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Council Pro Tem Steven Hoyt’s Education with a Purpose Scholarship Continues to Change Lives in its Fifth Year

On June 6th, eleven graduating seniors from Birmingham High Schools stood in the Council Chambers holding large checks, while members of the Council beamed at them with pride. The students were recipients of “Education with a Purpose” scholarships, which have awarded more than $27,000 to 28 students since its inception in 2013. The scholarship program was developed by Birmingham City Council President Pro Tempore Steven Hoyt and Mr. Anthony Marino, as an extension of Council Pro Tem Hoyt’s annual “Party with a Purpose” event.

Each year, seniors from all seven Birmingham City high schools, as well as Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School apply for the scholarship for aide for college tuition. The most prominent part of the application is an essay, challenging the seniors to write about how they can make a positive difference in their own community. A panel of judges then reads all the essays and selects finalists, who are then interviewed before the scholarship recipients are determined. Fortunately, community support for the program has increased each year, and as more funding has become available for more scholarships, the committee’s job has become a little bit easier. The number of scholarship winners increased from four last year, to almost triple that number this year.

“Our children are the heartbeat of our communities and we have to encourage and nurture their lives in every way possible, especially by investing in their education,” Council Pro Tem Hoyt said. “I’m super proud of all the students and want to make sure they know how important their success is to our community as a whole. Part of the mission of Education With A Purpose is to instill in students the importance of striving to achieve their goals through hard work and perseverance. I’m just glad that we have the opportunity to contribute to their academic journeys.”

After being honored at the Birmingham City Council meeting, the eleven winners of the 2017 “Education with a Purpose” scholarship attended a luncheon at the Regions Executive Dining Room in downtown Birmingham, where they received not only checks, but inspiration from community leaders, sponsors, and past recipients of the scholarship. The first ever recipient of the scholarship, Kenneth McQueen, Jr. was in attendance to sign copies of his new book about the steps needed to achieve success “The Only Way to Go is Up”. Mr. McQueen is a 2013 graduate of Wenonah High School, and his ambitious and hard-working nature exemplify what the “Education with a Purpose” program is all about. Council Pro Tem Hoyt spoke passionately about his love for the city’s students, and expressed his tremendous gratitude for his ability to provide these life-changing funds to youth with unlimited potential.

This article is a contribution from Max Rykov in the Birmingham City Council Public Information Office. For more information please contact 205.254.2294.