Nonprofit MDP Reach announces scholarship winners

Published 3:46 pm Tuesday, April 30, 2024

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NATCHEZ — “Mediocrity Doesn’t Pay” is the slogan of MDP Fitness, LLC, a local gym that is encouraging academic success in addition to physical fitness with scholarships awarded to local high school students through its non-profit organization.

This week, MDP Reach announced its first 11 scholarship winners to benefit from its non-profit initiatives and fundraisers.

“I’m so happy that through our non-profit initiatives, we were able to award 11 scholarships this year,” owner Fred Marsalis Jr. said. “These young men and women are beyond deserving.”

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The winners are Adelyn Rayne LaCaze, Monterey High School; Kelvion Washington, Jefferson County High School; Tahkari Doss, Natchez High School; Madison Jackson, Vidalia High School; Reagan Rabb, Adams County Christian School; Makenzie Jackson, Natchez Early College; Caroline Rout, Concordia Parish Academy; Khaden Washington, Ferriday High School; Chevbrelle Jefferson, Delta Charter School; and Timothy Hayden Cotton, Cathedral High School.

Each scholarship is for $500, Marsalis said.

Criteria is a 3.2 grade point average and a letter of recommendation from a community stakeholder, which could be a teacher, coach, employer, etc, Marsalis said.

The students also wrote a 750-word essay on the topic “How you do anything is how you do everything.”

The for-profit MDP Fitness gym also awarded its inaugural Athletic Merit Award to Kabari Davis of Vidalia High School for demonstrating “what it means to be a scholar-athlete,” Marsalis said.

“The goal was 9 but we had 10 scholars, plus one through my for-profit business,” Marsalis said.

“I’m thankful to all our sponsors to all our contributors who made this happen and made this inaugural scholarship year a success.”

Marsalis added, “We look forward to forging on to new things and are already in the planning process for next year on April 5, 2025, at the Vidalia Convention Center.”

Anyone who wants to be part of that can reach Marsalis via email at

“Local officials including Buz Craft, Mayor Dan Gibson and Supervisor Rickey Gray were part of our scholarship fundraising gala,” he said. “They can attest that it was ‘one of the most diverse and fun events Natchez has ever had.’ That is from our Mayor Dan Gibson. We had a great time promoting unity, promoting inclusion and making sure everyone understood what we were there for, which is making our community and our area stronger.”