in the colorful traditions of Mardi Gras, and now a group of her friends are gathering to “honor” her lifetime of achievement.

Susan Hunt

Hunt will be the honoree at the Biloxi First Roast scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 9 at the IP Casino Resort Spa, which is sponsoring the affair. Roasters lined up for the dinner are civic leaders Butch and Andi Oustalet, restaurateur Bobby Mahoney, Biloxi Councilman and former school superintendent Paul A. Tisdale, former Biloxi Mayor Gerald Blessey, and attorney Ron Peresich. The event will be emceed by Wayne Stephens. Doors open at 6 p.m.; program begins at 7 p.m.

It’s a benefit for Biloxi First, a group that provides funding for classroom endeavors at Biloxi Public Schools.

Tickets to the affair begin at $50 (or a reserved table of 10 for $1,000) and can be purchased through Biloxi First board member Liz Joachim at (228) 436-4697 (ext. 7) or via email at  lj@fpcorso.com

“Susan Hunt is a Biloxi institution, all Biloxi, all the time,” said Mayor A.J. Holloway, a longtime friend of the Hunt family. “Susan will be a great person to be roasted, because everybody has a Susan Hunt story.”

Hunt, a graduate of the Mississippi University for Women with masters and bachelor’s degrees in elementary education, began her Biloxi career in 1978 as a principal at Gorenflo Elementary. She later served as principal at Michel Middle School, as the district’s drug-free coordinator and outreach coordinator, as a parent liaison, and today leads the community‚Äôs initiative Biloxi Excel By 5 as certification manager.¬† Biloxi Excel By 5 helps parents prepare their children for the classroom environment.

During her career, Hunt also served as the city’s director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, and Human Services, and as the executive director of the Biloxi Bay Chamber of Commerce.

Mardi Gras is a big part of Hunt’s life. Her father, the late Walter Kenner ‚ÄúSkeet‚ÄĚ Hunt, was a longtime Captain of Carnival in Biloxi, and she carries on that tradition as a volunteer with Gulf Coast Carnival Association. She and her sister Martha Hunt Tripp coordinate the “shoe box float” contest for children each year. She also helps with the annual Children’s Mardi Gras Walking Parade, an event her mother, the late Ruth Huls Hunt, launched years ago.

Hunt  is a graduate of Leadership Gulf Coast, where she served as a program chair and on the board of directors; a graduate of Leadership Mississippi, and is on the board of several civic groups and educational foundations, including serving as the chair of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Board of Trustees.

Hunt has been recognized many times over the years: The March of Dimes gave her a “Spotlight on Success” award, the city named her its “Educator of the Year” in 2013, and the Coast Chamber’s Young Professionals declared her “Forever Young” just last year.

Said Holloway with a smile: “Susan Hunt has a great deal of good things to improve the quality of life for Biloxians, especially our children, but I don’t think she’s going to be recognized for those things on Oct. 9 at the IP. This is going to be an evening where we have a great deal of fun at Susan’s expense, for a good cause.”

Make your reservations: The Biloxi First Roast of Susan Hunt will be Thursday, Oct. 9 at the IP Casino Resort Spa. Doors open at 6 p.m.; program begins  at 7 p.m. Tickets to the affair begin at $50 (or a reserved table of 10 for $1,000) and can be purchased through Biloxi First board member Liz Joachim at (228) 436-4697 (ext. 7) or via email at  lj@fpcorso.com