Mississippi College

Mississippi College Freshmen Win Essay Contest

June 13, 2012

Three Mississippi College freshmen were big winners in an essay contest on children’s illiteracy issues.

Oakseed Ministries International sponsored the seventh annual contest. Contest participants focused on compassion and the illiterate child, while exploring innovative ideas to offer help.

The MC winners were Jenny Fullner of Memphis, Meagan Easley of Brandon, and Avni Patel of Columbia, Mississippi.

A social studies-education major, Fullner received a $1,000 first prize in the 18-to 22-year-old category. A mathematics education major on the Clinton campus, Easley received $500 for second place in the division. A biology/medical sciences major, Patel was awarded $250 for honorable mention.

This past academic year, all three MC students tutored local children at the Hunter Oaks apartments in Clinton. Mississippi College sponsors the tutoring center at the complex off U.S. 80.

The undergraduates are aware of the growing illiteracy problems facing the world. UNICEF reports that a billion people in the world cannot read or sign their names. More than 130 million children in the developing world have little or no education.

As part of their MC English class requirements, the students submitted their essays to the Oakseed Ministries contest.

“To deny a child the opportunity to read is like locking a child in solitary confinement for a lifetime,” says Oakseed Ministries International President Edward Bradley.

MC English professor Kristi Melancon, who designed the service-learning enhanced class, offered her congratulations to the winners announced in June. “We found out today that we swept the competition,” she said. “We have bright students! I’m so proud of them.”

Jonathan Randle, chairman of the Department of English, added his kudos to the award recipients. He thanked Melancon, a first-year teacher, for her work in the classroom. “That’s a pretty phenomenal accomplishment for her students.”


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