Fort Payne’s Patriot Park awards first scholarship
August 10, 2017 Share

Fort Payne’s Patriot Park awards first scholarship

PHOTO: DeKalb County Revenue Commissioner Tyler Wilkes with McKenzie Griggs, who was awarded the first scholarship from Fort Payne’s Patriot Park. McKenzie is attending Auburn University this fall. (Sarah Stahl | Contributed Photo)

Contributed By Sarah Stahl

FORT PAYNE, Ala. The Patriot Memorial Park board is proud to announce its first Scholarship recipient, McKenzie Griggs. In a continued effort to bolster community involvement the board unanimously decided to kick off their annual scholarship program during the 2016/17 school year and will present the winner with a $1000 scholarship on Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at 10:00 am.

As a non-profit dedicated to preserving and highlighting local hero’s historical service to DeKalb County, the scholarship opened with a question applicable to our local Police Force. Applicants were then asked to give an earnest opinion on an issue that is currently plaguing our nation.

“How would you stop the violence police officers are currently facing?”

Several seniors from around the county responded with thought provoking replies. The board was humbled and grateful for their bravery in sharing their opinions in a very respectful manor. In the end, the board could only chose one awardee and the votes went to McKenzie Griggs’ submission.

The board was ultimately won over by her very realistic three-pronged approach that involved a vision for the entire community.

“I believe education, improving community relations, and better communication are exceptional ways to reduce (police) violence.” – M. Griggs

McKenzie’s message was not only heard loud and clear but deeply resonated with board members, who are made up of respected leaders and first responders from DeKalb County. Her point stands to reason, we can’t make changes like this as a stand-alone entity it requires a community willingness to come together for the betterment of the whole.

McKenzie wrapped up her response to this year’s question with a quote that every community member is encouraged to consider. “We need to stop disrespecting and rioting against our officers. We need to stand alongside them and give them the support they need.” –Katie Beegle, Odyssey

The board’s sincerest gratitude goes out to community members who helped get the word out about the scholarship during the 2016/17 school year. The board is working behind the scenes to make the scholarship program more robust and has started by getting a jump on the 2017/18 school year.

Students entering their senior year are encouraged to apply for their 2nd annual $1,000 scholarship award. For this year’s question the board decided to take a step back to hear how young people of DeKalb County feel about the community as a whole.

“How can our community encourage collaboration in planning and development across county wide organizations.”

To apply, please visit www.patriotsmemorialpark.org/alabama-scholarship for more information.

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