PRVEPA’s “Round Up for Education” awards 46 scholarships to JCJC students

Written By: Teresa McCreery with Kurt Brautigam
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Date Submitted: 2015-10-29 20:20:42

ELLISVILLE – Forty-six Jones County Junior College students are benefitting from the generosity of those participating in Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association’s “Round Up for Education Scholar’s Program.” Since the program began three years ago, more than 550-students have received scholarships to begin their higher education at a Mississippi community college. This year, each of the total 209-students have been awarded $975 each from the more than 48,000 power meters participating in the scholarship program in the PRVEPA’s 12-county service area. 

“Members working together to achieve a common goal is a unique hallmark of cooperative organizations, and I am proud of the positive response we’ve received on this effort. More than 90 percent of our members continue to round up their bills and we’re very thankful for their support,” said General Manager Randy Wallace. “As we are now able to see, the accumulation of what would normally be spare change for an individual has added up significantly. These funds will help create long-term educational opportunities as well as economic benefits, which is good for everyone in the communities we serve.”
Having the PRVEPA scholarship allows JCJC freshman, Malachi Crabtree to focus on his grades since it provides the majority of his JCJC tuition.  The Sumrall High School graduate is majoring in industrial electronics and said he doesn’t need any distractions. 
“The scholarship really means a lot to me because I have ADD and I can’t have a job and go to school.  I don’t like asking for help and taking my parent’s money so this will take a load off my mind and financial burden,” said Crabtree.
Ninety-one of the scholarship recipients this year are attending Pearl River Community College, 50 are at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, and 46 are at Jones County Junior College. An additional 22 students are attending seven other state community colleges. Overall, students came from 20 different high schools and home school programs, according to Member Services Manager, Kurt Brautigam. 
“The scholarship program is funded by members who round their bills up to the nearest dollar each month.   Scholarships are available to members who do the round up, as well as for their spouses or dependent children who are enrolled as freshmen in the fall,” said Brautigam.
JCJC forensic science and criminal justice major, Caitlyn Oliphant of Purvis said she is very thankful to have the scholarship.
“This scholarship means so much to me and my family. To those who participate in the ‘Round Up’ program, thank you so much for your consideration in helping students to be able to go to school and reach their goals in life.  It actually gives students a chance to be able to go to college without all the financial stress,” said Oliphant.
PRVEPA’s Wallace shared the company believes education is vital to improving the future for all of us in south Mississippi, and the Round Up program was designed to encourage more young people to further their education.  Partnering with the Greater PineBelt Community Foundation allows the money to grow. More than $617,000 has been collected and deposited in an account over the last three years and has been overseen by the Foundation. At least ten percent of each year’s funds are set aside in an endowed fund for future use. The remaining money is divided equally between the number of eligible applicants. 
Theresa Erickson, Executive Director of the Greater PineBelt Foundation said, “The Round Up for Education Scholarship program is the largest scholarship program we manage. We often see how small contributions from large numbers of people can grow into significant amounts that benefit many individuals, and when people continue their education it not only benefits the individual, but it also benefits their family and ultimately their community.” 
JCJC President, Dr. Jesse Smith appreciates the efforts of PRVEPA and the Greater PineBelt Community Foundation. Providing a creative way to engage the community by investing in its future with college scholarships for the region’s students will strengthen the Pine Belt on many levels. 
Round Up for Education funds collected after August 1, will go to next year’s scholarships. Applications for 2016 scholarships will be available beginning in February.
JCJC PRVEPA SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS: Raven Armstrong-East Marion, Evan Bedwell-Columbia Academy, Haleigh Brock-Sumrall, William Clark-Lamar Christian HS, Malachi Crabtree-Sumrall, Nia Davis-Oak Grove, Ashley Delancy-Columbia HS, Bradley DeLeon-Oak Grove, Nikolay Drake-Oak Grove, Alexis Drummond-Prentiss, Brian Evans-Oak Grove, Miles Ezell-Purvis, Gna Harris-Lamar Christian, Micah Lauren Herrin-Hinrichsen-Sumrall, Colby Hickman-Lamar Christian, Shameria Jones-Oak Grove, Rushton Kennedy-Oak Grove, Evelyn Lawson-Lamar Christian, Nathan Letchworth-Oak Grove, Neshia Leverette-Sumrall, Melanie Linton-FCAHS, Cade Lott-Lamar Christian, Markasia Magee-East Marion, Christian McLaurin-Sumrall, Mollie Munn-Sumrall, Caitlyn Oliphant-Purvis, Brandi Overstreet-Purvis, Megan Pounds-West Marion, Brianna Risley-Sumrall, Anna Elizabeth Ruffin-FCAHS, Bailey Simmons-Oak Grove, Landon Singleterry-Oak Grove, Evin Smith-Oak Grove, Tyler Spring-Stone, Cody Steele-Oak Grove, Ethan Taylor-Purvis, Bethany Thornton-Sumrall, Madison Torres-Oak Grove, Christopher Upton-Oak Grove, Zach Watford-Sumrall, N'Tyrhee Watts-West Marion, Konner Welch-Harker Heights, Sarah Whiddon-Lamar Christian, Memory White-Sumrall, Anna Wilks-Columbia Academy and Nicholas Young-Purvis.              
2015 PRVEPA Scholars Program Recipients  (209 total)
Community Colleges the students are attending:
Pearl River      91
Gulf Coast      50
Jones               46
Southwest       8
East MS          4
East Central    3
Hinds              3
Co-Lin             2
Holmes            1
Coahoma         1
High Schools Recipients Attended:
  West Marion
  Oak Grove
  Forrest County         AHS
  East Marion
  Columbia Academy
  Lamar Christian
  Prentiss Christian
  Christian Collegiate   Ac.
  Youth Challenge       Ac.
  NorthEast (MD)
  Harker Heights    (TX) 


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