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Scholarship helps Cleburne students to college across the state line

Atalie Estes

Atalie Estes and her daughter, Alma. Estes was the first to receive the MacGregor Flanders/Cleburne County Scholarship Endowment after it had been renamed. Estes is from Ranburne and graduated from University of West Georgia in May and is now a fourth grade teacher at Sharp Creek Elementary School near Carrollton, Ga.

HEFLIN — A partnership between a University of West Georgia supporter and the Cleburne County School Foundation has increased the amount of a scholarship available for Cleburne County residents.

The MacGregor Flanders Scholarship Endowment has been awarding scholarships since the 1970s, but a former UWG student is the first recipient since the addition of funds from the Cleburne County School Foundation and the renaming of the endowment, according to a press release from UWG. 

Now called the MacGregor Flanders/Cleburne County Scholarship Endowment, this bequest is targeted to support individuals in Cleburne County, students or residents.

Elizabeth Flanders established the scholarship in 1976 in memory of her late husband, MacGregor “Mac” Flanders. Now, nearly a half-century later, the couple’s son, MacGregor “Greg” Flanders Jr., oversees the scholarship.

On Friday Flanders said the scholarship is not a gift but an investment in students’ futures.

“I think it’s critically important that we invest in our youth because they are our future,” said Flanders.

“The award will be made in perpetuity by the University of West Georgia so hopefully this goes on long after all of us are gone,” Flanders said. 

“Mac” Flanders was a charter member of what was then called the West Georgia College Foundation, now the UWG Foundation. While at Amherst College in Massachusetts — where he had the famed poet Robert Frost as an English composition teacher — Flanders learned the importance of higher education, according to the press release.

The renamed endowment’s first beneficiary was Atalie Estes from Ranburne who majored in childhood education at UWG. Estes, who graduated in May, is now a fourth-grade teacher at Sharp Creek Elementary School near Carrollton, Ga. 

Estes said on Friday that the scholarship helped “a lot.”

 “I am a single mother. I also got Pell Grants, but they didn’t pay for the whole semester. I realized when I received the scholarship they had given me, I had enough money to pay for my semester,” Estes said.

Estes said her sister, Anna Butrill, was the 2020-2021 recipient of the scholarship. Butrill is pursuing a master’s degree in education at UWG and is a first-grade teacher at Bowdon Elementary School in Georgia. 

Flanders is pleased the scholarship helps people and he wants to let guidance counselors in Cleburne County know that the scholarship is available.

“I’m proud it represents dad and his accomplishments,” Flanders said.

​Staff writer Bill Wilson: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @bwilson_star.