First Gaylon Lawrence Memorial Scholarships Awarded
During commencement exercises for Piggott High School Friday, May 17, the first Gaylon Lawrence Memorial Scholarships were awarded to two graduating seniors of the class of 2013. This year's recipients are Lakyn Fry and Collin Benbrook.
The scholarships were established in memory of the Pollard native, and longtime owner of Piggott State Bank, following his death last year. Through donations in Lawrence's memory, and an endowment from Piggott State Bank, the scholarships are financed through the non-profit organization Piggott Community Sharing Hearts, Inc. The organization's board of director's also oversees selection of the scholarship winners each spring.
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 President Barbara 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.
The Gaylon Lawrence Memorial Scholarship is a four-year renewable scholarship of $1,000 per semester, given to a PHS senior who "exhibits excellence in academics, leadership and character" according to the criteria. The scholarship is renewable with a requirement of a minimum 2.5 grade point average for freshmen and 3.0 thereafter, and the student must maintain at least 12 hours per semester.
The scholarship application also outlines the student's educational goals, career interests, professional aspirations and how they expect to meet those goals. The applicants are also required to provide a 300 word essay explaining why they feel they should receive the scholarship.
Lakyn Danielle Fry is the daughter of Benny and Susan Fry of Piggott She will be attending the University of Central Arkansas in the fall as she plans to major in pharmacy.
She was very active at PHS, serving as secretary, reporter and vice president of the FBLA chapter, and as District II reporter. She was also a member of Beta Club, and was in FCCLA where she served as chapter vice president and president and was a candidate for national office. Laykin was also active in Art Club, Spanish Club, Relay For Life and in her church youth group and other community efforts. She was also a Hall of Merit scholar and recognized on the A Honor Roll, earned the English award, Science award, sociology/psychology award, CCGMS award and competed at the state level in both FBLA and FCCLA. Along the way she earned a state championship in business presentation with the FBLA and is going to nationals.
Collin Benbrook is the son of Jeff and Paula Benbrook of Piggott. He will be attending the St. Louis College of Pharmacy and will also be majoring in pharmacy.
He enjoyed a substantial and successful career at Piggott High School and was the co-valedictorian of the class of 2013. Collin was also a member of the Beta Club, was a member of the FFA where he served as vice president, was a member of the Art Club, where he served as president, and he was recognized as a Hall of Merit scholar. Collin was also a standout athlete and was named All-Conference as a member of the Mohawk football team. He also received of the St. Louis College of Pharmacy's President's Scholarship.
Applications for the 2014 Gaylon Lawrence Memorial Scholarships will be available to seniors at PHS during the upcoming school year. The deadline for application will be in mid-April of 2014.
Those wanting more information may contact any board member, or call Piggott State Bank at 598-3802. The organization also has a Facebook page, which may be found at www.facebook.com/PiggottCommunitySharing.