The Big 7 Association held its 28th annual Scholarship and Awards Banquet on Feb. 26, 2022, virtually due to the continued COVID-19 pandemic. It was their second event held via the internet as they felt it was important to continue supporting the educational process. Despite the Coronavirus, our children are still graduating from high school and going to institutions of higher education and that is too important for the Big 7 Association to give up on.

The group would like to thank all those who supported them with your donations by going online to watch our banquet video via our website at www.big7association.org. They would also like to thank our sponsors who bought ads, became scholarship partners or just gave their time. Over the past 28 years, they have given out over $175,000 in scholarships, and in 2022, our students received a total of $15,500 in scholarships. The winners of the scholarships this year were Ms. Mia Cohen, Ms. Katelyn Danner, Mr. Daniel Trull, Mr. Terrance Wallace and Mr. Naveon Buxton from Barnwell High School; Ms. Alyssa Brown and Mr. Johnny Dunbar from Williston High School; Mr. Deonte Stanley and Mr. Deon Allen from Blackville-Hilda High school; Ms. Nianne Rivers from Denmark-Olar High School; Mr. Jorell Banks from Bamberg-Ehrhardt; and Ms. Candence Gray and Ms. Ali’Avnna Curry from Allendale-Fairfax High School. Congratulations to all the winners and their families. The Big 7 Association takes pride in recognizing individuals in the community who have made substantial contributions in business, community service and Education. They also present a Humanitarian Award each year. This year, they recognized Ms. Natalia Johnson, Deputy Sheriff Eric Kirkland, Mrs. Kimberli Scott Still and Rep. Justin Bamberg for Community Service. Deputy Sheriff Donald Danner received an award recognizing him for setting the example for the importance of education by going back to college and getting his degree at the age of 66. The Humanitarian Award went to Mrs. Donna Moore Wesby of Aiken for her steadfast work in the CSRA with informative workshops, radio and television broadcasts called Education Matters, former Aiken County Board of Education member as well as several other boards and now is serving as general manager of WAAW Shout 94.7FM Urban Gospel radio station. Mrs. Wesby is also the co-founder of Umoja Village www.umojavillage.com.

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Mr. Matthew O’Stricker served as our keynote speaker for the banquet. Barnwell is the home of many paternal relatives of O’Stricker, including his father, Winston O’Stricker, who is a 1983 graduate of Barnwell High School. O’Stricker is currently a sophomore attending Duke University and is serving as President of the Student Government Association. The group felt it was important for our youth to hear from a young man who is moving in a positive direction. Special thanks to Mrs. Belinda Parker, Mrs. Donna Wesby, contemporary violinist Daniel Davis, national gospel singers The Wardlaw Brothers, South Carolina DHEC, Mr. Dion Washington (videographer), Mr. Gary Meadows (Meadowsmedia.com), National Public Radio journalist Mr. Scott Morgan and musician Mr. Randy Gamble for your video participation. The Big 7 Association mission is “One Helping One to Uplift All” and we humbly ask everyone for your continued support by purchasing access to our 28th annual Scholarship video for a minimum donation of $5 or more. Download the video to see our youth express themselves about their school and majors. To any company or corporation, you can also become a scholarship partner at whatever level is comfortable to you. Just log on to www.big7association.org. You can contact us at davidkenner@big7association.org. You can make a donation via our website, cash app at $big7association or mail to P.O. Box 722, Barnwell SC 29812. We are a 501 c3 tax exempt organization.

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