Application Period Underway for Gaylon Lawrence Scholarship

Thursday, March 14, 2013
Members of the Piggott Community Sharing Hearts board of directors include, from left: Front--President Barbara Batey, Vice President Gerald Morris, Secretary-Treasurer Mona Scott and board member Paula O. Blackwell. Back--board members Jim Poole, Gary Howell, Kelli Malin, Faith Conley and Cary Wilson. Not pictured was Paula Benbrook.

The application period is now open for Piggott High School students set to graduate this spring, for the Gaylon Lawrence Memorial Scholarships. The scholarships are offered in memory of the late owner of Piggott State Bank, Pollard native Gaylon Lawrence. They were established from funds donated following Lawrence's death last year, and are being dispersed by the board of directors of Piggott Community Sharing Hearts, Inc.

"Unlike most memorial scholarships, the Gaylon Lawrence Memorial Scholarship is continual for eight semesters of college," noted board president Barbara Batey. "Scholarship recipients will receive $1,000 per semester for eight consecutive semesters--that's a total investment of $8,000 per recipient toward their education."

Two graduates from the Piggott High School class of 2013 will be the first students to be awarded this scholarship. Those interested must complete a general application form, along with a 300 word essay describing their educational goals, career interests, professional aspirations and how they intend to meet those goals.

Board members will be judging the applicants on several criteria including character, community involvement, leadership experience, grade point averages and overall academic achievements. Applications are available by contacting board member Faith Conley at Piggott High School. The deadline for applying is April 15, 2013.

Afterward, board members will review all applications, and determine the recipients.

"Recipients will be required to meet certain criteria throughout the life of the scholarship," Batey added. "Including maintaining status as a full-time student with 12 hours per semester, meeting certain GPA requirements and completing all eight semesters with no breaks unless due to unforeseen circumstances."

Board members decided to allow a minimal GPA requirement of 2.5 for the first two semesters, as an introductory period for the student to acclimate to college curriculums. But, during the third through eighth semesters a minimal GPA of 3.0 is required. Students receiving the scholarships will also be responsible for providing transcripts to the board of directors to continue to receive funds each semester.

Piggott Community Sharing Hearts, Inc. was established as a non-profit organization late last year with the sole purpose of assisting students at all levels within the Piggott School District. The board of directors meets periodically in an effort to identify the needs of students, and to work diligently to meet those needs. Board officers include Batey, Vice President Gerald Morris and Secretary-Treasurer Mona Scott. The remaining members include Paula O. Blackwell, Gary Howell, Faith Conley, Paula Benbrook, Kelli Scott-Malin, Jim Poole and Cary Wilson.

The organization was established by way of a $25,000 donation by Piggott State Bank, and has benefited from various donations in the months since. These funds, although separate from the memorial scholarship, are also dispersed by the board on an as-needed basis. In the past weeks funds have been used to pay for the repair of a band instrument not covered by insurance, and $500 was given to Piggott Schools to be used to purchase winter hats, coats and scarves for students in need.

"We do accept and encourage donations, and will send a card to acknowledge memorial donations," Batey noted. "We also encourage former students to give a little back by taking up donations at their class reunions and giving to Sharing Hearts--of if they'd like to start a scholarship fund in the name of their class we can take care of it and give them the credit."

Recent memorial donations included $500 by Mayor Gerald Morris, in memory of Mitzi Morris and June Morris; and a $100 donation from Gary and Sally Howell. The PHS Class of 1960 also made donations of $25 each in memory of class members Charles James and John R. Lingle.

Those wanting more information may contact any board member, or call Piggott State Bank at 598-3802. The organization also has a Facebook page, and that may be found at

Board members are also interested in hearing ideas of how the funds raised may be used to best serve the needs within the local school district.

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