Kirby Ware, Class of 1997


    Clubs and Extracurriculars: Football, Track and Field, Powerlifting, Fellowship of Christian Athletes


    Favorite Pearl Memory:

    “There is no better feeling in the world than playing football under the lights at Ray Rogers Stadium and having Mr. Ray Rogers himself announce your name over the PA system as a part of the starting lineup.”


    Kirby Ware, Pearl High School Class of 1997, is a Finance and Outreach Specialist at the University of Southern Mississippi - Institute of Disability Studies (IDS), where he combines his accounting background with his passion for serving people.


    During his high school years, Kirby was an active member of several sports teams and organizations. He credits his success in life to the lessons he learned on the football field and the values instilled in him by his coach, Bruce Merchant. Those years on the football field showed him that, “we have good moments and some not so good moments. The mistakes made in the midst of all of it are learning opportunities.”


    After completing his Bachelor's degree in Accounting from Mississippi College, Kirby worked in various capacities before eventually starting his own Jani-King commercial cleaning franchise. Along his career path he was given the, “opportunity to work in a variety of different capacities with diverse groups of people. Life's ups and downs have taught me that we are all created with a unique purpose and, the road is not always easy to navigate when trying to figure out what that purpose may be.” Today, he is a Finance and Outreach Specialist at the University of Southern Mississippi-Institute of Disability Studies. Kirby is also currently pursuing a Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Walden University.


    For Kirby, Pearl High School has always been home. He contributes his success in life to the principles of grit, determination, and perseverance taught to him, as well as the community support in Pearl. He has been a proud member of the Pearl Public School District Board of Directors since 2020, allowing him to be a community support for the students of PPSD today. Ware says, “During the most trying and difficult times, Pearl has always shown up for me, and I will always show up for Pearl.”


    Kirby has been happily married to his wife Becky for 19 years. Their son, Jamaal and his wife Tiffany, live in East St. Louis, IL, and are parents to Jackson (4) and Benjamin (2). Their daughter, Kennedy, is a senior at Pearl High School. Kirby feels blessed to have been chosen for this honor and is grateful for the support of the Pearl community throughout his life. As he says, "Being at Pearl taught me that there will be times when we fall, but getting back up is what separates Pirates from everybody else!"


    What is the most important thing you learned at Pearl?

    “Don't quit and don't give up.  Life is full of all sorts of obstacles and challenges. The lessons that I learned at Pearl High School have helped me to navigate those challenges.”




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