Beauty queen makes the grade

Published 8:38 pm Saturday, February 11, 2017

Many great things have happened for Tia Bussey that weren’t in her master plan.

While juggling hats as a cheerleader, softball player and member of the National Honor Society and Mississippi Scholars, the 17-year-old senior was also voted by her classmates as homecoming queen and Miss BHS.

Bussey was also on the homecoming court all three years prior.

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“I didn’t ask for the votes,” Bussey said. “I’m just glad that my peers voted me to represent the school as homecoming queen and Miss BHS.”

She’s very proud of her accomplishments, but she never expected many of them would happen. Her only goal was to work hard towards her future. Her parents — Andre and Rhonda Bussey-Spiller and Toney and Tiniki Bussey — instilled that quality in her.

The hard work has led her to the most recent achievement of being recognized as a member of the National Society of High School Scholars.

NSHSS, which was founded in Georgia in 2002, recognizes top scholars who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, scholarship and community commitment. They provide lifetime membership to young scholars to support their growth and development.

“I didn’t apply for it, but I got an email from it and thought it was National Honor Society,” she said. “They sent me a letter in the mail with my certificate and my cord; that’s when I realized it was not the same honor society.”

The organization provides lifetime membership to young scholars to support their growth and development.

“We aim to help students like Tia build on their academic success by connecting them with unique learning experiences and resources to help prepare them for college and meaningful careers,” NSHSS President James Lewis said.

Bussey’s future career involves sports and pets. She received an athletic scholarship to play softball at Southwest Mississippi Community College. “I have a 23 on my ACT right now. I’m trying to get it to a 25 so I can to take care of the other half of my college expenses. That will handle my tuition for both years,” she said.

She plans to study veterinary medicine at Auburn University in Alabama afterward. “Since I was little girl, I loved pets. I had a dog, cat, fish and even little chickens for Easter one year,” she said. “ I feel like it’s our duty as humans to help them because they can’t help themselves.”

Along with her school activities, Bussey is also very involved in the community. She has mentors who help guide her like Falana McDaniel, who leads the Rising Stars for Christ mentoring group, and Betty Jean Jones, who leads Cultured Pearls. Bussey serves as the mentee president for that mentoring group.

Her biggest mentor is her mother Rhonda. “She’s a very outgoing person, optimistic and positive. I can be struggling in a class and she’ll remind me that God can help me through all things,” she said. “She’s a very big role model in my life and she’s done so much for me and my brother. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.”

Bussey wants to encourage her own peers like her community of supporters does for her. “My mom always told me that no matter what I’m going through to always keep my head up,” she said. “With the help of God, anything and everything is possible. My favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 3:16. ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.”

Tia Bussey

Tia Bussey