Two couples who chronicled the life of Charleston and the lives of its residents by publishing the local weekly newspaper were honored in 2010 when Ed and Becky Meek of Oxford established two journalism scholarships in their names at the University of Mississippi.
This fall, three Ole Miss students, all enrolled in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, are benefiting from the 2012-13 awarding of those scholarships.
Cherry Mathis of Batesville, a graduate of Charleston High School, has been awarded the Clay and Krista McFerrin Sun-Sentinel Scholarship; and Molly Jarabica of Vicksburg and Tori Olker of Spring Grove, Ill., each received the Bill and Jean May Mississippi Sun Scholarship.
A Charleston native, Ed Meek said at the time the scholarships were established that their objectives were to recognize the impact that W.W. "Bill" May and Jean May had on his own career and also to pay tribute to the contributions the May and McFerrin families have made to Charleston and Tallahatchie County. The Meeks also hope to encourage and provide assistance to students who want to pursue college degrees and journalism careers.
Mathis graduated No. 1 in her class of 91 at CHS, with a 4.0 grade-point average and a 34 ACT score. A National Merit Scholar, she won numerous honors and awards, which include placing first in the state Region VII Science Fair, winning the Mid-South Spelling Bee three years, making the highest averages in every class all four years of high school, winning five national awards at the United States Achievement Academy and being published in both the National Poetry Anthology and National Photography Anthology. She is majoring in integrated marketing communication.
Jarabica graduated from Warren Central High School. She is slated to graduate from Ole Miss in May, with a double major in print journalism and business management, and a minor in Spanish. She is listed in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.
Olker graduated from Richmond-Burton Community High School in Richmond, Ill. Each year throughout high school, she was listed on the High Honor Roll, received the President's Education Award and was named All-State Academic Athlete. She participated in the Illinois Leadership Seminar, received the Prairie State Achievement Award for Writing and served as editor-in-chief of her senior yearbook. She is majoring in journalism.
The Mississippi Sun newspaper of Charleston united with The Sumner Sentinel of Sumner in 1973 to become The Charleston Sun-Sentinel. The newspaper continues to play an important role in the community.
The Mays edited and published The Mississippi Sun until their retirement. Clay McFerrin joined The Sun-Sentinel in 1982 and became editor and general manager in 1986, then editor and publisher in 1995. His wife, Krista McFerrin, joined the newspaper in 1988 and oversees a wealth of responsibilities.