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Congrats to 2019 Mississippi Scholars

Lincoln County students who completed the Mississippi Scholars program were honored this past weekend at an awards ceremony and reception.

And while that’s special enough, the real reward is the scholarship money that each student in the program receives.

The Mississippi Scholars program is able to provide scholarships because of the generous donations of private individuals and community colleges and universities.  They see the value in encouraging students to excel in the classroom and in their communities, and donate accordingly.

The program’s requirements are academically rigorous but the community service and attendance requirements are just as vital to the success of students. The program requires that students complete 40 hours of community service during four years of high school. While that’s just 10 hours of service a year, it forces students to be aware of service opportunities in the communities. Those 40 hours also teach students to give back, something that’s sadly lacking in many high school students.

That requirement jumps to 80 hours in four years for the Class of 2022 and after. The minimum ACT score will increase from 18 to 19 in 2020 as well.

The attendance requirement is also important — students must have 95 percent attendance throughout high school. While that may seem silly to some, we know that simply showing up for class is sometimes half the battle of succeeding in college. The same goes for a job. Establishing a habit of showing up will prepare students for life after high school.

The program has more benefits that we can list here, but at its core it incentivizes the kind of academic and civic engagement that we seek for all students. Students who complete the program are better prepared for college or a technical school or a career.

A better educated population benefits all of us in Lincoln County, and we are grateful for the work of those who make the program a success. We are also grateful for the many individuals who donate to this worthy cause. Your contributions make Lincoln County a better place.

To the students who completed the program, we offer our congratulations.