One by one, 170 public and private high school seniors proudly walked across the stage at the Jackson County Campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Tuesday night to accept their scholarship awards. The students rank in the top 10 percent of graduating seniors in Jackson County.
Moss Point High Senior Jessical Woods says it makes her feel good to know that she's being rewarded for all her hard work, what she did 9th through 12th grade. She feels very special. Pascagoula high senior Adam Chapman says he's sure everyone feels the same, they all feel very honored.
Each student received a $250 book scholarship. They say with the rising cost of a college education, every little bit helps. Jessical considers it a lot of money, because that's $250 her parents don't have to pay for books. Ocean Springs High Senior Jennifer Bell says she applied for a lot of scholarships, and with tuition going up, it's really hard to get much of the money she needs for school.
The money means a lot to the students, but equally rewarding is the recognition for their academic achievements. The "Explosion of Excellence" program is a celebration of their success. Jennifer says it gives her a sense of accomplishment, and it makes her feel like there's so much more to achieve out there. Jessical says she feels very proud, and so do her parents. She's worked so hard, and now, she gets to display it to everyone else.
Besides the $250 dollar scholarships, 10 lucky students were also selected at random to receive an additional $1,000 scholarship. Most of the money was donated by private citizens and businesses in Jackson County.
The Explosion of Excellence ceremony was sponsored by the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and area high schools.