Jackson Co. scholarship program celebrates 25 years - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Jackson Co. scholarship program celebrates 25 years

For 25 years, the Explosion of Excellence program has given scholarships to Jackson County high school seniors graduating in the top 10 percent of their class. (Photo source: WLOX) For 25 years, the Explosion of Excellence program has given scholarships to Jackson County high school seniors graduating in the top 10 percent of their class. (Photo source: WLOX)
JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

For 25 years, the Explosion of Excellence program has given scholarships to Jackson County high school seniors graduating in the top 10 percent of their class. On Friday, community members met to plan for the May awards ceremony and to discuss fundraising. They said with more scholarships being handed out every year, community support is crucial.

Helping young people build better lives through education is the mission of Explosion of Excellence, which provides scholarships using community donations.

"Especially in hard times with economics around the area, it is a challenge," said Pat Descher, chairperson. "We have people that have been giving for probably 25 years, so we're very, very pleased. New people, whose children have gone through it, they often want to contribute the next year, and we appreciate that very much."

School leaders and community members know they have a lot of fundraising ahead. They need enough money to give all Jackson County seniors in public and private high schools who finish in the top 10 percent a $250 book scholarship. Students from Jackson County who attend Mississippi School for Math and Science are also eligible.

Then, 25 students, one for each year of the program's existence, are selected in a random drawing to receive $1,000 scholarships. For the past few years, officials said they've also managed to draw for at least one $5,000 scholarship, depending on the amount of funding.

"It enables a child that although they might receive a scholarship, there is always those extra expenses. Those books that cost more. So it not only assists the children. It assists the parents," said Dr. Maggie Griffin, Moss Point School District Superintendent.

Mississippi Power is one of the program's financial supporters.

"It brings the county together as a whole and provides scholarships for those kids who might not otherwise be able to go to college," said Brad Bradford, of Mississippi Power.

Miriam Spain works for the Moss Point School District. As a high school student back in 1992, she received a scholarship.

"Kind of a symbol of everything you had done. Worked hard for. That your parents and your teachers had encouraged you to do," said Spain.

"The main message is that we want you to go off and get your education any place of your choosing, but we want you to come back to live and work to make Jackson County better," Descher said.

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