WAXAHACHIE — With a mission to inspire young people to live with high moral standards, the Moral Courage Foundation recognized a few character-driven students during a special ceremony.

“It’s really a one-of-a-kind foundation. It’s a foundation that awards college scholarship for graduating seniors who have exemplified moral courage,” expressed Randall Dyess, Board Member of the Moral Courage Foundation. “It’s one of the few that awards good kids for being good kids.”

The annual ceremony, held Monday, April 24, rewarded students who made wise decisions based on biblical values, while at the same time provided tangible evidence for others to do the same.

“It’s been proven that a person’s habits and values are formed at a very young age and by the time they’re in high school, if there’s not some encouragement or award for living those values, then it’s very easy for the world to sweep you away,” Dyess explained. “If we can do anything just to motivate living the Christian pattern, serving other people, and like the Golden Rule says, ‘Do to others what you have them do to you,’ if we can get that started in younger lives sooner, the better."

Founded in 2007, the nonprofit has already distributed over $225,000 to roughly 200 students.

“We’ve had one student that will be a doctor after this next year, another that is a journalist, and we have one that works with handicapped children and one that works on the mission field. They’re all going on to do big things and basically because they were just good kids,” Dyess recalled of past success stories.

Gathered at the Everly Rose Event Center, 15 Waxahachie students were awarded scholarships, with some totaling up to $10,000.

“The foundation is a nonprofit and tax-deductible, there’s no funding from government outside sources, and it’s all based on donations. This year, we’re giving out 15 scholarships,” Dyess expounded.

Opening the ceremony, the Co-Ed Venturing Crew, Hachie Crew 32, presented the colors and Pledge of Allegiance, followed by an acapella trio who sang the National Anthem.

Out of 34 applicants, Dean Kilmer, Chairman of the Moral Courage Foundation awarded the finalists after he noted the students’ achievements.

“There’s absolutely nothing this nation needs more than strong young people that believe in Jesus Christ, and we were extremely honored to have these young people,” Kilmer stated to the audience. “We are aware that these students are good leaders and devoted to Christ. And we wanted to do a little bit to help them be stronger and better."

Virtuous ethics were empowered through the requirements of applicants, stemming from a personal position as well as public activity. From students that assisted in charitable organizations to those who served the community with zeal and selflessness —the teens awarded during the ceremony certainly fit the standards to a tee.

“The criteria for qualifying is that you either go to school in the Waxahachie area or have actively participated in church activates in a Waxahachie church for the last two years,” Dyess explained. “The students have to write an essay about what exemplifies moral courage, and secondly, we require a reference from either a youth minister or a sponsor from school. We get some very encouraging essays from the kids and their sponsors."

Throughout the celebration, the Small Chorus of Brown Street Church of Christ performed a beautiful musical selection, with Lee Colman leading in prayer.

Applause and admiration of doting parents for their student echoed, as Paul O’Rear, Chairman of the MCF, closed with a final charge.

“You were chosen. And you were chosen because you decided to live your life by biblical moral values. We wanted to say how much we appreciate, admire, and are inspired by you. And we wanted to encourage you to keep living that way,” O’Rear motivated.

For the students who received a scholarship, Dyess is confident that the foundation’s contribution will assist the next generation of virtuous leaders.

“We just want to award good kids for being good kids,” Dyess finished with a smile.

To connect or donate to the Moral Courage Foundation, visit moralcouragefoundation.org.

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Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer

(469)-517-1450