Over the last 40 years, the Choral Program at Ocean Springs High School has helped numerous students to succeed in music, education, and life. 

In large part, many of these successes can be credited to the dedication of the long-time Choral Director, Mary Elizabeth Sawyer.


Enthusiasm, loyalty, and sacrifice are three words that could be used to define Mary Elizabeth Sawyer. Even after her retirement in 2005, Mrs. Sawyer continued to guide and promote the Ocean Springs High School Choral Program. Practice makes perfect and Mrs. Sawyer has never been shy about providing a helping hand or sometimes a push to maximize the talents of her students.


In conjunction with the Ocean Springs Choral Class of 1987, the Bannister Foundation formed the Mary Elizabeth Sawyer Choral Scholarship in May of 2017.  This scholarship will be awarded annually to a choral student from Ocean Springs High School that exemplifies outstanding music and academic excellence during their high school career and a desire to pursue an education in music.  The $5,000 scholarship award will make a significant impact on its recipients and there has been a financial commitment made to fund this scholarship for the next 20 years.


The Bannister Foundation would like to thank Mrs. Sawyers's husband, Richard, and her children, Carrie, Adrienne, and Ric, for their unwavering patience and support that allowed her to educate and mentor the thousands of students that have come through the Ocean Springs Choral Program. ​


+Simon Ladner, 2017 Scholarship Recipient 

  Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi 

+Michael Lott, 2018 Scholarship Recipient

  Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Gautier, MS 

+Gabrielle Cruz, 2019 Scholarship Recipient

  University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC


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Call Us: 228-897-1287   /   /  P.O. Box 7605 Gulfport, MS 39506

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