Since the 90s, the Rotary Club of Pascagoula has awarded thousands of dollars to students who attend Pascagoula High or Resurrection Catholic School. They hope to keep college graduates in Mississippi and on the Coast.
Name after name was called Wednesday afternoon as students from Pascagoula were awarded a record breaking $42,000 in scholarships.
The Rotary Club of Pascagoula presented the scholarships to 44 students who plan to stay in Mississippi once they complete their higher education. Jessica McNeel with the Rotary Club of Pascagoula said, “If they express an interest in wanting to return to Mississippi and particularly the Coast, those are the students we want to track, want to follow, want to continue to support.”
One of those students who want to return to the Coast after college is recent Pascagoula High graduate Morgan Walley, dreaming big with hopes of becoming Pascagoula’s first black woman to open a physical therapy clinic in town. “I’ve always wanted to go into the medical field whether it was with animals or people. I just like helping.”
Walley tells News 25 her dream of becoming a physical therapist is about much more than just helping her future patients. “It would show people, it would show younger girls you can do it if you want to.”
Walley’s inspiration for dreaming big and chasing dreams is her mother, Lakeisha Allen. “Being a black woman is a beautiful thing. The fact that she aspires to open up her own practice and it will show other females that ‘hey, I’m a woman, I’m black, and I can do this. There is nothing stopping me from pursuing my goals and making that come true.’”
With this year’s record-breaking $42,000 in scholarship money, $10,000 was donated by the Bacot McCarty Foundation and the best part of the scholarship program is that it can last throughout their college career. “Particularly with students who maintain their GPAs that we can renew every year. We can make a significant dent in the debt they will be left with once they graduate if we continue to follow them throughout their college careers.”