Miss. Scholars to be honored Monday night

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 28, 2008

The Mississippi Scholars program has progressed by leaps andbounds in the three years since its inception, and this year bringsanother advance for the program in the technological field.

The annual Mississippi Scholars banquet, held at EasthavenBaptist Church at 6:30 Monday night, will be available on theInternet for people to watch live during the event. By going towww.easthaven.net, viewers can watch their favorite high schoolseniors on stage from their personal computer.

“The church has it linked, and we’re set up to do video on theWeb site,” said Mississippi Scholars Chairman Kenny Goza. “We’regoing to bring the link to the front of the homepage so people canview it from their homes.”

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Goza said the event will be the largest so far, with 163 seniorsfrom all the schools in the county, including the Lincoln CountySchool District, Brookhaven High School, Mississippi School of theArts, and Brookhaven Academy. In addition, more that $37,000 inscholarships will be awarded Monday night.

“Monday night is the climax, or the great event for those whohave applied themselves the last several years of school in orderto put their best foot forward in the world,” said MississippiScholars Vice-Chairman of Fundraising David Culpepper. “Our firstyear we had 42 Mississippi Scholars county-wide, and now we’re upto over 160.”

Culpepper said everyone involved with the scholars program isexcited about the progress it has made.

“We started out with a hope and a dream, and three years intoit, we’ve well extended expectations,” Culpepper said. “The buy-inhas really come from school administrators and community businessleaders, and we want to make sure it continues forward.”

The banquet is a chance to honor students who chose toparticipate in the program, which encourages students to take amore rigorous course load in order to be better prepared forcollege and the real world, organizers said.

“It honors the students from an academic angle, honoring theirachievements,” Goza said. “It’s an exciting time for them as theyprepare for college.”

Culpepper said programs like Mississippi Scholars are imperativeto the county not only for the education of its young people, butalso for its future growth.

“This is only going to help southwest Mississippi when thesekids come out of college and enter the workforce,” he said. “Itgives them the right kinds of tools to handle life, govern and runthe country, make smart decisions as business leaders, etcetera. Wehope when these kids do come back, then they’ll give back to thecommunity.”