Rankin Literary Scholarship offers high school writers, poets chance at education
PEARL – Amber Jenkins is living the life of a typical college student – juggling assignments, meeting new people, the whole bit.
Just a few years ago, that life seemed as distant as the sky.
“I honestly thought I just wasn’t meant to go to college,” Jenkins said during a break in her class schedule at Hinds Community College, where she is on two scholarships, the John Heiden Scholarship and the Rankin Literary Scholarship. “A lot happened to me the past few years before going to Pisgah High School, including going to several other schools and being in foster care.
“When I came back home, I picked back up the things I missed doing. Writing was one of them. It’s one of my biggest outlets. I wanted to be able to express myself in my writing. In foster care, you feel stifled. There were so many things I had given up on, but writing was never one of them. So, I try to hold on to everything that I write. It makes me happy.”
She won the literary scholarship as a result of her first-place finish in the annual Rankin Literary Festival at Hinds, held in the spring. High school students in Pearl and Rankin County submit an essay, a short story and a poem, with first place finishers in each category winning full tuition scholarships to Hinds, plus small cash prizes. This year’s winners will be recognized March 22 during a program at the Rankin Campus.
“The festival is a happy commemoration of young writers who have the courage to share their visions of the world and to make their readers the beneficiaries of their creativity,” said Gary Fox, academic dean for the Rankin Campus.
Jenkins credits her high school teachers and counselors for showing her the way to a better future.
“My teachers at Pisgah helped convince me there’s a lot of options out there for me with scholarships,” she said.