October 19, 2015

All five current Distinguished Young Women from the East Central Community College district are attending the college this academic year.

Dr. Randall Lee, vice president for student services at ECCC, said being able to attract top students such as those who are Distinguished Young Women is a testament to the college’s outstanding academic programs.

“East Central Community College is a strong supporter of the Distinguished Young Women program, and what it represents:  scholastics, fitness, and character,” said Lee. “We have always valued these top students. As evidence, numerous former DYW winners have attended ECCC and we are proud that the Distinguished Young Women from each of the five counties in ECCC’s district chose to attend East Central this year despite having scholarship offers from colleges all across Mississippi.”

Distinguished Young Women is the largest and oldest national scholarship program for high school females.

Scott County’s Distinguished Young Woman Mackenzie Byrd of Sebastopol is a freshman pre-medicine major. She is the daughter of Michea McLemore and Kevin Byrd. Byrd is the captain of the Centralettes dance line, freshman vice president of the Student Body Association (SBA) and a member of Warrior Corps, Sigma Sigma Mu Tau and Students Against Destructive Decisions.
Byrd said she knew she wanted to stay close to home for her first college years.

“I felt that East Central would help me make the transition into the real world before attending a university,” she said. “After I came on a tour of the campus, I felt as though all of the faculty members were concerned about me and my education.”

Leake County’s Distinguished Young Woman Charlie Wilcher of Edinburg said she too chose ECCC to be close to home.

Wilcher is a freshman mechanical engineering major and the daughter of Mark and Jodi Wilcher.

Newton County’s Distinguished Young Woman Codi Ballard of Decatur said she chose ECCC to be a cheerleader and because of the scholarships offered.

The freshman pre-medicine major is a Warrior Cheerleader, president of the freshman class for the SBA and a member of Warrior Corps, Diamond Darlings, Environmental Club, Students Against Destructive Decisions and Sigma Sigma Mu Tau. She is the daughter of Marty and Tonya Ballard and Chris and Jessica Weems.

Neshoba County’s Distinguished Young Woman Taylor Phillips of Philadelphia said being close to home was important in her college choice.

In addition, Phillips said, “EC provides a good transition to a university.”

The freshman pre-dental major is the daughter of Lee and Michelle Phillips. She is a member of Warrior Corps, Sigma Sigma Mu Tau, Diamond Darlings, Students Against Destructive Decisions, and Centralettes dance line.

Winston County’s Distinguished Young Woman Paige Johnson of Louisville said she chose ECCC because she has “always wanted to be an EC Centralette and because EC has such great teachers and scholarships.”

The pre-dental freshman is the daughter of Jeannie and Larry Johnson. She is a member of the Centralettes dance line and Warrior Corps.