McDonald family celebrates 26th year of memorial scholarship fund
By Geoff Belcher
Jun 14, 2013, 17:33
At the recent Bay High School graduation ceremony, school principal Dr. Andy Parker recognized the 142 students in the Class of 2013 for earning $4,924,724 in scholarship offerings. Eight of the students recognized were the latest beneficiaries of a long-time scholarship fund founded by one of Bay St. Louis's most prominent families.
"As of this year, there have been 133 recipients of the Katrina Overall McDonald Memorial Scholarship Fund," Winnie McDonald – now the family matriarch – said recently.
Katrina McDonald lived from 1897-1985, and was the wife of the late Carl C. McDonald. Their four sons, David, C.C., Fred and James McDonald started the scholarship fund in 1986 to honor their mother. They awarded the first scholarship in 1987.
Each of this year's eight recipients received $2,500 to be applied towards college tuition and expenses.
"We try to give to kids with single parents, or low-income, or maybe come from families with a lot of kids, so money might be tight," Winnie (wife of Jim McDonald) said. "This year, one of (the recipients) was a little girl who has been basically on her own, yet managed to keep going to school and getting good grades and graduating."
Katrina Overall was born June 9, 1897, the second of five children born to Nathaniel Davis and Kate (Moore) Overall. Both of Katrina's parents were educators, and Nathaniel served as the superintendent of education for Rutherford County, Tenn. As Katrina and her siblings reached college age, the family moved to Nashville, and all five children graduated from Vanderbilt University.
In 1915, Katrina visited her friend Elizabeth McDonald in Bay St. Louis. That's when she met Elizabeth's cousin, Carl C.
A year later, on completing her junior year at Vanderbilt, she was offered a job at Bay High School, introducing Latin to the Gulf Coast, and coaching girl's basketball. She graduated from Vanderbilt in 1918, voted "Best All Around" student by her classmates; married C.C. McDonald and moved to Bay St. Louis, where she lived until she died on Dec. 13, 1985.
In addition to being an educator, wife, mother and homemaker, Winnie said, Katrina was very active in the community.
"Katrina ... was one of the sweetest, most beautiful, most Christian people you'd ever want to meet," Winnie said.
In 1977, then-Bay St. Louis Mayor Warren Carver declared June 9 "Katrina McDonald Day" in the Bay.
According to Carver's proclamation, "For more than 60 years, Mrs. McDonald has devoted herself to serving this community in many capacities – educator, organizer of the local PTA; service in Hospital Auxiliary and leader of the Candy Striper movement; girl scout leader on a regional level; teacher in the Main Street Methodist Sunday School, etc. ... With her husband, she has been most generous in donations toward civic activities."
Winnie McDonald said the scholarship fund reflects the family's desire to continue that tradition.
"If Katrina McDonald were alive today," according to a booklet the family provides the students, "she would probably say to a scholarship recipient, 'As a young man or woman just completing your high school education, the world and your path in life lie before you. I suggest that you will find a haven of strength and the ability to take in stride both success and adversity, if you maintain a close relationship with God.
"You will also find that service to your fellow man is richly rewarding. The Bible says of those to whom much has been given, much shall be expected."