MACON, Ga. (AP) Two Lanier High School alumni are honoring their parents through $600,000 in college scholarships to local students.
Brothers John and Bob Anderson have created the Newton and Sara Anderson Scholarship for Excellence through the Community Foundation of Central Georgia.
Educators, community members and area high school students eligible for the scholarship gathered in the auditorium of Central High School for the announcement Tuesday.
Current ninth- through 12th-grade students in Bibb County public schools will be invited to apply for the award if they have a minimum 3.3 cumulative grade-point average and no out-of-school suspensions. Feb. 15 is the deadline for freshmen, sophomores and juniors to apply, and the deadline for seniors is March 15.
The applicants will be narrowed down, and the semifinalists will be interviewed, Community Foundation Director of Donor Services Julia Wood said.
About 60 students will be selected this spring to receive a total of $10,000 each for their first two years of college. Students must keep up their grades and stay on their best behavior to get that scholarship after they graduate high school.
Newton and Sara Anderson, who are no longer living, grew up during the Great Depression and were married in 1941 in Atlanta. Newton became a businessman after serving in World War II, and the couple's sons were born and raised in Macon.
John graduated from Lanier, now Central High School, in 1963 and was the first in the family to go to college. He's a retired businessman who lives in Jacksonville, Florida. Bob graduated from high school in 1967 and is now a pastor in Clemson, S.C.
The brothers wanted to do something that was true to their parents' values and dedication to helping youths.
"(Our parents) taught us about integrity. They taught us about the unquestioning importance of character,'' John Anderson said. "They never missed an opportunity when they saw a young person especially a young person who might need a little help to reach out and give that person help.
"Neither of our parents went to college, so education for them was unusually special.''
Lanier High School launched John and Bob Anderson into adulthood and helped form the foundation for the rest of their lives, John said.
By starting with ninth-graders, the scholarship aims to combat the dropout rate and aid the district's initiatives to improve schools. There's nothing more important to young people than to continue their education, Bob Anderson said. The hope is that others in Middle Georgia will follow their example with similar initiatives to help students.
The scholarship will be a tool for the faculty and staff of the Bibb County school system to encourage and motivate students, Superintendent Curtis Jones said. Central High School principal Emanuel Frazier said it's a wonderful opportunity that teens should take advantage of to boost their future. But they'll have to continue to demonstrate their strength of character.
"This is something that is monumental for our district, because what it is showing is that people are investing in you,'' Frazier told students during the assembly. "They're investing in our schools. They're investing in your future. You made it thus far to be eligible for applying for this scholarship, but be sure that you do the things that are necessary to stay eligible.''
Information from: The Macon Telegraph, http://www.macontelegraph.com