ACCS names finalists in Alabama’s Future scholarship contest to mark System’s 50th anniversary

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- The Alabama Community College System (ACCS) has selected three finalists in the Alabama’s Future alumni scholarship contest launched late last year to mark the 50th anniversary of the System’s formation.

To capture inspiring success stories, the System created the Alabama’s Future web site, where students could share a written or video testimonial to describe how they benefited from an ACCS education. Nearly 30 students shared their real-life stories, making them eligible to compete in the contest and win a $5,000 scholarship in their name.

The three finalists were selected by a panel of five Alabama community college presidents, along with input from ACCS leadership. In the next phase of the contest, System leaders will select a winner with consideration given to input from the ACCS community on the System’s social media channels.

The contest winner will be honored with a $5,000 scholarship in the alumnus’ name to benefit an Alabama high school student who will begin attending one of the 26 ACCS colleges this year. The winner will be announced in March.

ACCS Chancellor Mark Heinrich said these testimonials and others on the Alabama’s Future web site illustrate how the System has helped students overcome daunting obstacles by putting them on a path to accomplishment in the classroom and in their careers.

“The legacy of the Alabama Community College System is on full display through these inspiring, real-life stories,” Heinrich said. “Throughout its history, the System has helped individuals defy long odds and get an education that transforms their lives, benefiting their families, their communities and the state.”

Here are the finalists in the scholarship contest (in alphabetical order):

  • Lawayne Orlando Childrey, Jefferson State Community College: Childrey overcame many problems, including drug addiction, the death of his mother and an HIV diagnosis, to obtain a degree from Jeff State. Today, he is an award-winning broadcaster for NPR. His testimonial can be found here.
  • Karen Jones, Trenholm State Technical College: Jones never expected to go to college and grew up in harsh circumstances. But she stopped by Trenholm one day and received the support and help she needed to succeed. She went on to get her associate’s degree and land a good job to help her family. Her testimonial can be viewed here.
  • Jonathan Sands, Northeast Alabama Community College: As a child, Sands didn’t receive a formal education. Later, he decided to pursue a GED from Northeast Alabama Community College in Rainsville and went onto to obtain an associate’s degree in psychology there. He is now working on a master’s degree. His testimonial can be found here.

The roots of ACCS date back to 1963, and the system’s institutions have since become a pathway to a university degree, filled a critical workforce development role and helped adults earn their high school equivalency credential.