The winner of the 2017 Rockdale Coalition John K Morgan Community Service Scholarship is Ivy Gonzalez. Ivy is a senior at Heritage High School and is planning to pursue a degree in Biology from Georgia State University. Ivy’s volunteerism with organizations like Kate Caruso Light the Way’s Camp Kate, Walking Home Together, a non-profit animal shelter, and Do It for Jared Foundation, an organization in memory of a friend who lost his battle with sickle cell anemia, help her share her passion for helping others. The selection was made by a committee of 10 community volunteers.
This is the seventh year the Rockdale Coalition has offered the $4,000 scholarship for a student who has demonstrated outstanding community service in Rockdale County and plans to continue that level of commitment while pursuing post-secondary education. The scholarship is named for John K. Morgan, former president and chief executive officer of Acuity Brands Lighting and community advocate.
Since the inception of the John K. Morgan Scholarship, more than $39,500 has been awarded to deserving students in Conyers and Rockdale County. The other remaining finalists for the 2017 John K. Morgan Scholarship include: Jazz Duncan (Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology), Galilea Garcia (Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology), Laurel Holmes (Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology) and Jada Johnson (Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology).
Highlights of community service demonstrated by the other four finalists include:
- Jazz Duncan counts the Rockdale Autism Support Group’s iCan Shine Bike Camp, Jasmine House Foundation, Rockdale Juvenile Court/Teen Court and the Drug Free Community Coalition as her most meaningful areas of service.
- Galilea Garcia cites her involvement with St. Pius Catholic Church’s Lifeteen Program, serving in a leadership role at the Jovenes En Cristo (Teens in Christ) youth retreat, being a peer mentor at the Magnet School and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta VolunTEEN program volunteer as motivation for community service.
- Laurel Holmes is a lifelong Girl Scout, is passionate about serving the special needs community and, seeing a need, created her own service organization, Women on the Way to Success (WOWS), for young women at her school.
- Jada Johnson’s involvement in Beta Club, the serving the Emmanuel Community Church food pantry and as an AWANA youth leader keep her schedule busy and fulfill her desire to give back.
The scholarship winner was announced at the Rockdale Coalition for Children and Families Annual Awards Reception at the Rockdale Career Academy at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, March 24. The event included food catered by students in the Rockdale Career Academy culinary arts program and recognition of the scholarship finalists.
The 2017 recipient of the F. William Hughey Community Service Award was presented to Levette Thompson. The award is presented annually to a person who has demonstrated outstanding community service in Rockdale County. Mrs. Thompson has been a long-time resident of Rockdale County. Her volunteer efforts include organizing and supervising neighborhood cleanup projects for the Fieldstone View/Country Walk neighborhoods, mentoring youth and developing a plan to help her neighborhood deal with drug trafficking. Mrs. Thompson was instrumental in assisting Rockdale County secure a $700,000 federal grant to revitalize her community. A $500 cash donation will be given to the local community service organization of Ms. Thompson’s choice.