The Powerball mania a few weeks ago spurred a spate of social media posts along the lines of what would you do if you won several million dollars in the lottery. It’s a nice fantasy but the chances of winning are pretty slim, although someone has to win. It might as well be me, right? But first I would have had to buy a ticket, and a trip to Louisiana just wasn’t in my plans.
But like a lot of people I was happy to share my thoughts about what I would do if I did buy a lottery ticket and rake in a few million dollars extra. First thing, of course, would be paying off some bills and setting up funds for my children and grandchildren. Sure, I’d want to take care of my own first.
A close second, however, would be my dream of funding scholarships for would-be college students. In my fantasy I’d fund scholarships for everyone in the senior class of the small rural Missouri high school I graduated from. My class had less than 40 graduates so that wouldn’t be terribly expensive. Then I’d create something at my alma mater, Ole Miss. I’m not sure what angle I would take in that endeavor but I’d come up with something meaningful.
The bulk of the scholarships, however, would be funded at Hinds Community College where I work. I’ve seen first-hand the amount of good a little money can do to help someone afford to finish college. As our college president Dr. Clyde Muse likes to say, sometimes $100 is the difference between someone staying in school or dropping out. Like me, he came from humble rural circumstances and knows well the importance of being given opportunity.
My own daughter, a single parent, benefited greatly from a Hinds scholarship that helped her go to nursing school and achieve her goal. Not only do she and her daughter benefit from her being able to earn a good living, but her patients also benefit from the excellent training she received.
Donating to the Hinds Community College Foundation is a great way to maximize the amount of good that can be done with a little bit of money.
There are lots of angles I could take for scholarship funding but I admit I have a soft spot for the older students who are driven to college by necessity or have had a long-time dream they have a chance to finally realize. Some of them are returnees. Some of them are first-timers. I wouldn’t discriminate, though, against the ones who gave it a shot as a traditional college student and didn’t succeed the first time. The older students are the most fun to talk to at graduation. They typically bring a crowd to see them graduate - parents, spouses, their own children and sometimes their best friend who always believed they could do it.
I know that we need a more educated workforce so I might put some money into not only scholarships for career-technical programs but more money into recruiting students into those programs. The majority of our students are women, and we also need more of the guys in the 25 to 40 year old range to step up and get trained for great opportunities that are here now and coming in the future to Hinds County.
One of the fun things we do at Hinds is a fall reception in which many of the donors to our scholarship funds get a chance to meet the student or students who are directly benefiting from their donation. It allows the donors to talk to their student and put a real face to a name.
One of those students is Hannah Ross, this year’s president of our Hinds Connection recruiting group. Hinds Communications Specialist Danny Barrett Jr. recently talked to Hannah for a story in our Hindsight alumni magazine. She is receiving the Marvin and Virginia Riggs Scholarship, as well as an ACT Scholarship.
Ross will graduate from Hinds in May and go on to study radiology. “My mom had cancer and was diagnosed when I was in the ninth grade, so we were in and out of hospitals all the time. I just saw how the ‘good nurses,’ as she would call them, were so nice and friendly. The radiologists that took her scans made her feel so comfortable. I saw how that made her day so much better. If I could do that for someone else, I would love that.”
She’s just one great example of the students our Foundation Scholarships help. And, so it happens, the deadline for application for a Hinds Community College Foundation scholarship for fall 2016 is coming up on March 1. It’s a pretty easy process to complete with the promise of a great return for the time put in. For more information about applying, click here.
Come to think of it, I don’t need to win the lottery to put a little money into scholarships at Hinds. Anyone can do that with whatever they can afford to contribute. One way is to contribute money to a memorial for someone who is deceased or an honorarium to honor someone who already has a scholarship established in their name. Or if you have a little more money than would fit into my piggybank ($500), you can establish your own scholarship. If you would like to endow a scholarship, you would need $15,000. For any of those options, the contact is Betty Carraway, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601.857.3800.
One of our great donors is Dorothy Davis Miley, who now has five endowed family scholarships in the Hinds Community College Foundation. Below is a photo of Mrs. Miley with some of the students her Foundation donation helped this year.
For more about Mrs. Miley and her generous donations, click here.
Recently recognized at a Hinds Community College scholarship reception were Phillip Thomas of Brandon, from left, who received the Robert Miley Scholarship; Myra Hayes-Lacey of Raymond, who received the Dorothy Davis Miley Scholarship; Dorothy Davis Miley of Raymond, who donated for the scholarships; Jaquila Matthews of Moss Point, who received the H.H. Davis Memorial Scholarship and Vincent Davis of Benton, who also received the H.H. Davis Memorial Scholarship.