Local program garners state accolades

Published 5:00 am Friday, April 6, 2007

The Brookhaven area is proud of its students and has made quitea name for itself within the Mississippi Scholars Program.

“From the state level, it would be that Brookhaven is one of ourleading areas as far as making a contribution to the initiative forthese students and awarding their achievements,” said VickiePowell, program manager and state director. “This year Brookhavenplans to recognize over 100 students at the end of April asMississippi Scholars, and that’s up from 29 last year.”

The Mississippi Scholars Banquet to honor Brookhaven and LincolnCounty scholars will be held April 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the EasthavenBaptist Church in the fellowship hall.

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“We are proud to honor these deserving students who haveachieved the Mississippi Scholar level,” said Kay Burton of theBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce. “They have appliedthemselves druing their high school years and they deserve to berecognized.”

The Mississippi Scholars Program has stated a desire for everyMississippi student to “increase their high school academic rigor.”Ideally, this offers students a greater number of opportunities asthey attend college or join the workforce.

Last year was the pilot year for the program and was consideredextremely successful. This year has far exceeded the expectationsof state officials as well as local leaders.

Kenny Goza, the local chairman for the Mississippi ScholarsInitiative, said 47 area business leaders made classroompresentations to over 1,700 students between eighth and 11th gradesto let them know of the perks and pertinence of being a MississippiScholar.

“And just seeing the jump in numbers in the last two years, itwill be great to see how many we have in the area when these eighthgraders who are being encouraged every year to particpate areseniors,” he said.

Last year there were eight $500 scholarships awarded totop-notch Mississippi Scholars. This year, with the help of localbusinesses, individuals and educators, there is over $16,500 inscholarship money available to participating students.

“There are two $500 scholarships per Lincoln County school,”said Burton. “And then there are some available through localcommunity colleges as well.”

Powell said local participation has really put Lincoln County onthe map, as very few other counties in Mississippi are showing thesame kind of interest and involvement.

“We’re proud of the Brookhaven community and the lengths they’vegone to to help with the Mississippi Scholars Program,” saidPowell. “I know they have a lot of enthusiasm there in Brookhavenand Lincoln County as far as recognizing students and pushing theinitiative. Kudos to Kay (Burton) and Kenny (Goza) for making itwork in the local community. I’d say Brookhaven is one of ourleaders as far as recognizing students in the local community.”