OPINION | EDITORIAL: 18 get scholarships at annual Pine Bluff event

This thing just keeps growing.

The scholarships used to be $500. Now they're a thousand. Last year, 14 students got them. This year it's 18.

The "thing" we are referring to is the annual event put on by the Delta Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity along with the Southeast Arkansas Jewel Foundation that was held at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

As 650 members of the community watched, three community members were honored:

Marshall Kelley -- Kelley is the owner, manager and operator of Brown Funeral Home and Mortuary Service.

Lee Jewell Randle -- Randle is the founder of L.J. Randle Construction Co. Randle is from Taylor.

Barbara A. Dunn -- Dunn is the executive director of Institutional Advancement at Southeast Arkansas College, where she oversees community relationships, business partnerships, fundraising efforts, special events and the Southeast Arkansas College Foundation Board.

These three have made a difference in the world and are still making it.

And then there was the exciting part of watching the 18 young people walk up to the stage to get their scholarships -- exciting because you just know how thrilled they are.

Nursing, animal science, social work, industrial engineering -- you name it -- the students are headed to college with a purpose and a plan to gain degrees in a variety of fields, and you have to believe they too will leave their marks on the world.

As the organizations said: "Looking ahead to the future, the seeds that were planted on this night will undoubtedly reap a harvest for many years to come. As we celebrate the 2024 Legacy Scholarship awardees and Alpha Jewel Foundation Scholarship recipients, we witness the community's unwavering commitment to nurturing and empowering the next generation of leaders. The evening served as a testament to the unity and generosity of the Pine Bluff community, showcasing how collective efforts can uplift and inspire individuals to reach their full potential. As we reflect on the success of this event, it is clear that the impact of these scholarships will resonate for years to come, paving the way for a brighter and more promising future for all those who benefit from them."

Events such as these are important for Pine Bluff. They establish what is valued, what is to be held on high for both the established members of society and those just getting started. Thank you to the organizers for once again making such a grand statement. May you give out 25 scholarships next year!

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