top of page

State’s Largest Educators Organization Awards Scholarships to Mississippi College TEL Students

Donuts on Cake

A pair of students in the School of Education at Mississippi College have earned scholarships from the state’s premier organization for professional educators.

Jaydn Bledsoe, a senior elementary education major from Richland, received the 2024 Linda Anglin Teacher Preparation Scholarship, while Rebecca Hooper, science and social studies coordinator for the Laurel School District who is in the School of Education’s specialist in education administration track, received a $1,000 graduate scholarship from Mississippi Professional Educators.

The scholarships reflect the quality effort Bledsoe and Hooper bring to the classroom each day, according to Katherine Horlock, assistant professor and associate chair of Teacher Education and Leadership at Mississippi College.

“The School of Education is honored to have both undergraduate and graduate students like Jaydn and Rebecca recognized for their achievements by Mississippi Professional Educators,” Horlock said. “These scholarships not only validate the hard work and dedication of our students, but also highlight the quality of education they receive at our institution.

“Such recognition strengthens our commitment to nurturing future leaders in education.”

In addition to the $500 scholarship, Bledsoe, an MC Hearin Scholar who works as a summer camp coordinator for children and youth, also received a complimentary membership to MPE for her first year of teaching.

“Receiving the Linda Anglin Teaching Preparation Scholarship means a lot to me,” she said. “I count it a high honor.”

A native of Fresno, California, and a resident of Laurel, Hooper earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from California Polytechnic State University and her Master of Education in curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas, She has been an MPE member since 2020.

“It’s a huge honor to receive this graduate scholarship from Mississippi Professional Educators,” Hooper said. “It’s great to be a part of an organization that sows into the continued learning and development of its members.

“I am grateful to God for this blessing, and it encourages me to make the most of this opportunity to expand my knowledge in the education field to better support students and fellow educators.”

Horlock said the MC School of Education’s association with MPE provides vital services for its students.

“Our strong partnership with Mississippi Professional Educators is invaluable in supporting our students’ professional development and connecting them with opportunities for growth and recognition,” she said. “Through collaborative efforts, we are able to enhance the educational experience for our students while also contributing to the broader educational landscape of Mississippi.”

Bledsoe had always been interested in the teaching profession. Her mother is a teacher, and as a child, the younger Bledsoe enjoyed helping out in the classroom.

“Growing up, I always wanted to play school and never seemed to get tired of it,” she said. “I have always been told that I would make a good teacher. Throughout my high school years, my teachers would recommend I tutor other students if they were struggling. I was even selected to teach my 11th-grade chemistry class one day in front of the principal.

“I thoroughly enjoy being around children and I absolutely love teaching.”

She chose to attend Mississippi College because of its close location to her home and its reputation for academic excellence.

“It was extremely important to me to find a school that I could be involved in my home church and not be away from my loved ones,” she said. “I also was impressed that MC is a Christian university, because my faith is the most important thing to me.”

Initially, Bledsoe had eyed a career in the health sciences and enrolled at MC as a biology major with plans to attend medical school.

“My plans quickly changed in December 2020 when I realized that I was called to teach,” she said. “I took my first education class in spring 2021 and absolutely loved it. I never looked back after that.

“I have loved my time in the TEL Department at MC and the experiences I have already had in the field. One of the most rewarding parts of teaching is when students connect to what you’re teaching and you can tell they really understand.”

Horlock said Bledsoe’s recognition by MPA is a testament to her passion for teaching and learning.

“As an education major, Jaydn’s dedication to her studies and her future role as an educator embodies the spirit of excellence we cultivate within our undergraduate students,” Horlock said. “This scholarship serves as both recognition of her hard work and an investment in the future of education.”

Bledsoe has accepted a full-time ministry position at her home congregation, First Pentecostal Church of Jackson, and plans to return to MC to obtain her master’s degree.

“MC and the TEL Department have prepared me well for my future career,” she said. “The professors and my fellow students have made an incredible impact on my life that I will be grateful for forever.

“Throughout my educational career at MC, the things I have learned have prepared me for the next steps as I follow the Lord’s plan for my life.”

Hooper’s passion for education was ignited in college when she worked with a group of professors to organize a summertime professional development session that helped local elementary school teachers gain confidence in teaching science.

“The passion and excitement of those teachers to engage in summer learning – all to make sure they could better teach and support their students – was contagious,” Hooper said. “I wanted a career that I loved to make a difference every day and always strive to grow in my practice, just as those teachers did.”

She has heard great things about Mississippi College and chose to enter the specialist in education administration track at the Christian University.

“I had never had the experience of attending a Christian institution in my education,” she said. “It is great to see how the Word of God and faith embedded in the curriculum.”

Horlock said Hooper’s dedication to educational leadership exemplifies the values the TEL Department instills in its graduate students.

“Her receipt of the MPE graduate scholarship underscores her commitment to advancing educational excellence and we’re proud to support her journey towards making a meaningful impact in educational leadership.”

After obtaining her education specialist degree, Hooper plans to continue helping teachers and students in Laurel reach their full potential.

“I want to apply what I have learned in a way that impacts our community,” she said. “MC is doing a great job ensuring that I am gaining the knowledge and skills to become an effective administrator and instructional leader. The content is directly aligned with the expectations for effective instructional leadership, and the assignments and mentorship requirements are giving me the hands-on experience I need to apply what I am learning.

“I am grateful for God’s timing and provision. He has supplied every need and I’m grateful for MPE playing a role in that and for MC providing me with a great education.”

Founded in 1979, the Mississippi Professional Educators serves about 12,500 teachers, administrators, and support personnel in pre-K through graduate education in both public and private institutions. The organization promotes better education for the children of Mississippi by awarding an annual scholarship to an MPE student member from each School of Education at Mississippi’s 15 public and private institutions of higher learning and up to 20 scholarships each year to MPE members who wish to pursue graduate-level studies at a college or university in Mississippi.

Nationally accredited since the middle of the last century, the School of Education at MC has long been recognized for the quality of its graduates and the contributions they have made in Mississippi, the South, and throughout the United States. The school’s mission is to provide a caring, Christian environment that facilitates the acquisition of knowledge in the behavioral sciences, teaching and learning, and health and human sciences.

Donuts on Cake
bottom of page