By Riley Manning
TUPELO – Mayfield Law Firm’s third annual $2,000 scholarship award drew more applicants than it ever has this year.
Sixteen seniors from various schools across Northeast Mississippi composed an autobiographical essay detailing why they believe public prayer should or should not be allowed in schools.
“It was a hard topic for me because I’m kind of a neutral person,” said contestant Ashley Gates of Okolona High School. “You really have to think about how to treat everyone equally, and the consequences that could come from either decision.”
Mayfield Law Firm manager Eloise Mayfield said Friday the essays were in the process of being assessed by a panel of judges from the University of Mississippi. The winner will be revealed at the Mayfield Law Firm’s Annual Charity Ball on Nov. 2.
“The scholarship fund was started as an incentive for our children to get their education in Mississippi,” Mayfield said. “Or once they finish college, come back to Mississippi and put back into the community.”
She also said essay topics were chosen specifically to promote analytical thinking as well as moral growth.
“For instance, with the high number of cases of gun violence, bullying and suicides involving our school children, one might wonder if we allowed public prayer, would our school violence decrease,” Mayfield said.
The first place winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship, and the two runner-ups will be awarded $500 each.
The ceremony will also feature the release of attorney Kenneth Mayfield’s second book, “The Civil Rights Lawyer,” proceeds of which will go directly to the scholarship fund.