In 2012, Vicksburg businessman Ray Neilsen, the Co-Trustee of The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, wanted to help change lives. He came up with the idea for the Education Pays program, giving those that were unable to finish high school or obtain a GED (General Education Development) certificate another chance.

Under the program, eligible Warren County adult students are given a one-time award of $500 upon completion of their certified GED after enrolling in the Adult Education program at Hinds Community College.

Five students were given their Education Pays award recently, bringing the total award recipients to 76.

Among them were Deborah Lang-Norwood, Whitney Williams, Casheka Northern, Margaret Botford and Cody Whitehead, all Warren County residents.

Hinds Community College also offers the first college class tuition free for GED recipients who are first-time college students.

For more information on Education Pays, visit or call Betty Gibson, coordinator for Adult Education, at 601.857.3914.

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