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Lawrence scholarships top $1 million

By Kristen Bishop
kbishop@decaturdaily.com · 340-2443

MOULTON — Lawrence County High School’s seniors received more than $1 million in scholarship offers — nearly double the previous year’s amount.

Superintendent Dexter Rutherford credited guidance counselor Amy Martin’s dedication, students’ diligence and parents’ encouragement for the achievement.

“A million dollars is extremely impressive,” he said. “The counselors spearheaded that, and, of course, students have to take the initiative and parents have to challenge them. It’s a collaborative effort.”

Martin has been a counselor at Lawrence County High School for two years. Her first year, seniors were awarded between $500,000 and $600,000 in scholarship offers.

“This year, we just about doubled it,” she said. “The kids did a really good job. They were motivated and dedicated to applying. My part was just informing them about what’s available and the scholarship deadlines.”

About 85 percent of the school’s 107 seniors reported they planned to attend a two-year or four-year college after graduation.

Of those, 34 students received scholarships.

Most of the scholarships were from two-year colleges or universities, but many came from foundations or other private entities.

For example, Coca-Cola, the American Red Cross, the Alpha 45 Lodge, the Alabama Homebuilders and Joe Wheeler Electric Membership Co-op all presented scholarships to Lawrence County High students.

A lot of awards are based on test scores and grade-point averages, but some focus on assets like leadership abilities and community involvement.

The valedictorian, Peyton Harris, demonstrated skills across the board, said Martin.

The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa awarded Harris a $20,000 academic scholarship. He also won one of six Alabama Young Heroes awards, a scholarship given to students who have overcome major obstacles.

Though Harris was born with one functioning hand and one functioning leg, he was the football team’s place kicker and also plays golf, said Martin.

Good grades

But the power of good grades can’t be underestimated.

Salutatorian Megan Naylor was offered $52,000 from Birmingham Southern College but chose The University of Alabama at Birmingham when they offered her about $68,000.

And that old saying that hard work goes a long way? That definitely applies to winning scholarships, said Martin.

Shea Mason, a first-generation college student who was adopted by her grandparents at a young age, knew she had to have a scholarship to afford college, said Martin.

“She worked two jobs in high school while still maintaining a high GPA and playing sports,” she said. “She really wanted to go to (The University of) Alabama.”

So Mason applied for every available scholarship and “wrote essay after essay,” said Martin. In the end, her tuition for four years of college will be paid for in scholarship money.

The University of Alabama gave her a $6,400 academic scholarship and Coca-Cola gave her $20,000.

Need money for college?

To search for available scholarships across the nation, go to www.scholarships.com. The Lawrence County Board of Education also has information about Indian Program scholarships on its Web site, www.lawrenceal.org.

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