A new scholarship for PRCC cosmetology students in memory of Helen Moody Beech

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September 9, 2022
Laura O’Neill

Pearl River Community College students in the Cosmetology program will have access to a new scholarship opportunity starting this fall. The Helen Moody Beech Memorial Cosmetology Scholarship has been created in honor of a woman who attended the program and enjoyed her life as a cosmetologist in the area.   

Helen Moody Beech wears black and white floral top while sitting on striped outside furniture.
Helen Moody Beech

During the last years of Beech’s life, she and her daughter, Martha Beech Fry, talked about forming a scholarship to honor her memory. They saw it serving as a great legacy while assisting students who also struggled like Beech. Her time at the River played a part in her path to becoming a cosmetologist, a career that she loved.  

“She was very touched that I wanted to do something to honor her, but she never believed there would be any funds available after her death as she was totally dependent on private caregivers,” said Fry. “Sadly, she passed in December 2021, but gratefully with a small amount of money left in which to endow the scholarship.”   

Scholarship recipients must be pursuing a cosmetology license/degree as a full-time student at PRCC, maintain a 2.0 GPA and have been in the foster care system, adopted, or are struggling with mental health. Priority will be given to Poplarville High School graduates or other Pearl River County high schools.   

“Scholarships play a significant role at our college,’ Executive Director of Development Foundation/Alumni Association, Delana Harris said. “Our administration has worked hard to freeze tuition which allows a student’s dollar to go further at PRCC. It also allows donor support to go further as well.   

“We are grateful for supporters like Mrs. Fry and her family who decide to give back to PRCC through scholarship support. This is a wonderful way to provide a legacy and honor a loved one.  Scholarship support aids in allowing students to enroll and complete their degree or training at Pearl River. Earning a credential is the ultimate goal for our college as we work with local leaders to strengthen our communities and state by building a strong workforce.” 

Beech began her journey by being placed in an orphanage when she was around 18 months old. She was then adopted by Julius and Louella Yates Moody of Poplarville who provided her with a wonderful, loving home. Yet, the trauma she experienced manifested itself as extreme anxiety and debilitating bouts of depression.  

“My mother fought to overcome these demons and she found that by being of service to others, using her creativity and working in the beauty industry she was able to maintain for long periods,” said Fry.  

Beech first enrolled at Pearl River with the goal of obtaining a cosmetology license.  She worked locally within her field to gain valuable experience that eventually led to her sitting for the exam. She initially began by opening a shop in Poplarville but then worked on the gulf coast for some time, before returning to Poplarville and opening Mimi’s Beauty Salon which she successfully operated for many years.  

She loved her work but had to leave it behind after suffering a stroke in 1985. However, those adversities didn’t stop her from renewing her license one more time in case she could return to practice.  

Last Cosmetology License for Helen Moody Beech; shows expiration date of 5/4/93
Last Cosmetology License for Helen Moody Beech

“Mom always said she regretted that decision as her shop-having her own business-gave her the control and freedom that were essential for her with her unique challenges,” said Fry. “That is why we want this scholarship to be awarded to a student that also is battling uphill from challenges related to being an adoptee, in the foster care system, or struggling with mental health challenges.”     

Community members who would like to donate to this scholarship can do so online, by phone, or by mail. Online donations are done at prcc.edu/alumni/donate where you can select general scholarships and put “Helen Moody Beech Memorial Cosmetology Scholarship” in the comment box.  

Phone donations can be made by calling the PRCC Development Foundation at 601-403-1183. Alternatively, checks can be mailed to PRCC Development Foundation at PO Box 5389 Poplarville, MS 39470. Please make sure to note Helen Moody Beech Memorial Cosmetology Scholarship on the check. 

Anyone interested in starting a scholarship fund can start the process through an online form at prcc.edu/alumni/scholarship.  The scholarship can be named and have specific criteria for the eligibility of students for the award. Fully funding a scholarship requires a minimum of $10,000 that can be delivered over time or in a lump sum.  

Questions about the process can be directed to Harris at dharris@prcc.edu

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats), Instagram (PRCCWILDCATS), and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG). 

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