It was quite an intimate affair as parents and extended family members gathered to witness their children be recognized for special awards by their high school faculty members.

In the Denmark-Olar High School Media Center on Friday, May 18, 2018, beginning at 9:15 am three students were presented scholarships which will help them to pursue their college education upon graduating high school.

There were three presentations: two from High Society Alumni Males of D-O Class of 1992, one from The Big 7 Foundation, and also a scholarship in honor of the late local and well-known educator Rita Sease.

Kristen Pickens will be graduating from Denmark-Olar next month and will enroll this fall to Claflin University to pursue a biology degree. She earned a $750 scholarship through the Distinguished Gentleman of High Society. Pickens is already quite accomplished as she is a certified nursing assistant and plans to become a physical therapist.

Pickens said she had no idea she would receive this scholarship. “It was an amazing feeling to be recognized for all my hard work. My experience writing the essay was definitely one to remember. All the late nights of working on it paid off. I did not know I’d receive it. It took myself and my family by surprise it has been a humbling experience,” she said. Pickens said she will give back to her community.

“In 10 years I plan to build a physical therapy office in my hometown of Denmark. I want to be “the change” that I would like to see in my community,” she said.

Pickens is a member of: The National Honor Society, Beta Club, and serves with the Keep Bamberg County Clean movement.

Shakerria Johnson will also graduate next month and will enroll in the fall to USC Aiken to pursue a degree in Nursing. She also received a $750 scholarship from The Distinguished Gentleman of High Society.

Johnson says she was also unaware that she would receive these scholarships.

“I am shocked but thankful to have received these awards that will go towards furthering my education. Earning my degree will broaden my levels of opportunities and increase my chances of being successful,” she said.

Johnson said she plans to give back to her native town. “Once I earn my degree I will come back and host annual health clinics in Denmark and surrounding areas,” she said.

Johnson was also awarded the Rita Murdaugh-Sease Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $3500.

The scholarship was established by Sease’s family to continue her legacy and devotion to education. Sease served over 30 years as an educator and was elected and served on the Bamberg School District 1 School Board. The scholarship is through Nu Tau Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and will be awarded annually to recognize local students entering their freshmen year at a 4-year accredited college or university. To apply for this scholarship students should contact their local guidance counselor for information on the Nu Tau Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Scholarship.

Jada Ashley is also a graduating senior who plans to start her first semester in college this fall at Claflin University.

Ashley is very involved at DOHS. She is a peer educator among other leadership roles.

Ashley received a $1,500 scholarship by the Big 7/ Bakari Sellers family scholarship. She said “I am truly excited to receive this award. This scholarship will help me pay for my books and other expenses that I need as I embark on my first semester this fall at Claflin.”

Representative Dewayne Eubanks is the Vice President of the Big 7 association. Eubanks said “it feels good to give to a deserving student.” “It warms my heart to be able to continue giving. I have been doing this act of community service for over 30 years and want to see our youth grow and let their light shine.”

The Big 7 motto is: One helping one to help All. “We just wanted to make a difference to cater to our youth,” he said.

The Big 7 is a nonprofit organization that serves as a tool to send graduating high school students to college. This organization has been in existence for 25 years.

Students who attend high school in the following areas are eligible. Barnwell, Williston, Blackville, and Allendale.

Members and creators of the Big 7 host an annual scholarship banquet the last Saturday in February each year and this past February they celebrated 24 years of giving.

Bakari Sellers was the guest speaker and he pledged to establish a scholarship in honor of his family for a student who attends Denmark and Bamberg high schools. The award would be in the amount of $1,500 per student.

This opened the door for students in Bamberg county area to be eligible for a scholarship through the Big 7 organization.

Students who may be interested in this position scholarship are to write an essay stating their intentions and they must express the financial need and should also attend either a 2 year or 4-year college.

If anyone is interested in learning how to donate to the scholarship fund or if a student would like to apply for a scholarship please visit the website

Mickey Pringle and Dr. Brenda Hughes gave closing remarks expressing how proud they are of each of their students who earned a scholarship.

Shakora Bamberg
Staff Reporter