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Four area students get Byrd Scholarship

Four students from Dallas County have been awarded the Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship, a $1,500 scholarship that is renewable for three years.

Recipients for this year are Margaret Ingram of Dallas County High School, Jeriel Brown of Southside High School, Laura Talton of John T. Morgan Academy and Katherine Jackson of John T. Morgan Academy.

Principals nominated up to two students for the award, applications which then competed with other applications from the congressional district.

“[Principals are] going to nominate the two students they think are the strongest competition for the scholarship,” said Carolyn Townsend, scholarships and awards program coordinator for the Alabama Department of Education. “It’s a real honor for the students.”

Margaret Ingram is the Dallas County High School valedictorian with a GPA of 4.38. She will attend Judson College in the fall to major in pre-med and veterinary medicine and minor in music and equine facilitative mental health. She will move to Auburn University to receive her veterinary degree.

“It has a lot to do with community service and what kind of grades you make and awards that you’ve gotten,” Ingram said.

She was the drum major of the school band, president of Beta Club, member of National Honors Society and is an employee at Valley Creek Veterinary Hospital.

Jeriel Brown is one of two Southside High School valedictorians and has a GPA of 4.25. He will attend Marion Military Institute in the fall and plans to attend the University of Alabama to finish his undergraduate degree in criminal justice. He would like to attend law school at the University of Alabama.

“I’m very ambitious and goal oriented,” Brown said. “I set goals for myself, and I don’t settle for mediocrity.”

Brown was a member of the Student Government Association, National Honors Society, Leaders in Action and Selma-Dallas County Youth Leaders of Tomorrow.

“You’ve got to give back to the community because you wouldn’t be where you are without them,” Brown said.

Laura Talton is valedictorian at John T. Morgan Academy with a GPA of 4.0. She will attend Wake Forest University to major in English.

“It’s really humbling,” Talton said. “It’s nice to work for something and be rewarded.”

Talton was a member of the National Honors Society, president of the Student Government Association, Mu Alpha Theta, the Morgan tennis team, Selma-Dallas County Youth Leadership, a volunteer at the Selma-Dallas County Public Library and a volunteer with vacation Bible school.

Katie Jackson is salutatorian for Morgan Academy with a GPA of 4.0. She will attend The University of Alabama in the fall to major in international relations and minor in French and possibly Italian. It is her career goal to work for the United Nations.

She is the Girl of the Year for 2010, Dallas County Junior Miss for 2010, Miss Morgan for 2009, a member of National Honors Society, Mu Alpha Theta, a volunteer with the Special Olympics and a volunteer with the Red Cross.

“I’m so very proud of her,” said Mary Jackson, Katherine’s mother.

Katherine Jackson was unavailable for comments because she was on a vacation out of the country.

In Alabama, 113 students were selected for this year.

The Robert C. Byrd Scholarship is a national scholarship funded through the U.S. Department of Education.