Honoring excellence at MHS

Pride In the Tiger holds annual scholarship night

Hudson Dieken, at left, was called up in front of the stage Wednesday night to receive the Shirley Braisted Scholarship during the Pride In the Tiger Foundation’s annual scholarship awards ceremony. A check on display showed the total of $204,000 in scholarships that went to 128 members of the MHS graduating class of 2024.

MARSHALL — There were many reasons to celebrate at Marshall High School on Wednesday night. MHS staff and the Pride in the Tiger Foundation honored more than 100 graduating seniors at PITF’s annual scholarship awards ceremony.

“I’m happy to announce that tonight, through endowed annual scholarships, we will award over $204,000 to 128 graduating seniors,” said Carl Johnson, president of the PITF board of directors.

It was also a milestone year for the Foundation, Johnson said.

“We are proud to be celebrating our 25th year supporting students here in Marshall,” he said. “Since it was established in 1999, the Foundation has provided over $2 million in scholarships to over 2,000 graduates.”

Many area community members had made those scholarships possible over the past 25 years, Johnson said. However, Wednesday’s program was not only about the scholarship money, but student achievements.

“Scholarships are not merely a financial reward. They also recognize excellence, and honor those who have shown hard work and integrity throughout their high school career, and wish to further their education at the next level,” Johnson said.

One by one, seniors were called up to the stage to accept a wide variety of community awards and scholarships, as well as some special recognitions.

This year, the Bud Rose Award was given to MHS wrestler and football player Tate Condezo. The Bud Rose Award is MHS’s oldest athletic award, and is presented to a male athlete who shows high levels of athletic performance, loyalty, sportsmanship, leadership and cooperation.

Morgan Bjella was named the recipient of the Kaiser Award, which is presented to a female athlete who shows the same high levels of performance, sportsmanship, leadership and cooperation. Bjella has played volleyball, basketball and softball through her years at MHS.

Hser Tha Htoo received the 2024 Principal’s Award from MHS Principal Brian Jones.

“This award is something that is not applied for during the senior year, but rather an award that every student is eligible to receive starting on their first day of high school,” Jones said. Jones said Htoo strived for excellence in academics and activities, supported others, and showed integrity and character. In addition to participating in activities like speech and BPA during her time at MHS, Htoo is a tutor with the Upward Bound program, where she has an opportunity to help first-generation students, announcers said.

“MHS is a better place today because of the many contributions of Hser Htoo,” Jones said.

Carol Purrington, the guest speaker at Wednesday’s program, urged students and community members to think about how they could support and encourage future generations of MHS students. She said she and her family had decided to start a scholarship to encourage students to be part of the speech program.

In 23 years as head speech coach at MHS, Purrington said she saw how students – including her two sons – gained poise and confidence from being part of the activity.

“I was awed, too, by the number of students who came through the program and went on to use their speaking skills for the greater good,” Purrington said.

“Seniors, I would like to encourage you to someday give back in honor of those who have helped you along the way. Your family, your teachers, your coaches, and your community,” Purrington said. “I am reminded of a quote by Zig Ziglar, an author and motivational speaker who once said, ‘When you encourage others, you in the process are encouraging yourself because you’re making a commitment and a difference in a person’s life.’ Encouragement really does make a difference.”


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