What is Mississippi Scholars?

What is Mississippi Scholars?

The Mississippi Scholars Initiative is an education program managed by the Public Education Forum of Mississippi, which utilizes business leaders to motivate students to complete a rigorous course of study in high school.  This course path gives students a boost – not just for college but for life.  The Initiative pairs trained local business leaders with classes of 8th grade students.  These leaders present the students with a powerful presentation, which provides the rationale for the recommendation that students take more rigorous courses. 

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Mission Statement

To encourage and motivate all high school students to complete a defined, rigorous academic course of study that prepares them for successful transition to college, university coursework or vocational and technical training necessary to enter today’s competitive job market.

Brookhaven Group Photo 2013


The Initiative is managed by the Public Education Forum of Mississippi, an affiliate of the Mississippi Economic Council.  The Initiative was established in November 2003 and launched with two pilot school districts – Hattiesburg and Indianola.  The Mississippi Scholars Initiative started as a part of the national State Scholars Initiative (SSI) network.

south pike speakerMississippi Scholar Don Holmes was the speaker at the second Mississippi Scholars event held at Summit Baptist Church. Don is an English major at the University of Southern Mississippi and was elected Student Government Association attorney general in 2012. The Chamber banquet honored 166 area Mississippi Scholars high school graduates for their hard work.


  • 8th Grade Classroom Presentations
  • Incentives
  • Senior Recognition

 medallion photo


To date, the Mississippi Scholars program has recognized over 500 graduating seniors with the Mississippi Scholars distinction from the two pilot school districts, compared to 24 in 2004.  It also has:
• Recruited 88 districts and more than 160 high schools to join the Mississippi Scholars network.
• Trained more than 1,500 volunteers to conduct State Scholars presentations.
• Recognized over 20,000 graduating seniors with medallions or cords for completing the Mississippi Scholars Course of Study.
• Delivered presentations and State Scholars materials to more than 25,000 students.

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