“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.” That quote, by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., inspired the spirit of a Newton County scholarship given in King’s name and about to celebrate its 25th anniversary.
Members of the community are planning a commemoration of the anniversary of the Newton County Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship, which is open to all Newton County students. The scholarship is awarded each year to one student going to Oxford College of Emory University, and is given based on academic achievement, financial need, leadership and community service, according to the college.
“We’re looking for something special to do for the 25 year mark,” said Gail Reid, a past recipient of the scholarship. “We’re trying to gather as many scholars as possible.”
Two of the more recent recipients, Oxford College sophomore Ralston Medouze and recent Emory graduate Christina Bishop, said the award made a crucial difference in their education.
“It meant a lot,” said Medouze, who is studying international relations. “Emory was my top choice, and I love Oxford as a school. I wouldn’t have been able to afford Emory, or it would have been tough.”
Sonya Tinsley-Hook was the first recipient of the scholarship. “I felt it was an extreme honor to receive a scholarship in Dr. King’s name,” she said.
The scholarship, presented by Oxford College and Newton County, is a four year scholarship, covering two years at Oxford and two years at Emory. To be eligible, candidates must submit their applications to Oxford College by Jan. 15 and their financial aid and scholarship applications by March 1.
This year the college and King holiday planning committee are hosting a leadership workshop for Newton County high school students on Jan. 28 on the Oxford campus. The workshop will focus on identifying personal strengths and discussing how they can be used to serve the community and contribute to academic success.
Aside from recognizing past scholarship recipients, the group's holiday observance next month will include presenting its I Have a Dream Award and its Trailblazer Award. The group is still taking recommendations for those awards, and the names of nominees can be sent to Josephine Brown at P.O. Box 185, Covington, GA, 30015.
The I Have a Dream Award recognizes a member of any worship center in the county who has given at least two years of service to the community, fostered and supported education and visibly contributed to the community.
The Trailblazer Award recognizes a resident who has created change in the community and fosted a cohesive spirit of peace, unity, diversity and love.
Previous scholarship awardees include Tinsley-Hook, Reid, Bishop, Medouze, Dee Bostick Sneed, Michelle Slack, Clare Wilson Beam, Cassandra Brooks, Adrienne Smith, Tiffany Mattice Kinnaird, Marsha Grace Jackson, Monica Slack, Patricia Owens, Robin Horton, Rayanna Yarber, Lora Wiley Petersheim, Garrett Jones, Maura Klein, Brittany Mayo, Meghann Timmins and Elizabeth Dobbs.