Over 100 students achieve Miss. Scholar designation

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Mae Ford was excited about all the scholarships awarded and therecognition she and other area seniors received Monday night at theMississippi Scholars Banquet held at Easthaven Baptist Church.

“I’m so proud to be a Mississippi Scholar,” said the MississippiSchool of the Arts senior. “It’s an honor to know I’ve accomplishedsomething outstanding before I graduate.”

King, who plans to attend the University of Southern Mississippifor dance education, is one of more than 100 Mississippi Scholarsfrom Lincoln County this year.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Mississippi Economic Council’s Cynthia McMillan spoke to thegroup of students, parents, school administrators, and members ofthe community, telling them how far the program had come since itstarted in 2003.

“I think it’s important to tell you all how much this programmeans,” she said. “If you tally up the students across the state,we’ve topped the 2,000 mark this year. While that may not seem likea lot, we started with less than 50 in 2003.”

The Lincoln County Mississippi Scholars program distributed morethan $16,000 in scholarships Monday night from funds raised locallyto support the program in area schools.

Krista Lilly, of West Lincoln Attendance Center, received a$1,000 scholarship.

“I’m so happy,” she said. “I would tell anyone thinking aboutenrolling in the Mississippi Scholars Program to do it, because younever know until you try.”

Effort was one of the things McMillan stressed in her talk tothe group.

“Each of you has opportunities,” she said. “You’ll makedecisions and you’ll go on to do really important things. This roomcould have been packed if other students had only taken thechallenge.”

Many students were of the opinion that they were glad they hadtaken the extra effort to become Mississippi Scholars.

“Being a Mississippi Scholar is more than a sticker on yourdiploma,” said Deunte Ford, the valedictorian from the MississippiSchool of the Arts. “It’s a lifelong accomplishment.”

Area educators turned out in order to show support for theprogram as well.

“This is a great recognition of scholarship,” said Dr. HowellGarner, president of Copiah-Lincoln Community College. “We oftenrecognize sports and other accomplishments, but we don’t recognizescholarship enough. It’s important for us to give this projectsupport.”

McMillan summed it all up in one easy-to-remember phrase.

“Pay now, play later,” she said. “Or play now and pay later.It’s your choice.”

The scholarships given out were given based on administrators’judgment of the needs of the students, and the money was donated byarea colleges, local businesses and individuals.