HONORING WARDO: Four recent grads receive Ward Graning Memorial Scholarships

Published 6:35 pm Friday, June 21, 2024

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Four Miss-Lou high school graduates received scholarships this week for their achievements as scholar-athletes.

The 2024 Ward Graning Memorial Scholarships were presented to Kailisa White, Natchez High School; Bennett Gilly, Cathedral High School; Camren Strittman, Adams County Christian School; and Caroline Rout, Concordia Parish Academy.

The scholarships are presented by the family of the late Ward Graning, a well-known Natchez businessman, athlete and supporter of community athletics who passed away in 2019. Ward Graning was a standout athlete at Cathedral School and went on to play football at the University of Alabama.

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“These graduates have all exhibited the many qualities that Ward displayed through his life,” said his brother, Tom Graning who co-owns Wardo’s in Natchez with their other siblings. The restaurant was developed as a tribute to their late brother, known by many as “Wardo.”

“It’s an honor to keep Ward’s memory alive by helping these kids pursue their dreams,” Tom Graning said. “Our cash scholarship helps them with books, tuition, clothes, dorm items … whatever they need to get settled. He would be very proud of us and our community for pulling together to make this scholarship so successful.”

The scholarships are funded in large part by Wardo’s Rouxdolph Roll, a 10K, 5K and Kids Fun Run held each December.

Sponsors of the run included Tate & Company Real Estate; Sabrina Dore’ Agency; Coldwell Banker Stewart Realty; Lazarus Arts; J.E. Hicks; Minette’s; 95 Country; GoMart; Southwest Distributors; Mid-South Broadcasting; Spirits of Natchez; Laird’s Barber & Style Center; Rise N Shine; Natchez Coca-Cola; Mile 363; The Natchez Democrat; Ameriprise Financial Forrest A. Johnson; Home Bank; Delta Bank; Diana Glaze; United Mississippi Bank; Stout and Company; Byrne Insurance Agency; Mayor Dan Gibson; State Farm Denny Singleterry; Pig Out Inn; and the Miss-Lou Champions Spotlight.