OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA) - Two local women have been honored by Ole Miss by receiving the university's highest academic honor.
Lori Fain of Sherman and Brenda Raper of Nettleton are being honored this spring as recipients of the 2018-2019 Marcus Elvis Taylor Memorial Medals.
Recipients must have at least a 3.90 grade-point average to be considered and receive nominations from Ole Miss' faculty.
"My husband encouraged me to go back to school and get my degree," Raper said. "I told him that I didn't think I could do that, but he was very supportive and encouraged me until I finally decided to try."
In 2014, she enrolled at ICC and started her college career. After ICC she transferred to Ole Miss' Tupelo campus.
This spring she served as a student teacher in a third-grade classroom at Rankin Elementary School in Tupelo.
Fain also decided to go back to school, this time to get her bachelor's degree in social work.
Fain said she decided to major in social work because she wanted to help people who might find themselves in the same situations she had struggled with.
During her senior year, Fain helped to organize a "Kids Fest" event at Ballard Park in Tupelo. The event had free games and prizes for children while raising awareness for child abuse prevention.
"Even though when I started college I knew I wanted to help people, through my studies and my internship experiences, I have learned a better way to look at myself and how to empathize with other people," she said. "I've learned how to step out of my place and into someone else's situation to work toward the best solution to meet their needs."