King scholarships give a boost to students

January 14, 2001

King scholarships give a boost to students


photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

MLK LuncheonAround 200 people gathered at the Martin Luther King Center for a banquet Sunday afternoon to honor the slain civil rights leader and raise money for an annual scholarship fund which bears his name.


Organizers Annette Conyers and Ruth Monroe said they started the Martin Luther King Scholarship Fund 15 years ago to help local college-bound high school seniors.

"We figured the youth needed help and incentive to further their education," Monroe said.

Conyers said their goal is to provide continuing scholarships to recipients that may need more financial help.

"We want to make it more than a one-time award," she said.

Last year the scholarship committee awarded three $500 scholarships to minority students from Washington County.

The amount of the scholarships depends on the money raised at the dinner and other contributions from individuals, businesses, churches and community groups, Monroe said.


Scholarship recipients must have a 2.5 grade point average, been in need of financial assistance, write an essay and have proof of school registration.

"Many have gone on to become very successful," said Conyers. She said some have continued on to graduate school and others have become teachers.

Hagerstown Community College student Venece Fowlkes, 18, received a $500 Martin Luther King scholarship last year, she said.

"It helped a lot," said Fowlkes, who performed a rap at the luncheon which detailed the civil rights movement.

The chemistry major was chosen for her good grades and winning attitude, said Monroe.

Fowlkes said she used the money for books, supplies and gas.

"It gave me a good cushion to land on," she said.

The scholarship fundraiser was called a "calendar luncheon," and tables were decorated for each month of the year. Attendees were served their meal by students from Hancock and youth participants of the Transitional Age Youth program, which is funded by the Mental Health Authority.

Following the meal, guest speaker Lynn Holcomb-Gober addressed the crowd.

Holcomb-Gober, who has a bachelor's of science degree and a master's degree in curriculum and teaching, serves as assistant principal at the Alternative Learning Center of Hagerstown

Speaking before a podium adorned with a picture of Martin Luther King Jr., Holcomb-Gober said when she thinks of the slain civil rights leader, his dynamic personality, love for the community and dream of equality come to mind.

She encouraged the parents in the audience to take an active part in their children's development by encouraging them, teaching them respect and their family history.

"Let them know about your struggles and your dreams," she said.

Parents are "children's first teachers," she said. It is up to the adults to expose children to other cultures and show them how to love themselves and value others, said Holcomb-Gober.

Holcomb-Gober said her resume may sound impressive but she gives a lot of credit to her parents, " I didn't get there by myself."

Parents need to be someone their children can look up to, she said.

"Be a role model, help children fulfill their dreams," she said.

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