2021 Mt. Zion Baptist Church Scholarship Recipients: In the Spirit of Service to Church and Community
By Jonathan Gramling
Mt. Zion Baptist Church is pleased to announce its 2021 scholarship recipients. Natalie McDonald and Nestic Morris have exhibited commitment and leadership in church, school and community.
Natalie McDonald has been active with Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Her family has participated in the Homeless Meal, Liturgical Dance, Choir, Audio Visual, and Children’s Church Ministry.
When she was 12, Natalie became an usher at church which involves many responsibilities including greeting people entering the sanctuary, recording attendance, and cleaning up the sanctuary after service.
Natalie is graduating from LaFollette High School. During her high school career, she has been a part of the Achievement Connections tutoring program, Born Gifted discussion group, National Honors Society, and Black Student Union, of which she is a co-president. Natalie has been invited to staff, assistant principal, and superintendent interviews; along with a summer internship at Madison Gas & Electric and different conferences, including the Rotary Clubs Ethic Symposium last February. While maintaining her academic excellence, Natalie has held down a part-time job at Culver’s.
Our in the community, last Christmas, Natalie helped wrap presents for kids at the Warner Park Community Center and this Thanksgiving, she helped Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. hand out Thanksgiving baskets to those in need. Last year, she also volunteered at a charity auction at BoneFish Grill. All the proceeds from this event were donated to the Assistant Men's Basketball Coach of the University of Wisconsin, Howard Moore, and his family.
Natalie will be majoring in political science with a minor in sociology at Spelman College this fall. She eventually plans to become a lawyer and will focus on criminal justice and prison reform while advocating for marginalized groups.
Nestic Morris graduated in 2014 from UW-Whitewater with a degree in sociology and communication and is currently enrolled in the master’s program for social work at UW-Milwaukee.
Nestic has been active at Mt. Zion Baptist Church for over 24 years, serving in the young adult choir and youth ministry. She is co-chair of the church’s anniversary committee and a member of its Greeters Committee. Nestic has also been taking over the duties of church clerk.
Out in the community, Nestic has volunteered with the Southside Raiders Cheerleading Squad, created the Support Group for Girls to help girls deal with sexual assault trauma and Youth Empowerment Groups with the Boys & Girls Club. She has volunteered for many community events such as Juneteenth, and Johnny Winston’s block party. In 2018, Nestic received the Linda Sundberg Civil Rights Defender Award.
Nestic has worked in the field of domestic violence and sexual assault for many years. She was an alcohol and drug counselor with the DIAS domestic shelter and is currently working with the Wisconsin Coalition against Sexual Assault where she provides technical assistance, trainings and workshops throughout the state of Wisconsin.
Nestic wrote in her scholarship application, “There is no separation between my church and civic life. I am often stopped out in the community asking if I am the ‘Mt. Zion lady or ‘the domestic/sexual assault lady’ and when I say ‘yes,’ they usually follow-up with a physical or spiritual need that needs to be met. If there is an immediate need that can be met, my role in both areas is to try my best to assist people with those needs. I do not get to turn my roles off and ask them to call me between the hours of 9-5.
Natalie McDonald and Nestic Morris are reflections of the Spirit and its call to serve church and community.