The Explosion of Excellence Scholarship Program honored 179 students from Jackson County at the 29th annual scholarship program at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College on May 7th. Each student received a $250 Student Scholarship, and $1,000 scholarships were randomly drawn for 30 students. This program honors the academic achievements of the graduating high school seniors who are in the top ten percent of their classes in all area high schools in Jackson County (including the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science).
This year’s 29th Annual Explosion of Excellence Keynote Speaker was Claire Louder, IOM, CAE, MPP. The Master of Ceremonies was Paige Roberts, incoming President & CEO of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce. There was a welcome from Cedrick Hurd (Chairman of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors), Ken Taylor (President of the Jackson County Board of Supervisors) and Dr. Tammy Franks (Vice President of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Jackson County Campus). A surprise gift presentation was made by Dr. Mary Graham (President of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College) in honor of Pat Descher (Owner of McDonald’s Descher Organization), the Chairman of the Explosion of Excellence and “mother” of the program. The scholarships were presented by Pat Descher and Dr. Bill Descher (Co-Chairman of the Explosion of Excellence).
Each year the public is encouraged to consider a $250, $1,000 or $5,000 scholarship—all of which are 100 percent tax deductible. These scholarships are donated by the public to encourage these students to consider employment in Jackson County when their education is finished. The scholarships can be made in memory or in honor of someone, in the name of a company or individual or left anonymous. The public can help honor these students by writing a check to the “Gulf Coast Community Foundation/Explosion of Excellence” and mailing it to “Explosion of Excellence, Post Office Box 480, Pascagoula, MS 39568-0480.”
The following contributors made this program possible, for a total of $74,750:
AARP Chapter 1213 (Jackson County Chapter #1213)
Allred Stolarski Architects
Ashbaker, Mary – In Honor of Descher Families
Aztecas Restaurant & Cantina
Barnes, Geraldine – In Memory of Glennis “Nick” Barnes & Maxine Barnes McLaughlin & Shirley H. Barnes & Ephraim Barnes
Barr, Robert and Vivian – In Memory of Wallace W. Barr
Beau Rivage – MGM Resorts International
Bienville Animal Medical Center
Blevins, Jim & Michele
BPD Enterprises, Inc. McDonald’s #11669
Bryan, Nelson, Schroeder, Castigliola & Banahan, PLLC
Celarec, Barbara – In Honor of Michael Celarec and In Memory of Gretchen Duescher
Compton Engineering, Inc.
Concannon, Mike and Bettie – In Memory of Melinda Mitchell
Cumbest Plumbing, LLC
Dent, Hayden and Sandy
Dr. Bill Descher
Duchess Club of Ocean Springs
Duchess De Chaumont Chapter No. 3-019 MS
East Central High School
Edward Jones – Lisa Cannon
Empress Audio, Inc. – In Memory of Viola Seal
Estabrook Ford Lincoln Nissan
Explosion of Excellence Scholarship Raffle
First Federal Savings & Loan
Fontaine, Jo Anne – In Memory of Doug Fontaine, II
Foster Brimm Consulting
Foster’s Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc.
Gautier High School
Gautier Rotary Club
Hacienda San Miguel: House of Tequila
Hargrove Engineers + Constructors
Hard Rock Casino
Heidelberg Steinberger, P.A.
Home Builders Association of the Mississippi Coast
Home Town Lumber & Supply, Inc.
Jackson County Board of Supervisors
Jackson County Chamber of Commerce – In Memory of Kyle Todd
Jackson County Utility Authority
Jana Walmsley Memorial Scholarship – In Memory of Jana Walmsley
Jerry Lee’s Grocery No. 1
Junior Auxiliary of Pascagoula-Moss Point
Keesler Federal Credit Union
L.L. Bond & Company, Inc.
Lee Tracy – In Memory of Kyle Todd
Lokring Gulf Coast, LLC
Mangum, Mike and Joy
McDonald’s Descher Organization
Merchants & Marine Bank
Mississippi Export Railroad
Mississippi Eye Associates
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Foundation
Mississippi Power Community Connections
Moss Point Rotary Club – In Honor of Harry McDonald and In Memory of John Welch
Navigator Credit Union Bobbie Lochridge Scholarship
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp.
Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce-Main Street-Tourism Bureau
Pascagoula Bar Pilots’ Association
Pascagoula-Gautier School District Educators
PJ/Ken Baker Open Charity Golf Tournament – In Memory of Ken Baker
Propeller Club of Pascagoula, Mississippi, Inc.
Pugh Associates, LLC – In Memory of Gayla Stroble
Regional Digestive Specialists, P.C.
Retired Education Personnel of Jackson County
Retired Education Personnel of Jackson County – In Memory of Mary Ellen Beldon
Retired Education Personnel of Jackson County – In Memory of Sonya Edmonds
Rotary Club of Pascagoula
Singing River Electric Cooperative
Singing River Federal Credit Union
St. Andrews Bridge Club
St. Martin High School
Storey, Georgia and David
St. Paul United Methodist Church
St. Pé, Jerry and Joann
Susan Stachowski – In Memory of Kevin Stachowski, Sr.
Tasha Terral – In Honor of Nina Terral
The Blossman Companies, Inc.
The First – A National Banking Association
The Peoples Bank
United Way for Jackson & George Counties
Walmart Store #1066 Pascagoula
Wells Fargo Foundation
Wilson, Dr. Charles & Amy
Young Men’s Business Club of Moss Point
Zonta Club of Pascagoula
The Explosion of Excellence is a program jointly sponsored by the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce-Main Street-Tourism Bureau, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and all high schools in Jackson County. It is a fund of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
To answer any questions, please call the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce at 228-762-3391 or email Valerie Dedeaux, Administrative Assistant, at Chamber@jcchamber.com. More information can be found online at www.jcchamber.com.