New Bern church offers scholarships in MLK's honor

NEW BERN, NC (WITN) As Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations took place around eastern Carolina, in New Bern, one organization is helping grow his vision of educational equality by providing scholarship opportunities to high school graduates that might otherwise not have a chance to go to college.

"We're still fighting the same battles. It's our responsibility to continue to push his legacy and to take part in the future of his legacy," says Rev. Dr. Gregory Holmes, of the First Missionary Baptist Church.

It's not just the word of God, but the words of King Jr. that Holmes preached during Monday's annual MLK Day service.

The First Missionary Baptist Church came together with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship and Awards Committee to help provide scholarship opportunities to high school graduates in the community.

"It's really important and economically and socially for them to achieve what God has set before them. Because as they achieve, we all achieve," added Holmes.

The Scholarship and Awards Committee has provided just under $100,000 in scholarships over the past 25 years. It's Money that students may otherwise not have to attend college.

"Our area needs it badly because we have so many kids in the area that want to go to college but don't have the means to do so," added Irlie Brazzle, with the committee.

Nearly 40 applications were provided to students and their parents at Monday's service. The recipients will be awarded in June.

"What makes it real nice is when they come back. When they come back and say 'thank you,' and we see how well they're doing," Brazzle explained.

And as the nation celebrates the mission of Martin Luther King, it's the church's calling to give back to the youth.

"We're a very prosperous and successful church and we want to pass that along to the next generation, to allow them to fulfill their potential," says Holmes.

The committee was unable to provide any scholarship funds last year due to the devastation of Hurricane Florence in the community, and hope to award somewhere between 10-15 scholarships this year depending on the funds they raise solely from community donations.