OLJ Foundation awards scholarships to 11 Shelby County students

Published 12:12 pm Tuesday, July 18, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – The Ora L. Jones Memorial Foundation has awarded $11,000 in scholarships to deserving students in Shelby County and Jefferson County.

After successfully raising $11,000 during its annual 5K walk/run, the OLJ Foundation awarded the funds to nine students in Shelby County.

“Each year, we honor our mother’s memory by donating scholarships to deserving high school students,” said Mike Jones, an Ora L. Jones Memorial Foundation board member.

The Ora L. Jones Memorial Foundation’s Board of Directors are comprised of members of Ora L. Jones’ family.

“During her life, our mother demonstrated a commitment to the community through acts of service,” Jones said. “Throughout her life, she was a champion for children throughout the community.  She was employed at the University of Montevallo where she touched the lives of many students. She was also the First Lady of Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Wilton, Alabama for 36 years and the former president of the Lillie Star District Association.”

The funds for student scholarships were raised through the OLJ Memorial 5K Walk/Run that took place on May 6 at Montevallo’s Orr Park.

“It was a great turnout,” Jones said. “We had people from various communities come out there to Orr Park, and thankfully, it was a lovely day, weather wise.”

Jones shared that the organization’s goal was initially to give out ten scholarships this year, but it was able to give out 11.

“It is an absolute joy to see people participate in the OLJ 5k and donate to the OLJ foundation,” Jones said. “To see people from various cultures and backgrounds coming together in the community for a common cause is what she was all about. It is a great tribute to our mom to have numerous students supported with scholarships because she didn’t have the opportunity to go to college.”

The following students receiving a scholarship from the Ora L. Jones  Memorial Foundation:

  • Addison Carden – Shelby County High School
  • Maya Garrett – Shelby County High School
  • Hannah Locks – Montevallo High School
  • Dawson Miskelly – Shelby County High School
  • August Ragland – Helena High School
  • Kenneth Law – Hoover High School
  • Fiona Selle – Spain Park High School
  • Justin McKnight – Thompson High School
  • Averi Smith – Pelham High School
  • Aaliyah Daniels – Ramsey High School
  • Shyona White – Wenonah High School

The winning students are determined through an essay.

“A key component of the scholarship is an essay,” Jones said. “With the essay, we ask the students to talk about how they plan to give back to the community.”

This year, the foundation had one of its largest submissions of applications yet for the scholarships with more than 30 applicants applying.

“We really believe that this was one of our strongest groups from top to bottom,” Jones said.

In addition to the OLJ Memorial Scholarship, the foundation also supported the annual Montevallo High School Alumni Community Scholarship which was awarded to MHS senior Jamal Henderson in the amount of $1,000.

Those who wish to learn more about the Ora L. Jones Memorial Foundation may visit its website at Orajonesfoundation.org.