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Five area seniors earn MLK scholarships

Some of the ideals that were championed by Dr. Martin Luther King included equal education for all people and the ability of all people to be able to seek and live their dreams.

At the fourth annual MLK Unity Scholarship Celebration held Monday at the Demopolis Civic Center, five students were given a better chance to discover the doors that are opened by a good education by earning $500 scholarships to the college of their choice.

Receiving scholarships were seniors Jerelle Moss and Keyan Walker of Demopolis High School, Jaylen Finklea and David Pettway Jr. of Wilcox Central High School and George Baldwin Jr. of Marengo High School.

“We are trying to help the young men go to college,” said Martin, a computer teacher at Demopolis High School. “A lot of them need financial assistance. If we can help them with this scholarship financially, we know that this will be a spark for them to do great things and give them some initiative and enthusiasm to go and do great things in college.

“That was behind the dream of Dr. King in the 21st Century. (Senior boys) had to write essays on different topics regarding that dream. Several of them chose to write about what is happening right now in the 21st Century with Dr. King’s dream.”

The scholarship would take effect once the recipient enrolls into a post-secondary institution.

“I plan to go to the University of Alabama,” said Moss. “This means a lot. It takes a little of the stress off in seeking financial aid.”

“I’m going to Alabama A&M,” said Walker, who also sang at the ceremony. “I want to go into music education or something relating to education. This means a lot. When you work hard for something, something good can come of it. I’m thankful for getting this.”

“I plan to enroll at Alabama A&M,” said Baldwin, who said he would like to study mechanical engineering. “This will certainly help. It’s just a great opportunity for a young man to take.”

“I want to go to Troy University or the University of Alabama at Birmingham,” said Pettway, who said he would like to play professional basketball or get a career in business. “This means a lot. Along with other scholarships, this will help me get into school.”

The Rev. Fred D. Moore of Christian Chapel Baptist Church of Demopolis spoke to the audience about the importance of young men to “follow the ruts in the road” left by their elders. He spoke about learning how to drive a stick-shift pick-up truck with his grandfather.

“I was learning how to change the gears and put my foot on the clutch, and at the same time, I had to stay in the ruts,” he said. “Well, my first couple of tries, I messed up. I went from first gear, and when you shift into second, you pull it out and push up. The problem with second gear is that reverse is right up there, too. If you don’t go out and up, you’re going to hit reverse. I was able to put my foot on the clutch and stay in the ruts, but I put the truck in reverse.

“My grandfather blessed me kind of hard, because when I up in the wrong gear, I was also going off the road; I was getting out of the ruts. But, as soon as he blessed me, I got in the right gear, I stayed in the ruts, and I’m a good driver now.

“If we’re going to help these young boys to be men, we’ve got to make good ruts,” he said. “We’ve got to train well these young boys and teach them how to stay in the ruts that we’ve already created for them so that they can be good men, good citizens.”

Dr. Martin Luther King was known for sharing his dream for a better America. Through these scholarships presented in his name, our young students can get a better education and improve on that dream for the next generation.