The Sampson County Branch of the NAACP awarded nine scholarships to students ready to start new journeys at four-year universities.
A celebration was held Monday evening at the headquarters in downtown Clinton with parents and supporters. With help from donors and members, the organization awarded $500 to each graduating senior from the Clinton City and Sampson County school districts. Local NAACP members started the effort a few years ago and for the 2017-2018 school period, a total of $4,500 was distributed. The recipients went through an interview process and submitted essays to get selected.
Zipporah Hayes of Union High School said the scholarship was a blessing and will help her when she goes to North Carolina A&T University. Her career goal is to be an exotic veterinarian.
“They do a lot and I’m glad they’re helping people in the community,” Hayes said about the NAACP. “There’s not a lot of organizations that don’t do scholarships nowadays.”
Scholarships were also awarded to Yaneisha Moore of Clinton High School, North Carolina Central University; Shayla Young of Sampson Early College High School, Florida A&M University; MaNya Williams of Clinton High School, North Carolina Central University; Elizabeth Brewer of Midway High School, University of North Carolina at Pembroke; Madeline Royal of Midway High School, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Sarah Strickland of Lakewood High School, North Carolina State University; Nyjah Bryant of Clinton High School, North Carolina State University; and Vanessa Cruz of Sampson Early College High School, University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Lee Byam, branch president, said she was proud of the recipients and how the program has grown over the years. In 2017, Sampson’s NAACP honored six students. Byam said it continues to grow because of membership and the annual Freedom Fund Banquet, which is scheduled for Oct.6.
“We have some very special donors who like to remain unanimous and we like to thank those donors to what they’ve given to this scholarship fund,” Byam said.
Luther Moore, scholarship chair, said the students did an excellent job during the interview process when it came to expressing themselves.
“It was always moving to us and we’re so proud of our young people,” Moore said. “We see a lot of stuff in the news about negativity, but this shows that not all of our kids are doing bad. We want you to continue to do your very best.”
NAACP members Jo Ann Howard, Larry Sutton, Tex Howard and Clinton City Manager Tom Hart also congratulated the seniors for their academic achievements.
“You are headed to great places and new mountains await you,” Sutton said. “So please, work hard and achieve a great deal.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.