Boost the Boro, Inc. (BTB), a local non-profit organization that likes to “give a boost, a hand-up, a hand-out, and a helping hand around to the community,” established a scholarship record this year. The 2023 Scholarship Winners Celebration was held on Tuesday, June 6, at New Light Church’s Connection Building in downtown Bladenboro by BTB members.
During the celebration, Sunday Allen, a BTB member and local teacher, announced that this year, BTB will set a new record in terms of the number of scholarships awarded to local children.
Allen added that the club established the scholarship opportunity in 2018 to assist kids from the community who were heading off to college to achieve great things. Cierra Byrd, a West Bladen High School alumnus, was the inaugural recipient. In 2019, the club quadrupled the number of scholarships awarded.
“We were excited. We were thrilled to be able to give back to the community,” Allen said.
Alana King and Haley Hester of West Bladen got $500 scholarships in 2019, and Kailey Gause and Kasee Singletary received the scholarships in 2020. Allen said that they all went to college and are doing well.
Cara Beth Lewis got the BTB award in 2021; according to Allen, she used the scholarship for study and is now a Bladenboro businesswoman.
Allen went on to say, “In 2022, we gave three $750 scholarships.” Kayla Norris, a graduation recipient, attended the scholarship ceremony. The other two scholarship recipients from 2022 were Hannah Hester and Abigail Mclaughlin.
“This year, Allen exclaimed, “We are hitting it big! We are able this year to give three $1000 scholarships from Boost the Boro and two $1000 (renewable for one) scholarships from the Juanita Stanley family.”
The BTB scholarship winners this year are:
Ricardo Gutierrez, Jr. from Bladen Early College High School
Wadeyn Norris from West Bladen High School
Catherin Dowless from West Bladen High School
Allen told the scholarship winners, “I think that all three of your applications gave us an indication that, yes, giving back is part of who you are, so we thank you!”
Before the following scholarship winners were announced, Allen took a moment to explain Ms. Juanita Stanley’s impact on the community and her church and how the scholarships were formed in Ms. Stanley’s honor by her family for students who wanted to study music or medicine.
West Bladen High School juniors Maycee Bullard and Rylee Chadwick are this year’s Juanita Stanley Scholarship recipients. According to Allen, if the children maintain their grades and perform well, they will be awarded another $1000 scholarship the following year.
Each graduate spoke on their future educational objectives and expressed gratitude to the BTB members for their scholarship awards. Before leaving, the crowd shared light snacks and chats.