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Surprise visit gives scholarships to 3 at BHS

Three Brookhaven High School seniors were rewarded for excellentideas and writing Friday morning when the Educational ServicesFoundation Prize Patrol showed up at the school to present themwith $1,000 scholarship checks.

Allison Dann, Ashlee Richardson and Caryanne Rake received threeof 60 scholarships awarded statewide in the essay contest entitled,”What is the best idea you ever had?” The contest had over 900applicants with at least 3.0 GPAs from across the state.

ESF is Mississippi’s only non-profit student loan lender. Itreinvests in Mississippi students with free college planningassistance.

ESF spokesperson Heather Roberts said one school received five ofthe scholarships. And Brookhaven High School’s receiving three alsowas very impressive.

“For Brookhaven High to have three winners is huge,” she said. “Alot of schools didn’t have any winners.”

Dann’s essay was entitled, “The Sting of the Board,” and told of alesson she learned through her martial arts class.

“I was testing for my red belt, and I was running late,” she said.”So when it was time to break a board, I couldn’t do it the firstfew times because I was nervous. The best idea I ever had was toget there on time next time.”

Richardson wrote about deer hunting with her grandfather.

“I broke my nose,” she said. “So my best idea ever was never to godeer hunting with my grandfather again.”

Rake wrote about the death of her sister Alyson and how she haslearned to be the best person she can through her sister’s life anddeath.

BHS Principal Susan Chapman said having the Prize Patrol come tothe school was exciting but also a challenge for the few who inadvance of the surprise visit.

“It’s been hard for (Counselor Chris) Nash and I to keep a secretbecause we were the only ones who knew,” Chapman said.

School officials were also glad for the Prize Patrol’s visitbecause it offers incentives to younger students to participate inthe contest in coming years.

“This gives the impetus to the ninth-, 10th- and 11th-graders whosee this happen to not only participate in the contest, but to dowell,” said Chapman.

Family members of the winners were on hand to see them receivetheir checks from ESF. The family contigent included Mildred Smith,Richardson’s great-grandmother.

“She’s a good student, and I’m very excited and proud for her,” shesaid. “She’s very special to me.”

At one point students heard that two band members would recieve anaward. Dann’s mother, Mandy, said she had already been informed,but that it wasn’t hard to keep from spoiling the surprise for herdaughter.

“I was thrilled when I heard it,” said Dann, who was notified onThursday. “When Allison came home and said she’d heard two bandstudents were going to receive the scholarships, I told her ‘Oh,honey, don’t get your hopes up.'”

Richardson and Rake plan to attend Copiah-Lincoln CommunityCollege, while Dann plans to attend the University of SouthernMississippi.