By: Chelsea Davis-Bibb, Ed.D.
Photo Credit: Sheila Mitchell
HOUSTON-Every year in May, Galilee Missionary Baptist Church (GMBC) recognizes their graduating seniors from high school and college. This year there were 10 high school graduates and five college graduates. This was the first time since the arrival of COVID-19 that the graduate recognition ceremony was taken place face-to-face.
Since 2010, GMBC has been awarding scholarships to their graduating high school seniors. Pastor Rev. Dr. Edwin A. Davis, and First Lady Dr. Charlotte J. Davis, truly believe that education is an important investment that will never return void. They also believe that it is equally important to continue investing in our youth and helping them advance so they can reach their fullest potential. First Lady Davis said, “Nelson Mandella said it best when he stated that education is the most powerful tool to change the world, and I believe that we have to invest in our children to communicate the importance of them obtaining an education.”
This year was no exception as GMBC awarded 10 scholarships totaling $61,000. This has been the highest amount that the church has given out since GMBC started awarding scholarships. The highest scholarship awarded was $10,000. Majority of the donations (90%) come directly from the church members.
To receive a scholarship, the graduating seniors must submit an application, be an active member of the congregation, and go through a screening process. The application is scored based on a rubric from the judges who do not see the names of the applicants. Whoever receives the highest points for their application will receive the highest scholarship.
The last couple of years have not been easy on the graduates as they have had to deal with many unforeseen challenges. Despite this, they pushed through, stayed dedicated and determined to complete their degree.
The college graduates consisted of; Erica Davis-Stribling who received her Master’s in Science Political Strategic Communications from Columbia University, Latesha Forch who graduated from Western Governors University with an MBA, Essance E. Harrison who graduated from Texas State University with a degree in Applied Sociology with a minor in Medical Humanities, Lauren Nelson who graduated from Sam Houston State University with her Bachelor’s in Psychology, and Franchessica Patterson who graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Applied Management.
For the graduating high school seniors, Xavier Charles Anderson graduated from Davis High School and plans to attend Sam Houston State University. Alexia Fields graduated from Humble High School and plans to attend Lone Star College. Cody Jarrod Floyd graduated from Kingwood Park High School and plans to attend Oklahoma University. Kharys Sanaa Grice graduated from Klein High School and plans to attend Prairie View A&M University. Derron Henderson II graduated from North Shore High School. Eryn K. Murrell graduated from S.P. Waltrip High School and plans to attend The University of Texas at Arlington. Natalie Eshel Ross graduated from the High School for Law and Justice and plans to attend Houston Baptist University. Victoria Okopie graduated from Jersey Village High School and plans to attend Texas Southern University. Angel Tucker graduated from Blanson Career and Technical Education High School and plans to attend Lamar University, and Jaicee Webb graduated from Langham Creek High School and plans to attend Tulsa Welding School and Technology Center.
GMBC will continue to support their youth as they believe it is their duty to do so. Pastor Davis stated, “As pastor and as an educator, I am a firm believer that education unlocks many doors that are closed in our face. I believe in our students that if they want to go to school, I am going to continue to help them to achieve that goal.”