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Marengo High graduate returns to award special scholarships

Looking to extend opportunities to her alma mater, Demopolis native Sherilyn Garner pooled her resources together in Birmingham, along with local donors, and awarded two scholarships worth $500 each to Class of 2017 Marengo High School graduates Kahlisha Pritchett and Reneisha McIntosh.

The “iAM #GARNEDed” scholarship was awarded by Garner at MHS graduation on May 19, 10 years after the Class of 2007, walked across the stage at the Dixon Mills school.

“It was important to me to start this scholarship for several reasons,” said Garner. “Ten years ago, I lacked a significant role model outside of family. I plan to use this as a way to mentor young adults about higher educational and life. It enables me to give back to my community and drives my passion in assisting others reach their goals. Minorities are limited in the PH discipline and students must express interest in PH to be eligible.”

After receiving her BS in Biology Comprehensive (Medical Track) from the University of West Alabama, she received her MPH in Health Care Organization and Policy from the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she is currently pursuing her doctorate degree in Public Health majoring in Health Education and Health Promotion.

“As a product of a rural environment in which education wasn’t always prioritized, I have developed a passion for Public Health and empowering high school graduates to pursue higher education,” said Garner. “There are a limited number of minorities who are interested in public health.”

With the scholarship being new, Garner was thrilled with the number of students who applied in the first year of the awarding.

“I was overjoyed to have four applicants apply for this year’s awards” said Garner. “I feel competent in my ability to empower high school seniors to pursue higher education. I feel blessed to know that the scholarship is considered a blessing to the students.”

As for the new graduates, McIntosh, a native of Sweet Water, plans to attend Concordia College in Selma to major in Nursing. Upon finishing, the daughter of Robert and Regina McIntosh plans to attend UWA to further her education in Nursing.

“This scholarship meant a lot to me, it really came in handy and I’m very honored to be awarded to be chosen to make this scholarship useful at Concordia College Alabama. It’s such a blessing,” said McIntosh.

Pritchett, daughter of Melvin and Tomika Pritchett, plans to attend Shelton State Community College to attain an Associates’ Degree in Nursing before moving on to UAB to earn a degree to be a Registered Neonatal Nurse. The Vineland native looks to then continue her education into getting a Master’s degree and attain national certification.

“Receiving this scholarship means that all of my hard work and dedication has paid off,” said Pritchett. “Thankfully, I have an extra source of funds to help go towards tuition, books, or other necessities needed for school. I am truly honored to have received this scholarship.”

“Both applicants demonstrated excellent academic performance, notable community service, and had stellar letter of recommendations that spoke highly on each student’s growth and ability to perform well. The applicants’ personal statements also reflected their motivation to pursue higher education and their efforts and dedication for their specific public health area,” said Garner. “Knowing that these students were rewarded the scholarships gives me great joy. This joy comes from knowing these young ladies share some of my same passions to create change and make an impact on others. Having growing up in a rural environment, I think both applicants have a great deal of resiliency that speak for itself when faced with obstacles along the way. I believe their next step of attending college is only small step along the way of the things they will excel in.”

Over the next few years, Garner hopes to award more scholarships and potentially have her label endowed.

For more information or details and how to be involve with the 2018 iAM #Garnered Scholarship program, contact Sherilyn Garner at sherilyngarner@gmail.com.

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, May 27, print edition of the Demopolis Times.)