Among the reasons Columbus area leaders gathered Monday on the Frank K. Martin Pedestrian Bridge was to announce the winners of scholarships they hope will be investments that produce the region’s next generation of community and business leaders.
Along with other projects this past year, the partnership of 23 local organizations called Together 2016 funded $2,000 college scholarships for five high school seniors. The winners are Cierra Nell of Jordan Vocational High School, David Pharis of Columbus High School, Haley Rice of Russell County High School, Alana Robinson of Carver High School and Sydney Weisenburger of Harris County High School.
The selection committee received 78 applications, said Together 2016 project manager Marquette McKnight, president of Media, Marketing and More.
“We were beyond impressed with the quality of these applicants,” she said. “… All the students were academically superior with impressive grade-point averages. They were actively engaged in leadership positions in their schools, their churches, their communities and their neighborhoods. When they saw a challenge or an opportunity, they didn’t stand around waiting for someone else to fix it. They charged in and figured out how to make it better.”
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McKnight called the scholarships “a very visible investment in the future of our region.”
She told the winners, “We are grateful that our community has young leaders like all of you, and we are eager for you to get to college. Go off, see the big city, the bright lights, and then come back and make Columbus and Phenix City and Fort Benning an even better place to live. We look forward to y’all taking on the reins for the next generation.”
The scholarship selection committee members were Tana McHale of Pratt & Whitney, Jody Pollard of TSYS, David White of Troy University-Phenix City, Jane Nichols of Goodwill Industries, Cassie Myers of The Pezold Companies and John Lester of Columbus State University.
Monday’s gathering also celebrated the Together 2016 completion of the $140,000 worth of enhancements to the bridge and the launching of the Together 2017 campaign.
Other projects totaling $70,000 and previously announced in the Together 2016 campaign are:
▪ More than 55 Little Free Libraries in neighborhoods.
▪ 17 markers for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Learning Trail.
▪ 22 Please Be Seated Benches in neighborhoods.
“The Together campaign is a collaborative initiative that brings together community partners to promote the region’s best assets and create new projects that help build a better region,” said Together 2016 and Together 2017 chairman Rodney Mahone, president and publisher of the Ledger-Enquirer. “The partners, which include businesses and organizations that are deeply involved in making our entire region better, made a significant investment in the campaign. You’ve seen these partners sharing what makes our region a place of purpose in videos on Facebook, on our website and across multiple media and digital outlets and sites. We’ve been extraordinarily honored to be a part of this partnership to help promote our region and create an even greater sense of community.”
The Together 2016 partners were: Aflac; Columbus Bank and Trust/Synovus; Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau; Columbus Regional Health; Columbus Regional Research Institute/IACT; Columbus State University; Columbus Water Works; Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley; Georgia Power; Goodwill of the Southern Rivers; Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce; Headquarter Nissan; Hughston Clinic; Ledger-Enquirer; Lockwood Partners; Media, Marketing and More; Naarjtie Multimedia; Pratt & Whitney; The Pezold Companies; The Wade Companies; Troy University; TSYS; and W.C. Bradley Co.
The Together 2017 partners are: Aflac; Columbus Regional Health; Columbus State University; Columbus Technical College; Georgia Power; Headquarter Nissan; Hughston Clinic; Knox Pest Control; Ledger-Enquirer; Media, Marketing and More; Naartjie Multimedia; Phenix City-Russell County Convention & Visitors Bureau; Pratt & Whitney; The Pezold Companies; Robinson, Grimes & Company; TSYS; and West Georgia Eye Care.
“These partners are a wonderful roundtable of leaders that care about our community,” Mahone said. “They want to see residents prosper and thrive, and they are passionate about making a difference. These are companies, CEOs and community leaders who think creatively, collaborate, undertake challenges, look for solutions and, most of all, they work together.”
For more information about the Together 2016 and Together 2017 campaigns, visit www.buildingabettercolumbus.com.