Margaret McConnell, 1957 Scholar, a retired
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
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
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
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In return for their generosity and support, Mom and Pop Byrnes asked only two things from us: become the very best people we could become in life, and make sure their legacy of family continues for those who come after us.
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