Ministers Conference gives out scholarships
(pictured above: (From left) Dr. Serenus Churn, Bria Torrence, Zi’Peria Alford, Rev. Delores McCullough, Dr. Dennis Leach Sr., and Ministers Conference President Willard Bass.)
The Ministers Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity made an investment in the future early this month when it announced the latest recipients of its Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Seed Fund Scholarships.
Six recent high school grads received the $1,000 scholarships, which are funded with donations collected during the Ministers Conference’s annual MLK Day service.
Some of the students joined Ministers Conference members at Mt. Zion Baptist Church on Thursday, July 10. Scholarship Committee Chair Dr. Serenus Churn, pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist, told them that they were selected because ministers believe they represent hope for a brighter tomorrow.
“That’s why the Ministers Conference and your local churches have pooled their resources,” he said. “You are our messengers to the future.”
Recipients must have at least a 2.0 GPA and have a history of church, civic and school involvements. Bria Torrence, 17, applied for the scholarship after learning about it from her pastor, Dr. Dennis Leach Sr. of Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church.
The North Forsyth High School graduate is heading to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to study nursing.
“I’ve been a giving person since I was younger, and I feel like if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything,” she said of her decision to go into the health care field. “So it’d be great to help people with their health, it’s one of the most important things to have as a human being.”
Torrence said she is nervous about leaving home, but plans to visit every other weekend. She is already looking past her undergraduate degree to the advance degree she’ll need to become a nurse practitioner or a nurse anesthetist.
Dr. Leach, a member of the Ministers Conference Scholarship Committee, also advised Zi’Peria Alford, a Morning Star member, of the scholarship opportunity. The Reynolds High School graduate also plans to study nursing, with plans of eventually becoming a nurse anesthetist.
Alford is sticking even closer to home; she’ll attend Winston-Salem State University and is opting to stay on campus rather than at home. She’ll be the first in her immediate family to earn a four-year degree.
“I’m excited. It’s going to be a new experience, and I’m just ready to meet a lot of new people,” said Alford.
College pre-orientation programs prevented most of the recipients from being at Mt. Zion on July 10. Such was the case with Cameron Harris, who graduated magna cum laude from North Davidson High School. He’s in a six-week minority student transition program at UNC Charlotte, where he is getting acclimated to the campus and taking courses to get a jump start. His proud mother, Karen Harris, was at the church in his stead. The Harrises attend Emmanuel Baptist Church, whose pastor, Dr. John Mendez, is a Ministers Conference member.
Cameron will major in biology/public health and plans to attend medical school.
Karen Harris’ older son, Ryan, received the MLK scholarship four years ago. He graduated from UNC Charlotte in May with a computer science degree and just landed a job at a Charlotte accounting firm.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for (the Ministers Conference) to be a part of the community, and it’s their way of giving back and supporting what’s so important to young people – education – and they’re making that a priority.” said, Karen Harris, a WSSU alumna.
The other scholarship recipients are Reyanna Smith, who is attending Shaw University; Khynnedy Crews, who is attending N.C. A&T State University; and Oriana Alexander, who is attending Hampton University.
For more information on the scholarships, visit http://www.mcwsv.org/scholarship.html.