Gospel Tabernacle awards scholarship to local studentsPublished 10:07pm Thursday, August 8, 2013
With the ever-increasing costs of higher education the Gospel Tabernacle Church, pastored by John Grayson, has sought out ways to assist young people who desire to attend college.
Fifteen students, four recent high school graduates and 11 who already attend college were recognized Wednesday at the second annual Frances Nelson Scholarship Fund and Academics Awards Banquet.
“Tonight we plan to recognize the applicants and once we tally our resources we’ll make the announcement to the students,” said banquet chairperson Ghytana Goings. “Hopefully before they go back to school near the end of the month.”
Goings is on the scholarship committee and said to be considered for the scholarship, students must fill out an application, submit their transcripts, a copy of their diploma and complete a short essay outlining their accomplishments, leadership and volunteer activities as well as where they see themselves and how they plan to contribute to the community in the future.
Once totaled, the funds will be split between the 15 applicants.
“What we tend to do, because first year students tend to have the most expenses, is give the first year students a little bit more than the continuing students,” Goings said, noting the committee is hoping to give those first year students $500 each.
As the banquet began, Goings explained the scholarship fund began 12 years ago as a vision from Grayson.
“Initially the church was smaller and it was just one or two kids going off to college,” she said, noting $50 went a long way 12 years ago. “The former church mother (Frances Nelson), even being on a fixed income she would find ways to give students $5 or $10 here and there.”
Inspired by Nelson’s generosity and desire to see students succeed, Grayson established a fund to help students with their college expenses.
“Education is one thing that can really make a difference in our young people’s lives. Many people we talk about the disadvantages, and we do have a lot of disadvantages in our very community, but when you have education that gives you the tool and the abilities to overcome many, many things that would normally hold you back,” Grayson said. “Let’s bless and help motivate young people. Let’s help them achieve their dreams, amen.”
The event hosted Greg Calhoun, president and CEO of Calhoun Enterprises, as the guest speaker. Other noted guests included Selma City Council members and Selma Mayor George Evans.
Evans said he was thrilled to join in the chorus of accolades from the members and friends of Gospel Tabernacle Church for the scholarship awards banquet.
“We are honored to have Gospel Tabernacle, the church that’s changing a city one community at a time by touching one family at a time in the city of Selma,” Evans said. “Your commitment to enhancing the quality of life for others sets an example of service before self. As a result, you have earned the respect, love and friendship of the citizens of Selma.”
What started as church scholarship fund soon spread throughout the community. Goings said, noting that until last year, the funds were contributed solely from funds from the church.
Anyone is eligible to apply for the Frances Nelson Scholarship, not just members of Gospel Tabernacle Church of God in Christ.