Students and their families had the opportunity to meet their scholarship donors and learn the meaning behind the scholarships they received this year. Nine students received scholarships and eight students renewed their scholarship based on GPA requirements to maintain their scholarship.
Scholarship Committee Chair Jack Swift said, “It is exciting to be a part of helping students further their education. This financial assistance is possible through the generous donors who have created their scholarship funds to share their legacies of higher education.”
Donors establish scholarship funds through the Community Foundation to assist students in their academic achievements. Each donor has a reason for establishing a fund, whether to memorialize a loved one, to recognize the value of his or her own education or to encourage students to identify their talents and succeed in life.
Susan Williamson, vice president of the Community Foundation, started volunteering at the foundation in 2000. She created the Mary Katherine “Katy” Williamson Memorial Scholarship in 2005 when she lost her 20-year-old daughter in an accident on their family farm.
“We wanted to take a tragedy and turn it into good for forever and to remember Katy,” Williamson said. “You ask yourself, ‘Now what?’ The now what is to continue her legacy. We have done that through the students.”
Jillian Bridges, a nursing major at University of Alabama at Birmingham, maintained a 4.0 GPA her freshman year of college and renewed her “Katy” scholarship at the reception.
“Receiving the scholarship has allowed me to focus on academics and community service,” Bridges said.
Williamson said the Community Foundation will continue to support Bridges until she finishes her nursing degree.
Desmond Curry said he will be able to attend Snead State Community College in the fall and major in accounting because of his Harry M. & Edel Y. Ayers Scholarship.
“It means a lot. I’m very thankful this opportunity,” Curry said.
Jennifer Maddox, president and CEO of the Community Foundation, said the donors have held fundraisers and made sacrifices to change the trajectory of students’ lives.
“I ask you to keep in touch with your donor, the Community Foundation, and do more than the minimum to keep your scholarship,” she said. “Give back to your community. I thank you for all that you’ve done and will do.”