Piney Woods School students perform for President of U.S.

Published 10:39 am Wednesday, December 23, 2015

JACKSON, Mississippi-Students of The Piney Woods Country Life School (PWS) recently concluded a holiday-themed tour with stops in our nations Capital, Washington, DC and Atlanta, GA, which included a performance for the President of the United States.

The touring group, an ensemble of the internationally known Piney Woods Cotton Blossom Singers, shared holiday scores reminiscent of the legacy spirituals for which the School has long been recognized.

The Washington, DC, tour included a performance at an annual White House Holiday Reception and a private performance for the President and First Lady of the United States, Barack and Michelle Obama. Mr. Will Crossley, the new president at Piney Woods, was a U.S. presidential appointee before becoming head of the school last year.

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Both in Washington, DC and Atlanta, GA, the ensemble performed at holiday gatherings to raise money benefiting the school’s scholarship fund. In DC, the group was featured at the official ambassador’s residence of His Excellency, Michael Moussa-Adamo, Ambassador to the United States from the African Republic of Gabon.

In Atlanta, the group performed at a private gathering at the home of Wendell and Scarlet Pressley-Brown; an event which was hosted by an array of dignitaries including Ambassador Andrew Young, baseball great Hank and his wife Billye Aaron, Mr. Henry “Hank” Thomas, and other PWS trustees.

The tour raised more than $50,000 for the school’s scholarship fund and marked an amazing experience for the school’s students, nearly half of whom hail from Mississippi (but who together represent over 20 US states and foreign jurisdictions).

Every student of The Piney Woods School receives school-funded financial support and works to help defray the cost of their education. Contributions to the scholarship fund can be made by contacting Vernesia Wilson at 601-845-2214 ext. 2319, or online at

The Piney Woods Country Life School is a 106 year old educational institution that serves students in grades 9-12. Piney Woods is the largest continuously operating

historically and predominantly African American boarding program in the country.

We educate a diverse population of students from the United States and throughout the world, and prepares students for college with a graduation rate of 98% and a college admission rate of 97%.

Three of the students are from Prentiss: K’Dreunna Martin, Jalen Rankin and Kimyia Youngblood.