Cynthia Carpenter's daughter was a 9th grade student at Lanier High School when the mayor awarded her a full scholarship to a school of her choice. In collaboration with the mayor, a local chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity selected Carpenter's daughter to be the scholarship recipient, while the foundation provided the funding, Carpenter says. Now a freshman pre-pharmacy student at Ole Miss, she is still waiting on the promised funds.
"School started Aug. 15, and I think it was about 30 days before that that I was contacted and told that they weren't sure if the funding was going to be there," Carpenter said. "I was forced to at the last minute to get loans … and some of it was out of pocket. It was unexpected."
The program through which Carpenter's daughter was promised a scholarship is an initiative of The Aaron Henry Foundation of Jackson, a scholarship foundation that Mayor Frank Melton started when he worked at WLBT-TV3. The foundation, which has offered full scholarships to more than 75 Jackson students since 1997, suffered a major blow to funding when Hurricane Katrina hit the Coast in 2005.
Goldia Revies, director of public information and constituent services for the city of Jackson, donates time to help the foundation. She says that she and the mayor have struggled to raise funding since the storm, and for the time, will not offer funds to new freshmen, including those to whom the mayor promised scholarships prior to 2005.
"Many of the donations were coming from outside of Jackson because of his contacts in the broadcast industry. (Melton) was able to generate large donations through those contacts," Revies said.
"After Katrina, the donations got a little bit less ... until last year … we actually did not receive any at all."
Revies said that the foundation must re-assess where money is going. "We are right now trying to bring in funds to take care of the students who are already in school," Revies said. "There may have been a commitment that was already out there, and the student is just graduating from high school, prior to us knowing that the problem would exist like this."
Carpenter said, "She didn't apply for any of the other scholarships because … she said, 'I have a full scholarship. I don't want to keep any of my friends from getting the scholarships because I already have one.'"
The foundation has no way of knowing how many students are not already accessing funds from the foundation until they call. With no award letter or statement in writing, Carpenter must wait for the foundation to come through with funds.
"If, in fact, the funds get back in place, then they will be able to, if they got a loan … pay off the loan," Revies said.
Carpenter has tapped enough loans to pay for her daughter's expenses through the year.
"They're not saying that they're not going to pay, they're just telling me to keep my hopes up; things may go through," Carpenter said. "They have not paid, yet."
Revies says that the foundation is doing what they can to bring life back into the foundation program, but that time is limited.
"I can't speak for (the mayor), but the foundation per se is not giving any new scholarships right now. That's where we are right now, it's just not there," Revies said.
It thought he sold the TV stations for $204 million? Or is that a myth too? Seemed a bit high to me.
Also, remember as he pays more in taxes than most people make! Or so says he.
It's sad to hear about the young lady, not getting her scholarship money. I hope some other organizations will provide some assistance.
what happened to the Omege Psi Phi Fraternity? why aren't they helping with the shortfalls
You would think the kids trying to better themselve would get top priority in the funding instead of the young men that were taken to camp this summer. Why was funding available to pay their expenses and nothing for the kids going to college?