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T.G. Howard present scholarships to PCHS

Rebecah Smith, Vice President of the T.G. Howard Community Center and Pulaski County Middle School Principal presents an oversized check to Pulaski County High School Principal Jennifer Bolling. The money will be used to fund four $500 scholarships, all of which are named after well-respected African Americans, who lived and worked in Pulaski County. From left: Pulaski County School Superintendent Kevin Siers, Pulaski County High School Principal Jennifer Bolling, VP of the T.G. Howard Community Center Rebecah Smith and school board member Paige Cash.

By WILLIAM PAINE

william.paine@southwesttimes.com

Representatives for the T.G. Howard Community Center came to Pulaski County High School this week to present a $2,000 check to PCHS Principal Jennifer Bolling, which will be used to fund four $500 scholarships.

Was Bolling expecting this?

“It wasn’t expected but it is genuinely an honor to be a part of seeing the community come in to serve our kids and help them move on to the next step of life once they leave high school,” Principal Bolling said.

The scholarships will be granted to four Pulaski County High School Seniors and will be selected on the basis of financial need and an essay, which will be part of the application.

Though the T.G. Howard Community Center is known for promoting African American causes, the recipients of these scholarships need not be African American.

The four scholarships are named in honor of four noteworthy African American individuals who lived and worked in Pulaski County.

They are Mary Montgomery, a nurse who established the first nursing home for poor elderly blacks in Pulaski, Thomas (Tommy) Brown who was the first black Police officer in Pulaski, Ellavester Howard, teacher and principal at New River Elementary School and wife of T.G. Howard, and Joseph Reed, the first black principal in Pulaski County after the end of segregation.

When the idea of presenting a check to the high school first came about, the T.G. Howard Center was set to give two scholarships worth $500 to the school system. But as mentioned, a $2,000 donation to PCPS will now be used to fund four scholarships.

“Right now we’re one of the only historically African American organizations to actually sponsor scholarships here at the high school and we were fortunate enough to have some money donated to us recently, which allows us to move some of our budget lines,” said Guy Smith, Executive Director of the T.G. Howard Community Center.”

“The Pulaski Police Department was able to give more than they were initially expecting to give, so we were able to then add two additional scholarships,” said Rebecah Smith, Vice President of the T.G. Howard Community Center and Principal of Pulaski County Middle School. “One of the scholarships recognizes Tommy Brown, who was one of the first African American police officers. So we wanted to do that in honor of him and the police department.”

The late Mary Montgomery was recently featured in the Looking Back section of The Southwest Times recently and her tireless efforts to provide a home for the elderly are well documented.

Ellavester Howard is best known for being the wife of the namesake of the T.G. Howard Community Center.

“You know behind a lot of good men are great women,” Smith said. “But Mrs. T.G. Howard was also an educator, so it made total sense to have a scholarship named after her.”

The library in the newly built Pulaski County Middle School was recently named for Joseph Reed, who was principal at both Northwood Elementary and Pulaski Middle School. He also served as interim principal at Pulaski County High School for a time. Reed had a significant impact on both Jennifer Bolling and Rebecah Smith.

“Mr. Joseph Reid was the individual who said, ‘Miss Bolling. I think you should be a teacher,’ and he hired me for my first teaching job,” said Bolling. “So, it’s an absolute honor to have that scholarship here at Pulaski County High School.”

“Joe Reid was actually one of my former principals,” Smith said. “He has known my husband’s family for years and he was well loved. He took educations seriously and he understood the power of public education. He’s definitely one of my inspirations for what I do today.”

The plan is for the T.G. Howard Community Center to bequeath these four scholarships to PCHS seniors on an annual basis. Those wanting to donate to this scholarship fund are welcome to make their payments to the T.G. Howard Community Center.

“We’ve got this year taken care of but our hope is that people, whether it’s $10 or $20, will continue to donate to our scholarship fund,” said Guy Smith.

“I’m hoping that students will take advantage of this and then I hope that we inspire other organizations in our community to do this for Pulaski County High School students to give them that leg up because it’s becoming expensive to go to post high school now … very expensive,” said Rebecah Smith. “We want to pay it forward.”

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