Generations of Horn Lake High School graduates will be able to receive financial assistance at Northwest Mississippi Community College, thanks to a passionate group of the high school’s alumni.
The Horn Lake High School Alumni Endowed Scholarship has been established at Northwest with a $100,000 donation from the school’s Alumni Foundation.
The group has been funding student scholarships to any school of the recipient’s choosing since 2004, with 16 students completing their degrees with that funding in the years since. Those college graduates include students who went on to become teachers, doctors, accountants, an architectural engineer and a physical therapist. One recipient is currently attending Johns Hopkins University.
“We’ve had them in just about any field you could go into, and it’s just been such fun to watch and take part in that part of their lives,” said Jan Knight, a 1961 graduate of the high school. “They often try to stay in touch, and that really makes it feel very special.”
Knight started the initial scholarship 18 years ago with a personal donation and a donation from a fellow 1961 alum.
“I just wanted to do something for the school,” she said. “At that time, we had a very large alumni group, and I felt like they would also want to do something for the school.”
As people outside of the alumni group found out about the scholarship, donations began steadily trickling in. According to Knight, most donations are now done through memorials and honorariums. Two annual fundraisers, a golf tournament and Hall of Fame banquet, have also supported the scholarship fund.
A newsletter put together by Patsy Wilson, the wife of original scholarship committee member Weldon Wilson, bolstered the scholarship by frequently featuring topics related to the fund, such as listing honorariums and memorials and including thank you notes from scholarship recipients.
“Without the newsletter, the scholarship would not have been as successful as it was,” Knight said.
Some years, the scholarship committee would have as many as 20-30 applications. Selections were based on grades, student essays, community service, and an interview with the committee.
“As far as we know, we are the only school in DeSoto County that has had a scholarship like this for as long as we’ve had it,” Knight said.
Knight, her husband, son, brother, and niece have all attended Northwest. Recently, the high school’s Alumni Foundation decided to consolidate all scholarship money at the college with its $100,000 endowment.
Students applying for the scholarship through Northwest must be Horn Lake graduates, and must submit a resume and an essay. Community service in Horn Lake or local schools is also a requirement. Recipients must maintain a 3.0 GPA while enrolled at Northwest.
For more information about scholarships at Northwest, contact the Foundation Office at (662) 560-1103.