What The Scholarship Meant To Me
Margaret McConnell, 1957 Scholar, a retired teacher, comments: The Byrnes Scholarship made it possible for me to go to college. As the youngest of ten children, and with a mother ill with cancer of the spine, in the last year of her life, I was needed at home. My mother died in October 1954. I then stayed at home with my father until his death in February 1956. My sister, Edith, with the help of a young Methodist minister, Ray Hook, attended college while I stayed at home with my parents. After our father's death, Edith helped me get started to college in 1956. However, as a beginning teacher, she did not earn a great deal of money. She applied for the scholarship in 1957.
Because of the Byrnes Scholarship, Margaret was able to complete her college work in three years. With only my sister's support, I would have had to work, go to school part time. I may never have completed college. Certainly I would not have been able to maintain the grades I did.
When she finished a year early, she notified Governor Byrnes so that he could give her last-year's tuition to someone else. She also began to pay back and continued to give even after she had returned all that she had been given. Governor Byrnes' reaction to her contributions at a time when the scholarship money was limited is recorded in these letters.