Mississippi Scholars initiative continues success in Winston County

By Joseph McCain The Winston County Journal

Twenty-five of Winston County’s 2012 graduates went the extra mile in their education to be named a Mississippi Scholar. The Winston County Chamber in conjunction with the Mississippi Higher Education Initiative helped fund a recognition breakfast for the students.

The breakfast allowed the students to discuss their future plans and receive encouragement from community leaders. “It takes hard work and dedication,” Mayor Will Hill said. “We are proud of you.”

He added, “You are marketing yourself for the future with your present accomplishments.”

The Winston County Mississippi Scholars program is headed up by Mary Snow, co-owner of the Jewel Shoppe. She encourages the students to strive the extra mile for the Mississippi Scholars recognition since she knows that better students make for a better community.

Snow has been visiting 7th and 8th grade class rooms for almost 9 years to highlight the importance of the program to students about to enter high school and chose a path to graduation.

The Mississippi Scholars Initiative is an education program managed by the Public Education Forum of Mississippi. The Initiative uses business leaders such as Snow to motivate students to complete a rigorous course of study in high school. The goal is to prepare students for a meaningful high school education and beyond.

“The best way to ensure Mississippi has a workforce that can compete globally is through education,” said Winston County Economic Development Director Gerald Mills who also spoke at the breakfast. “Companies seek employees with the math, science, English and language foundations to work in teams, communicate with each other and who can learn new skills. Students who fail to acquire these skills in high school miss a crucial window of opportunity.”

According to some education data, Mississippi Scholar graduates are more likely to be ready for postsecondary education without the need for remediation; they are academically prepared for high tech, military job training and apprenticeship programs; and they are provided with meaningful school and community recognition.

This year’s class of Mississippi Scholars were: Winston Academy: Nan Hartness Lindsey McCool Mary Katherine Black Smith Ashley Hayden Stokes Anna Katherine Baskin Hayden Fryery Brooke Massey Lauren Rogers Brooke Harriman Kimberly King Madeline Fulcher Sara Wray Chris Young Tyler Sullivan Matt Levin Madison Mills Grace Christian School: Harli Eaves Nanih Waiya: Teylor Martinez Brooklyn Shepheard Louisville High School: Ashley Shields Rasheda Nicholson Kierra Griffin Asia Sherrod Jasmine Hannah

Mississippi Higher Education Initiative is funded with a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission and aims to encourage students to pursue further education after high school. The Winston County Chamber of Commerce is a partner in the grant and is funding projects throughout the Winston County schools to encourage higher education.