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BHS students win scholarships for work in mentoring program

Six Brookhaven High School students were honored in a big wayFriday for their efforts in helping younger children through theBig Sisters/Big Brothers mentoring program.

Lacy Gaskin, David Russell, Catrice Stribling, Andrea Smith,Ashley Smith and Amy Nguyen were recognized by the MississippiMentoring Network and Mississippi’s Attorney General Mike Moorewith hefty scholarships at a luncheon at Primo’s NorthgateRestaurant in Jackson.

Moore complimented the students on helping the state get off toa good start by planting the seeds that will hopefully grow toothers of all ages.

“The mission is to turn this state around by giving up ourhearts to those who are less fortunate,” he said.

The students were also thanked and encouraged by Judge KathyKing Jackson, senior circuit court judge for district 19.

“I believe it’s absolutely true that you lead by example,” shesaid. “I encourage you to keep mentoring, where you’re in some typeof program or just seeing someone who needs help.”

Gaskin and Russell received the highest awards of $5,000scholarships, which were given to only five students in the entirestate.

After accepting the scholarship, Gaskin was asked to say a fewwords about her mentoring experiences during the past year.

She spoke to the crowd of around 150 about how much she hadlearned from the student she was mentoring, and how humbled she wasby the scholarship.

“I feel so completely undeserving because all I did was make anew friend,” said Gaskin amidst a few tears.

Gaskin, whose parents are Maurice and Tina Gaskin, also spokeabout how important and rewarding it is to participate in somethingworthwhile, such as mentoring.

“It was so good for me to give up my time and my heart thisyear,” she remarked. “Life means nothing if you can’t say you lovedsomeone.”

Gaskin’s comments had such an impact on the group of students,parents and state officials that she was given a standingovation.

Russell was unable to attend the ceremony, but was representedby his parents, Duane and Carmen Russell. A representative from theattorney general’s office read a few remarks from his essay, whichwas one of the requirements in applying for the scholarships.

In his essay, Russell wrote about how he could tell he wasmaking a difference in his mentee’s life by just listening andspending time with the child.

Andrea Smith, who along with Stribling received a $2,500scholarship, attended the ceremony with her mother, PauletteSmith.

Ashley Smith and her parents, Perry and Mary Smith, were also onhand to accept the $2,000 scholarships she was awarded.

Those awards combined with Nguyen’s $500 scholarship brought$17,500 to the Brookhaven High School students, making severalBrookhavenites proud.

“I’m really proud of the number of students from Brookhaven thatwere recognized. It again proves the quality of our school systemas well as our students,” said Dr. Jim Barnett, who was on hand towitness the students’ recognition.

Brookhaven High School Principal Roy Balentine, who was alsopresent, was excited to see the area represented so well. He plansto continue encouraging students to get involved with mentoringprograms.