Education has a rich legacy in the family of Gift of Hope scholar Taylor McKay Hathorn of Waynesboro, Mississippi.
Your gifts on United Methodist Student Day, enables The United Methodist Church to supports the Gift of Hope Scholarship so that students can prepare for life in uniting faith with knowledge.
“I am a fifth-generation United Methodist,” she began, “and my very Methodist family values education above all else. My grandfather walked seven miles to school (one way) and would go on to be the first in his family to receive a college degree. My parents and grandparents have supported me tirelessly in every area of my life, and I know that their steadfast faith – in God and in what they believed that he could do through me – is the reason that I am who I am today.”
“Words were my first joy,” Taylor added, “and they have proved to be a lasting joy. I was known for being the kid who always had a book stashed away.”
It is little surprise that Taylor is preparing for a career as a teacher. “I would like to teach middle-school English,” she said. “I would eventually like to pursue a Ph.D. and teach English at the collegiate level. I want to inspire others to love English and to pursue social justice through the study of writing and literature.”
At Mississippi College in Clinton, Taylor has learned “to think critically about literature and writing,” she said, “but more than that, they have given me the language to actively pursue social justice and to instigate change in my community – and in myself.”
Taylor’s home congregation is First United Methodist Church, Waynesboro, and she attends Galloway Memorial UMC, Jackson, Mississippi, during the school year.
“The United Methodist Church,” she said, “has shaped me profoundly. The idea that women could be (and indeed, were) called by God to do his work in the world was taught to me and encouraged in me from a young age. My youth pastor allowed me to deliver Bible studies and encouraged me to discover God’s call in my life. United Methodists have taught me everything I know about goodness and grace, but more than that, they have taught me everything I know about sharing goodness and grace – which is my goal, regardless of my career.”
A top student, Taylor did not want her parents to be responsible for funding her education, so she was thankful to receive a Gift of Hope Scholarship. The GOH and an institutional scholarship from her university have enabled her to pay for her education, including books, independently.
She appreciates United Methodist Student Day. “It gives the next generation of United Methodists opportunities to better ourselves,” she said, “which will, in turn, equip us to become leaders in the church and the world.”
Barbara Dunlap-Berg, freelance writer and editor, retired from UMCom
One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, United Methodist Student Day calls the church to support students as they prepare for life in uniting faith with knowledge. The special offering provides scholarships for qualified United Methodist applicants.