Sarah Withem is our Lufkin High School scholarship recipient this year. What a lovely young woman…in body and spirit. Very friendly, warm and open. She laughed often, has a big, genuine smile and that reminded me of Lauren. We enjoyed getting to know her after pictures were made. She is active in her church and helps teach 2nd grade boys…she is brave…lol. She will be living on campus and plans to join the Baptist Student Union to make more friends and be with other Christian students. She will be working part-time to help pay for her schooling. She wants to be a Speech Language Pathologist.
After being notified of the scholarship Sarah wrote a really thoughtful thank you note to us. In it she said, “I feel very fortunate to have been chosen as the recipient of a scholarship that believes in love, action and faith. Those three words drive my life, and I admire this foundation for standing behind those concepts.” She took the initiative to look up Lauren, our foundation and learn about us. Wow…that says a lot about her character and her heart. I have no doubt we chose well this year. She is special and her parents should be proud of her…they have raised a lovely, young woman.
Met Cristina Williams our recipient for Lufkin High School 2017. We enjoyed getting to know Cristina during “picture time” before the awards ceremony. She is a very quite, respectful young lady…matter of fact I think we scared her with how talkative and loud we can be…but she got used to us peppering her with questions and our laughter. She is in the LHS band and plays the clarinet and is thinking of trying for the SFA Band. She is already a CNA and has plans to work her summers and then concentrate on school during the semesters. Her family has had some health issues and that has steered her toward her chosen path. She is going to start the Pre-Med program and major in Biology from there she wants to go to Baylor and become an Anesthesiologist. She then wants to come back to work in Lufkin and to also start a youth program to help keep kids on track to achieve their goals and dreams.
Here is part of her thank you note:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Bryan Alston,
It is an honor to receive the Lauren Alston Memorial Scholarship. Mr and Mrs Alston I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I understand how important this scholarship is and I promise that the name Lauren Alston will forever live with me, as I attend SFA, in this cruel yet beautiful world. I am glad you gave me the chance to achieve my goals. I thank you for lifting this financial burden that almost stopped me from pursuing my dreams. I thank you for putting your faith in me. It is good to know that there are good and kind people still left in the world.
So once again I thank you, Cristina Williams
Meet Elizabeth Foreman our 2016 Lufkin High School Scholarship Recipient. Elizabeth will be attending SFA this fall. She will be commuting the first year and is looking forward to joining and being active in the Baptist Student Union. She is majoring in Secondary Education and minor in Mathematics. She loves numbers and wants to teach High School math. From there she wants to take night and online classes to obtain a Master’s Degree in Education Leadership with the idea of becoming a Principal should the opportunity arise.
We have no doubt she will obtain her goals and go far in life. In her thank you note she said, “I have always striven for greater and to make an impact on people’s lives. I am going to work very hard these next few years so that I am able to eventually give back, as a teacher and possibly a scholarship to future students just like myself.”
Glen from LHS Alumni Association called me over a month ago. He had narrowed down our choice of recipients by the qualifications we had given him…he always does a great job. He told me “I know I have always given you girls to choose from but this year I have several great guys I want to tell you about.” I told him we didn’t care if they were male or female…we just wanted to help deserving youngsters. He said “I don’t know if you know this family or not but they go to our church…Jeff and Tracy Portwood and their son is John. He is active in the young group, he plays on the golf team, he was thinking about Pharmacy as his possible degree, he has a very good GPA and more good qualities.” I let him tell me all about John and when he finished I laughed…in a good way…and said, “We know the Portwoods very well, they are our friends, and Yes, John is a great young man.” I told him how much the Portwoods helped us after Lauren passed away and that the whole family were kind, helpful, generous people.
Glen went on the tell me about several girls and another young man. He said he was really impressed with him when he interviewed him. Yes, all students applying for Alumni Association scholarships are personally interviewed along with other criteria they have to meet. But on to the next young man. He told me how he was on the robotics team, the swim team, he was already a CNA but wanted to be a Nurse Practitioner, he worked at the Boys and Girls Club and more good qualities. He then told me his name was Thomas Powell.
After Glen told me about all the possible candidates, Bryan and I talked about them and chose the two young men. Scholarship Awards night was on May 12, 2015 and we got to visit with them and have our picture taken. We were talking with Thomas and asked who his parents were. He told us Gary and Suzy and Bryan and I just looked at each other and started laughing…they were our “old neighbors” from Brookhollow. We had not recognized Thomas, because he was 12 when we saw him last and we knew him as “TJ” not Thomas. Lauren had even babysat him, his twin and their little sister.
Wow…how fitting to have two quality young men…that Lauren personally knew…from families that are our friends and were “there for us” after Lauren passed away. We are so happy to award these young men the Lauren Alston Memorial Scholarship for Lufkin High School for 2015.
Bryan, Thomas Powell, John Portwood & Suzanne
This is Allie Massingill who is the Lufkin High School 2014 Scholarship Recipient. She plans on attending Angelina College for a few semesters and then transferring to Stephen F. Austin to finish her degree. Allie wants to be an early elementary school teacher and we wish her well in her college endeavors.
Bryan, Allie Massingill and Suzanne
Suzanne, Kim Chong, Bryan
On Monday night, May 6th, we got to meet Kim Chong who is the Lufkin High School 2013 scholarship recipient. We had a great visit with her while waiting to have our picture made. She is attending SFA and wants to be a nurse, like her Mom, or maybe something in hospital administration. She helps out in the Nurse’s Office at school and really enjoys that and helping people. She and Lauren had similar schooling, Kim attended a private catholic school until sixth grade and then moved into the public school, and Lauren attended a private christian school until eighth grade and then entered Lufkin High School. Kim talked about that challenging transition and then, because she knew how that felt, helping other “new” kids who looked lost and needed a friend….Lauren did the same thing.
We got to meet Kim’s parents, little brother and grandmother. They were all so friendly and appreciative of Kim receiving the scholarship. We told them some about Lauren and how the scholarships came about…wanting to help others as Lauren did and the fact she received scholarships from LHS and SFA. We asked Kim, as we do all recipients, to just please lend a helping hand to others along the way…and she said she sure would. We enjoyed our time with Kim and her family and wish them all the best in the years to come.