Commitment, excellence, and leadership have paid off for Smithfield Middle School student Mariah Williams, the second Johnston County Public Schools student to receive the $20,000 Victor E. Bell, Jr. Scholarship.
Williams is one of only ten students across North Carolina to receive this education award and can use the funds to attend the college of her choice. Johnston County Public Schools had two students receive the scholarship, Williams and Selma Middle student Vanessa Zepeda-Paromo.
The Victor E. Bell, Jr. Scholarship is awarded to seventh graders to encourage and assist high potential North Carolina students to pursue a college degree.
Williams was nominated because of her dedication, hard work, and persistence. Williams said she plans to pursue a career in the music industry and enjoys singing and composing music when she is not completing her school work. She said she is excited about her college future, especially since she will be a first-generation college graduate.
Each recipient of the scholarship has an NC 529 College Savings account established with their name as the beneficiary. Each year that they qualify to renew the scholarship, from seventh grade through college graduation, $2,000 is added to that account with a maximum contribution of $20,000.
According to her teachers, she embraces challenges and has learned many valuable lessons during her middle school years. She has even learned sign language in order to teach it to a deaf family member.
Williams said family is important to her, and she is happy to call Smithfield Middle a part of her family. She said her school family constantly inspire her interests and help develop the skills she will need to be successful in life.