Childhood classmates now both part of the first class of Reverend Pinckney Scholars
As Pre-K students, Christian Carter and Henry Jones raced to see who could run the fastest and win at tag. As time went on these childhood games evolved into healthy competition, and Christian and Henry pushed each other to succeed, a drive that paid off as they represent Beaufort County in the first class of Reverend Pinckney Scholars.
The Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program was established by a group of anonymous donors in memory of the tragic June 17, 2015 shooting at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston. Named for the church’s late pastor, the scholarship program is dedicated to promoting access to higher education for African American students. The scholarship is run by Coastal Community Foundation and provides up to $10,000 per year and other supportive resources over each scholar’s four years of college. For this first year, ten scholars in total were selected from Beaufort, Charleston and Jasper counties.
Both Christian’s and Henry’s guidance counselors recommended they apply for the scholarship. For Christian, there was an especially clear fit. “My aspirations are Senator Pinckney’s achievements,” she wrote in her application essay. A graduate of Battery Creek High School, she served as President of both the Student Body and National Honors Society, as well as a community ambassador for the Water Festival. She plans to take those leadership skills into a career in public service, starting off with the study of Political Science at North Carolina State University.
Christian’s aspirations originate close to home. Both her mother and grandmother were educators – her grandmother was her and Henry’s Pre-K teacher – while her father worked as a police officer and Marine, and her grandfather served as Sheriff for Beaufort County. “My grandfather taught me that by being in a place of power, you can make positive change for those who can’t speak up for themselves,” Christian shared.
One of Henry’s biggest role models, and inspiration for leadership, is his pastor, Rev. Dr. Abraham Murray. “He let his actions do the talking, not his words,” Henry explained. “He is the type of person you want to model yourself after and learn as much as you can from.”
Taking note, Henry’s biggest priorities are school, faith and family. He was captain of the school basketball team, served as President of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and mentors local youth at his church. Henry, who is a graduate of Beaufort High School, will take those life lessons to USC Upstate to pursue a career in Physical Therapy.
Now just a month away from leaving for college, it’s bittersweet for Christian to see she and Henry join the Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program – it means the end of their childhood together. However, she continued, “I love being able to see someone I grew up with succeed.”
“We always knew we wanted to do great things in life,” Henry shared. “I am just truly honored and humbled to be selected as one of the first Pinckney Scholars, and I hope I do his legacy proud.”