As the keywords of remembering and new beginnings were spoken, Meridian Community College’s The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration spotlighted those terms in a host of ways that included winning essays to accolades.
The celebration, an annual event, was held in the McCain Theater with campus and community residents in attendance.
“This is a happy occasion,” said Lauderdale County Youth Court and County Court Judge Veldore Young-Graham before she presented the MLK Program Scholarship Award to three Meridian Community College Associate Degree Nursing Program students. Saying an investment in knowledge has the best interest, Young-Graham presented the scholarship on behalf of the Charles Young Family to Billie Rae Brown, Quentin White and Joshua Redmond.
First place essay winners Makayla Hopkins, Clarkdale seventh grader, and Emma Sowell, Russell Christian Academy eighth-grader, read their papers to the audience. Hopkins ended her essay quoting words from a King speech, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others,’” while Sowell reminded that King proved that people can be better. “Underneath we are all the same. For all he has done, we thank Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as we move into the future.”
Addressing the audience, MCC President Dr. Thomas Huebner said investing in community colleges is vital. “Because community college education transforms lives because it transforms people. We walk these people through that transformation.”
“We learn from the past, we’re taught by the past, but we forge a new future,” he said. “Education is the difference maker.”
Former MCC counselor Henry Granger was applauded for his contributions to the community as he was named recipient of the Bill Beal Award. “He’s played a vital role in the lives of many students and non-students,” said Jennifer Whitlock, MCC director of adult education, as she presented Granger a plaque designating the award.