Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations; (662) 621-4061 - Brittany Davis-Green - email@example.com
Pictured, from left, are Social Work major, Jakeria Strong (Clarksdale, MS); Bertha Blackburn (Clarksdale, MS);Pre-Nursing major, Jamiraqua Jones (Marks, MS); and Deion Warren (Mound Bayou, MS). Not pictured is Barber/Stylist major, LaSonta Hawkins (Clarksdale, MS).
CLARKSDALE – It’s been a few years since retired educators Josephine Bogues and Bertha Blackburn have been in a classroom. However, they are continuing to impact the lives of students at Coahoma Community College.
The pair are the organizers of the Josephine Bogues Scholarship that awards $500 scholarships to four CCC Tigers. This years recipients: Social Work major, Jakeria Strong (Clarksdale, MS); Pre-Nursing major, Deion Warren (Mound Bayou, MS); Pre-Nursing major, Jamiraqua Jones (Marks, MS); and Barber/Stylist major, LaSonta Hawkins (Clarksdale, MS) got a chance recently to show their appreciation.
Friday, the students were united with Blackburn during a special ceremony in the Vivian M. Presley Administration Building. During the event, they were also able to speak with Bogues, who resides in Chicago, IL, via telephone to thank her for her generous contribution and support.
According to Blackburn, Bogues, a 1960 graduate of CCC, was the brains behind the scholarship and reached out to her to help coordinate it.
“It was a big job, but I’m pleased to be here with you today,” she told the recipients. “I wanted to meet you because I’ve lived in Coahoma County all of me life, and the people in this section of the world helped myself and (Bogues) get to where we are today.”
Blackburn said she and Bogues have a history as former neighbors and friends. After graduating from CCC, Bogues continued her education at Alcorn State University (ASU) and later worked in the Chicago Public School System for several years. Blackburn also attended Alcorn and then provided 16 years of service in the Clarksdale School System and more than 50 years of service in the Clarksdale Head Start programs.
At 92, Blackburn vividly recalled the importance education played in her own life.
“I often think of the things my father did to get me in school. … he would bring a load of corn, potatoes and other vegetables from our garden to help pay tuition,” she said.
Education played an equally important role in Bogues’ life as well.
“(Bogues) never forgot the trials, tribulations and people that helped her to get to where she is,” said Blackburn. “She has always been an advocate for students in need who had the desire to improve themselves.”
During the meeting, Blackburn thanked the students for choosing CCC and encouraged them to continue their educational journey. She also challenged the recipients to continue the cycle by giving back to their own communities.
“We were looking for students that will stick with education until they can fill the seat that I have today,” she said. “We hope that we have inspired you to take the first step to carry on this legacy (of giving back).”