Mikaela Thomas, a recent graduate of Thomson High School, recently won first place in the 12th Annual Marion and Lucille Paschall Oratorical Scholastic Contest at Springfield Baptist Church in Thomson.
Miss Thomas, 17, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Thomas, of Thomson, said she sincerely appreciated the $600 scholarship that she received from the Paschall's daughter, Evita P. Andrews after being declared the winner.
"It means a lot to me to have been chosen the winner of this contest," said Miss Thomas, who plans to attend Clayton State University in Morrow, Ga., to study communications and media.
Miss Thomas aspires to become a broadcast sports anchor with dreams of someday working at ESPN.
Miss Thomas delivered a speech entitled, "On a Limb That Swings."
A second place scholarship in the amount of $300, meanwhile, was presented to Joshua Toran, III, a sixth grader at C.T. Walker Traditional Magnet School in Augusta. His speech was about the future of Black America.
The third place scholarship winner was 16-year-old Jennifer Price, of North Augusta. The rising junior at North Augusta High School addressed the church congregation on the topic of "Raising a Generation with a Future in FBLA." She received a $100 scholarship.
Two others were received honorable mention. They were Tawniah Beard, 18, a recent graduate of Davidson Fine Arts School in Augusta; and Maya Little, 17, a rising senior at the Academy of Richmond County in Augusta.
The scholarships were presented to the students in memory of Marion R. Paschall, a retired dental lab technician at Fort Gordon, who later became a city official overseeing neighborhood improvement projects. He also served on the CSRA Planning and Development Commission for more than 20 years.
The late Mrs. Lucille T. Paschall was a teacher in the McDuffie County School System for more than 45 years. She also served as an auxiliary member of McDuffie Regional Medical Center in Thomson for a number of years, working in the gift shop.
"Momma and Daddy would be ecstatic with the program today," said Mrs. Andrews, whose brother, Michael, and other relatives also attended. "This year's contest was by-far the best. I'm just disappointed that I didn't come up with the idea when my parents were alive. At least Momma experienced and was present at numerous programs. It gives me unbelievable joy to sponsor a program in my parents' honor at the church they attended and with the children that they knew."