Napier establishes valedictorian prize
Published 7:00 am Friday, April 29, 2016
In an effort to honor the memory of his mother, Lena Mae Tate Napier, retired Brigadier General John Hawkins Napier III recently sent a donation in the amount of $1,000 to Picayune Memorial High School.
For the next ten years, the senior class valedictorian will receive a $100 prize, Napier said.
“My mother was a smart cookie,” Napier said. “In 1912, she was first valedictorian of the first graduating class from Picayune Memorial High School. The next year, my father, John Hawkins Napier Jr., was the valedictorian of Poplarville High School’s first graduating class.”
Napier’s grandfather, Eastman Francis Tate organized Picayune’s first school board in 1908 and his father Napier Jr. served as Picayune School District’s superintendent from 1943 to 1949.
After graduation from PMHS, Napier’s mother received her B.A. from Judson College in 1916 and voice and piano diplomas in 1917, Napier said.
During World War I, she traveled to Washington D.C. where she worked as an IRS auditor, Napier said.
“She had quite the record of accomplishment,” Napier said. “Especially during a time when women were expected to stay home and have babies. Recently, I thought she ought to be remembered. Some deserving student will receive this award at graduation.”
The Picayune School District is honored to receive the donation from General John Hawkins Napier III in honor of his mother, Lena Mae Tate Napier, Picayune School District Superintendent Dean Shaw said.
“The donation will be awarded to the Picayune Memorial High School Valedictorian in order to help further their education,” Shaw said.
The Lena Mae Tate Napier Prize, as Napier referred to his donation, will be awarded to this year’s valedictorian.