Meet Whitney Scott, our SFA recipient for they school year 2016-17. We were able to met Whitney at the beginning of the year because we went to the School of Human Sciences Honor Convocation on April 12th and presented her with the Lauren Alston Memorial Scholarship in person. The SFA Scholarship Star Alumni Reception is usually when we met our recipient and is held at the end of the school term. We were excited to get the opportunity to met Whitney at the beginning of her term. We met her and visited before the start of the program and then met her parents after the program and visited additionally as a group. When I saw her I quickly noticed her James Avery ring and commented on it. I told her about Lauren’s love for JA jewelry and showed her the pieces I wear everyday that were Lauren’s. She then pointed out her JA Texas shaped necklace that had SFA engraved on it. I told her part of why we chose her was because of her essay about living with dyslexia and what she had to do to get into SFA…her grades had to be improved. Her determination to attend SFA, after a visit with her sister who is a graduate student, impressed me and I wanted to reward her for her hard work. She said she is enjoys math and is great at it but her spelling is bad…she gets her letters messed up but not her numbers. We told her being able to balance her checkbook is an important skill in life…lol. Whitney asked me about Lauren and wanted to know more about her…that warmed my heart. She told me she was interested in being an event planner and wanted to know what Lauren had wanted to do…event planning. She and Lauren shared many things in common…love SFA…go Jacks, James Avery jewelry, Chinese food, event planning and both were super friendly and smiled a lot. We really enjoyed meeting Whitney and her parents, who came from Ft Worth…her Dad said there was a connection and that it felt like we had known them for years. We will see Whitney again when she works the Culinary Cafe next spring. Her thank you note said she would make us proud for honoring her with Lauren’s scholarship…I have no doubt she will do just that.
Last week we went to the School of Human Sciences Honors Convocation at SFA. We had the pleasure of meeting one of our two recipients for this school year. We were able to meet Mr. Brandon Chaddick. He was there to receive another memorial scholarship for this coming school year. We were able to visit with him after the ceremony. His parents were there and we “stole” him away for a little visiting and pictures. He was so happy to meet us as he hadn’t had the opportunity yet to meet any other of his donors for this past school year. He was such a humble and thankful young man. He smiled a lot and told us many times during our conversation how thankful and appreciative he was for receiving the Lauren Alston Memorial Scholarship. Brandon will be a Senior this coming year and will be working the Culinary Cafe this fall where we plan to catch up with him again during a dinner or lunch on campus. Lauren also participated in the Culinary Cafe class for a semester. If you ever have the opportunity to go you will be quite impressed. The students plan the menu, help cook, serve the meal and decorate the tables according to the theme of the meal. The food is always delish and visually appealing, the students do a fantastic job.
Below is just a few paragraphs from his last thank you letter dated Jan. 5, 2016.
“As I approached the Fall 2015 semester at SFA, I was a bit unsure of how I would be able to afford all of my classes for the semester, as I was placed with the formidable task of funding and completing 16 course hours. Fortunately, I was given the ability to afford my classes through scholarship funds donated by generous individuals such as yourselves. Thus, after receiving the scholarship, I made sure that the resources provided to me would not go to waste, I buckled down, studied hard, and for the first time in two semesters, received an “A” in all of my courses.
Overall, my experiences in my last semester proved to me that hard work pays off and can sometimes even be rewarded. It truly is the least that I can do, as the amount of money provided by your donation has been both substantial and vital to my continued education.
Once, again, I am genuinely humbled by having the Lauren Alston Memorial Scholarship bestowed upon me and I truly hope that I am continuing the make you proud of my achievements, which would be far more difficult to attain had I not been provided with financial assistance. From the bottom of my hear, I am truly thankful.” Sincerely, Brandon Chaddick
We have 2 exciting updates to tell you about.
First…we had $792 more in donations given to us in the last few weeks. We are so thankful because that means we can help more students with college scholarships or more young adults going a mission trip or more children with new backpacks or ???…the possibilities are numerous …to make a difference in someone’s life. Thank you for your help in continuing Lauren’s legacy of helping others.
Second…we have an update on one of our Lufkin High School recipients. Lauren Taylor Hancock graduated in 2011 and is attending Stephen F. Austin State University. She lives in Nacogdoches, is a senior and will be graduating in May of 2016. She was a Twirl-O-Jack for her first two years of college and she feels that helped her to stay connected and feel apart of something after high school. “College can be lonely and that time I had to be involved really helped shape who I am and the decisions I made about my future” she said. Her major is Family and Consumer Sciences with a focus in Hospitality, Nutrition and Food Science. Her minor is in Secondary Education. Her passion is to educate and teach students from middle school to high school to understand the science behind the food they eat and how to be a great cook. She is President of her student organization and they do events related to family and community such as Toy for Tots and Thanksgiving Home Bound food baskets. Lauren said “Thank you for the head start you gave me in college. Both of you are so generous for keeping the scholarship going in Lauren’s honor.”
Sunday, November 16th, 2014 was a bitter, cold day in Nacogdoches, Texas… but that didn’t stop them… they bravely faced the cold journey ahead… ready to start running so they could get warm. They had a purpose… a reason… and a goal. Some of the runners had different reasons for the race but they all had the same goal. Some of the reasons were… to challenge themselves… to get into better shape…to try a new sport… to finish the race. Their common goal was to raise funds for LAF.
Our friend Ragin contacted us about 2 months before with an idea to raise funds for LAF. There was a half marathon run scheduled for November in the Piney Woods of East Texas and he was gonna participate. Ragin is from this ‘neck of the woods’ but has been living in the Hill Country for a while… and was eager to run back home. Part of the race was to be run through the beautiful campus of SFA… and he thought of Lauren. He wanted to invite friends to join him and raise funds for LAF. Soooo… he gathered friends and they all gathered pledges… so much $$ per mile… or so much $$ for completing the race. They worked together to name the team… Peace, Love, LAF and to design t-shirts for the race. One ran the half marathon… that is 13.1 miles folks… and the others ran the 5K… 3.1 miles and that is a big feat for a new runner. They donned their t-shirts and even had some of the other runners ask the meaning behind the shirt. They also pointed to their shirts along they way to make sure the “official race photographer” got shots of their shirts. And of course as they passed other runners and spectators along the route…they too saw the logo and website address for LAF. In the days following the race we saw an increase in the number of visitors to our website. I’m proud of all these friends…old and new…for enduring the cold, wet conditions that day… for finishing the race!!!… for raising funds for scholarships… for helping us spread the word about LAF. Thank You Team Peace, Love, LAF you raised over $600.
Team Peace, Love, LAF
Half Marathon: Ragin Cornelius
5K’ers: Cecilia Cornelius, Russell Harvey, Jordan Johnson, Keith Johnson, Kevin Lambing and Eddie Pepper
Team Support: Sean Dupre’ and Paula Korn
We chose two recipients again this year for the Lauren Alston Memorial Scholarship in Hospitality. Adrianna Damani and Samantha Harris both impressed us with their heartfelt essays and excellent grades. Although they both sent eloquent thank you notes I wanted to share Samantha’ s note with everyone as she will be graduating in December.
August 22, 2014
Mr. and Mrs. Alston,
My name is Samantha Harris, and I am the grateful recipient of the Lauren Alston Scholarship. I am a Hospitality Administration major heading into my senior semester at Stephen F. Austin State University, from Ft Worth. After graduation in December, I plan on moving to Lewisville, Texas with my husband, and pursuing a career in event management.
2014 has been a year of ups and downs for me. In April, my husband and I decided to get married at the Fort Worth Medical Plaza ICU when my dad’s health took a serious decline, and we lost him shortly after. The loss I felt, and still feel, is indescribable. Afterwards, the thought of leaving my mom and sister behind to come back and finish school was almost depressing. I even considered transferring to a school closer to home, but I knew my dad would want me to come back and finish, especially so close to graduation. While growing up, my grandfather didn’t give my dad the support he needed to go to college expecting him to follow in his footsteps and take over the family air conditioning business. It was something my dad regretted immensely because it put up so many road blocks as he went through life. Because of this he always reiterated the importance of a college education, and that no matter what, he would make sure that we both had the ability to make a living and support ourselves.
Your support through this scholarship for my last semester is not only allowing me to fulfill my dream of a college degree, but also my dad’s dream for me. You have taken a weight off both my shoulders and my mom’s, and for that I am eternally grateful.
With great appreciation,
And Samantha that makes us happy also. We strive to reach out and help others as Lauren did. We give scholarships in her memory, to give back as she also received scholarships, to help others fulfill their dreams of a college degree like she was able to achieve and also so she isn’t forgotten. God bless you on your life’s journey and please lend someone else a hand along the way.
We were out-of-town in March when the SFA Scholarship Stars awards social was scheduled. So we asked Bryan’s parents to attend, in our place, and meet Mrs. Sophia Carbajal. Yes, she is a married student and our first one. I know how tough that can be because I also attended SFA while I was married. The Alston’s enjoyed getting to know her and expressed how friendly she was to them. She was about to graduate and was excited about what her future held.
This all probably seems a little backwards…but for SFA you pick the recipient at the beginning of the year and then get to meet them at the end of the year. The student gets money each semester so they send a note each time. Bellow is part of what she wrote in her January thank you note:
“Again I would truly like to thank you for your generous gifts. I am so thrilled to be beginning my last semester at SFA. I still have not made my final decision yet of what my plans are after college. I know that there are so many opportunities available in my field. I do plan to spend some time exploring those and maybe even go for my master’s degree.
I thank you for awarding me with your scholarship and for this chance to reach for the stars. But mostly for believing in me and fellow students like me. I hope that some day I can become an inspiration too and have the ability to help students who are looking to reach for their stars.”
Sophia has on her Hospitality chef’s coat, showing the Ax’em Jacks sign and is standing in front of a few of the plaques of endowed scholarships, one of which is Lauren’s. Sophia works in the Alumni Office, where the Wall of Honor is, and we plan to go meet her soon.
I would give ANYTHING
to hear her voice again
to hear her laughter
to get the excited phone call about her first “adult” job… after her college graduation
to hear the excitement in her voice as she told me… she had found “the One”
to go with her and watch her pick out… her perfect wedding dress
to see her proud dad walk her down the aisle
to hear her tell me… she is expecting her first child
to see that grandchild be born and her eyes shine… as she falls in love with that special gift
to see her grow into a beautiful, happy, loving, giving wife and mother
to hear her “fuss” about her 30th…40th…50th birthdays and beyond
to console her as her children leave the nest
I would give ANYTHING
for another day with her
to hold her
to hug her
to see her smile
to tell her how much I loved her
I would give ANYTHING and EVERYTHING
My beautiful friend, Tammy Miller, sent this to me on the first Mother’s Day without Lauren. Lauren used to baby sit Tammy and David’s children…and they were special friends and wonderful mentors to her. I am thankful they were in her life and still are in ours.
We are connected,
My child and I, by
An invisible cord
Not seen by the eye.
This cord does it’s work
Right from the start.
It binds us together
Attached to my heart.
I know that it’s there
Though no one can see
The invisible cord
From my child to me.
The strength of this cord
Is hard to describe.
It can’t be destroyed
It can’t be denied.
It’s stronger than any cord
Man could create
It withstands the test
Can hold any weight.
It pulls at my heart
I am bruised…I am sore,
But this cord is my lifeline
As never before.
I am thankful that God
Connects us this way
A mother and child
Death can’t take it away!