Program urges students to do more in school

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 2, 2009

Area students soon will be given the opportunity to participatein an exciting and challenging program as they continue theireducational careers.

Lincoln County’s Mississippi Scholars officials are gearing upfor their annual presentations to city, county and academy studentsto encourage them to take part in the program. It urges junior highand high school students to pursue a more challenging curriculum inorder to be better prepared to continue their education at thecollege level or to join the workforce immediately aftergraduation.

Upon graduation, Mississippi Scholars are recognized for theirachievements at an annual banquet. They are also designated as suchon their diplomas.

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A further incentive for program participants is the opportunityto obtain scholarships to assist with college expenses. Parents,who in many cases are asked to foot the college bill, should beparticularly interested in that aspect of Mississippi Scholars – inaddition, of course, to wanting their children to get the besteducation possible.

With its exponential growth since its 2004 inception, theLincoln County scholars program continues to be the shining star inthe state. What began with 26 students vying for $8,000 inscholarships reached a new peak earlier this year when 62 studentswere awarded around $90,000 in scholarships.

Overall, more than 200 high school seniors from city and countypublic schools, Brookhaven Academy and the Mississippi School ofthe Arts participated in the program during the last school year.That total represented a little more than 40 percent of thecounty’s overall senior class.

The local program also continues to gain attention from statecolleges and universities that recognize the quality of thestudents being produced by the schools in Brookhaven and LincolnCounty. With the University of Southern Mississippi coming on boardthe scholarship train this, 11 two- or four-year colleges in thestate are offering scholarships to graduates from thiscommunity.

A vital cog in the local machine are the businesspeople andother volunteers who give their time to make the presentations tostudents regarding the scholars program. Volunteer training will beheld later this month and then they will be sent into schools topitch the program.

While straight-A easily recognize the value of pursuing the morerigorous and challenging curriculum, Mississippi Scholars aims toencourage other students to reach higher and tackle more as they gothrough school. By doing so, it is hoped that they and society reapthe rewards both now and in the future.