Students recognized at Awards Day

By Connie Nolen / Community Columnist

Watching Pelham High School’s Awards Day 2019, I realize that I’ve lost count of the number of Awards Days that I’ve witnessed. As hard-working students win scholarships, the audience also discerns the colleges students will be attending—and the next chapter of these students’ lives takes shape before us.

The University of Montevallo rep announces that Jennyfer Aguilar is the winner of the Class of 1962 scholarship—and I wonder what that scholarship entails. The University of North Alabama’s rep announces that Anna Carden wins both the UNA Academic Honors and Housing Scholarship and I remember the joy in the message Carden sent me sharing the news a few weeks earlier.

The University of South Alabama and the University of Alabama rep announce many scholarships and UAB delivers scholarships to a huge crowd. Memorial scholarships follow.

Scott Bailey’s parents step up to the podium to present a scholarship in Scott’s memory—the first one after Scott’s passing last year. I marvel at their strength. The Tyler Plemons Scholarship is awarded along with the Adam Marcus Marmurek Memorial Scholarship.

After what seems like hours, Kaylie Rastegar is announced as the Bobbye Gray Mobley Scholarship winner. Rastegar has had her sites on the Bobbye Gray Mobley Scholarship since last year when she was a junior in my last Competitive Writing/Scholarship Searchers class.

Sharing with students that memorial scholarships are meant to carry the names of those they represent into the future, I’ve always explained that application for memorial scholarships should be made with that consideration in mind. A serious student, Kaylie Rastegar will carry Bobbye Gray Mobley’s name honorably into the future.

Bethany Warden, who is bound for the University of Alabama in Huntsville, is announced to have won over $161,000 in scholarships. Warden is both a reader and a writer. Those two skills have also made her an excellent tester—and the three skills combined have made her a scholarship winner.

Many of these students I’ve taught for four years—and I’ve taught their older siblings. Watching these students graduate will be hard. Anticipating their futures brings joy.