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April 17, 2014

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4 Students Receive George Clem Assoc. Awards

Sun Photo by Jim Feltman

Recipients of George Clem Multicultural Association Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarships, and presenters, from left, are: Betty Weemes, of the Laughlin Healthcare Foundation; recipient Shaina Brice; her mother, Deborah Barner; Kella Shipley, mother of recipient Nakea Beard, who could not attend; recipient Danica Powers; her father, B.C. Powers; Greene County Commissioner Bill Dabbs, treasurer of the GCMA; recipient Jennifer Garcia; and her father, Ruben Garcia.

Originally published: 2010-01-19 11:31:47
Last modified: 2010-01-19 11:31:54

Evening Speaker Is

Dr. Sidney Crumwell,

A Retired Professor



Four local students received "The Dream Made Real" scholarships Monday evening at the George Clem Multicultural Association's annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. event.

Scholarships provided by Takoma Regional Hospital and Laughlin Memorial Hospital were presented at a well-attended event at Full Gospel Mission Church, with refreshments after the two-hour program. Greeneville Mayor Laraine King and her husband, Kidwell, attended.


A $500 scholarship that is renewable each semester for a possible total of $2,000 was presented to Shaina Brice, a Greeneville High School graduate now a junior at ETSU with a 3.2 GPA, studying to be a nurse, with plans to eventually become an anesthesiologist.

Brice's award was presented on behalf of the Laughlin Hospital Foundation by its director, Betty Weemes.

Greene County Commissioner William Dabbs, treasurer of the George Clem Multicultural Association, presented the other three scholarships, which were provided by the GCMA and Takoma Regional Hospital.

Kella Shipley accepted for her daughter, Nakea Beard, who is a student at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.

She has a 3.5 grade-point average and is studying to be a physical therapist.

Other recipients were Danica Powers, a South Greene graduate now a freshman at ETSU studying health science with an emphasis in radiology; and Jennifer Garcia, a South Greene graduate now at ETSU studying broadcasting, with a 3.0 GPA.

Anissa Poore, herself a former scholarship recipient, served as mistress of ceremonies.

Poore said she did not value education when it was provided to her free, and became a high school dropout.

After she realized what she had wasted, Poore said she pledged that if she ever got to see the inside of a classroom again, she would not take it for granted. She is now enrolled in a medical technology course and said she eventually would like to go to law school.

Poore said the event was held in a church because most meetings in the civil rights era took place in churches. "That is a tradition we need to keep going," she said, continuing to instill the Bible into youth, while instilling education as well.

Gene Maddox, president of the association, said that the scholarships are part of the organization's overall goal of changing for the better the situation for African-Americans in Greeneville, especially those residing in the Wesley Heights neighborhood.

In its nine years of existence, Maddox said, the GCMA has been "interested in making this a safe, vibrant, caring, well-informed community."

The GCMA is proud of its mentoring and enhancement programs for children, he said, and of the scholarships it is able to give to young adults, thanks to the support of the larger community.

The organization is also proud of its role, Maddox said, in promoting the celebration of the Aug. 8, 1863, date when Andrew Johnson freed his personal slaves in Greeneville while he was military governor of Tennessee near the end of the Civil War.

"That spark of freedom started right here in Greeneville," he said.

Marisa Black spoke briefly about Mary Eliza Mahoney, who became the first black woman to study and work professionally as a nurse in the U.S.

Mahoney worked for 15 years as a maid, washerwoman, janitor and cook at the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Roxbury, Mass., before she was allowed to enroll in the hospital's nursing school at age 33. In 1879, she graduated, one of four who completed the rigorous program out of a starting class of 42.

She became one of the first African-American members of the American Nurses Association (ANA). In 1908, she co-founded the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses, which eventually merged with the ANA.


The evening's speaker was Dr. Sidney Crumwell Jr., a retired professor from the college of education at East Tennessee State University.

Crumwell spoke on the way God provides help and helpers for those who seek to do His will, using the first chapter of the book of Joshua as his text.

"The children of Israel had some rough times," Crumwell said, and "some of that roughness was because of the way they acted ... worshipping idols and all kinds of crazy stuff."

God promised a land of their own to the people that Joshua led after the death of Moses, Crumwell said, but they had some things to do themselves to get it. But God also promised, "As I was with Moses, so will I be with you."

Crumwell commended each scholarship winner, and said, "I know from experience, when God makes a promise, He keeps it."

He urged the scholarship winners, as God urged Joshua, to "be strong and of a good courage," and to keep going when things get difficult. "It takes courage to go do school," Crumwell said.

He urged them to continue to read the Bible as they continue their studies, and to ask God to help them.

"Whatever it is that we must face in life, God says, 'I'm going to be with you,' " Crumwell said. "When the Lord says, 'I will be with you,' you can count on it."

He noted that he recently read the biography of the Rev. Barry C. Black, the current chaplain of the U.S. Senate. The book is titled, "From the Hood to the Hill; A Story of Overcoming,"and Crumwell said he believes that African-Americans will see something of themselves in it, as he did.

Raised by a single mom, Crumwell said Black credits his mother for giving him the impetus to complete his eduation, just as Crumwell credits his own mother's influence.

"I'm so proud of you," Crumwell told the scholarship winners. "Keep reaching up, and if you're hanging out with people who are not reaching up -- drop them."

He added, "The blessings God has given me have come through people I would never have thought," people who came alongside to help him when they saw he was trying to gain an education.

"There's always somebody that'll help you," Crumwell said, returning to Joshua's word from God: "As I was with Moses, so shall I be with you."

For more information and stories, see The Greeneville Sun.

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