Explosion of Excellence Scholarship Marks 25 Years

This is the 25th anniversary of the Explosion of Excellence program in Jackson County. Friday, the Chamber of Commerce met with school officials to discuss this year’s class.

Yvette Barr is Jackson County’s Director of Communications. Her college education, in part, was funded by a scholarship she received nearly ten years ago through the program, in the wake of one of the nation’s worst disasters. Barr says, "It was a great day to know that our community came together to support graduating seniors and Jackson County the year of Katrina."

Barr’s current employer, the Jackson County Chamber of commerce, started the program 25 years ago with three scholarships a year for $250 each. Fast forward to today, and they have scholarships for more than 150 graduating students, with 25 of those scholarships ringing in at $1,000. Pat Descher, co-founder of Explosion of Excellence, says, "We were charged with developing some kind of program that would honor students in education. We came up with this idea and it just took off."

The chamber will continue to add an additional $1,000 scholarship for each year of the program, something they consider to be an investment in the future. Carla Todd, President and C.E.O. of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, says, "We’re building leaders, that’s what we need, not only are we building leaders, but we’re building the workforce."

The county has been exploding with excellence for the past 25 years, and the hope is that once south Mississippi’s best and brightest get their education, that they’ll come back home to Jackson County. Descher closes, "Go off, get your education, become a doctor, lawyer, engineer, whatever you’re going to do, but come back and live and work in Jackson County, because we want to make our county better and stronger with the bright students we have."

While some students may never come back, at least one did, and now works with the chamber to give that gift to new students every year. The scholarship presentation will occur on May 5th on the Jackson County campus of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Categories: Local News, News

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