The Union Recorder

August 29, 2009

Peabody alumni award scholarship

Jonathan Jackson

For more than 100 years, students were part of the Peabody Model School or the Peabody Child & Family Center. The students ranged in age from pre-school to high school at different points in time throughout the school’s existence. Alumni of the school share more than the school, they share a desire to see Peabody remembered as part of Georgia College & State University.

Betty Smith is a member of the Peabody class of 1956.

“I serve on the alumni board of Georgia College as the Peabody representative,” Smith said.

Smith explained the origins of the Peabody Alumni Association.

“Where Peabody School used to be, the building was torn down to enlarge the Georgia College library. When they did that, it was close to our hearts,” Smith said. “A group wanted to place a marker where the building used to sit.”

Smith said the class decided to take up collections for the marker and began raising funds. Smith suggested to the group that if they raised any money over the amount needed for the marker, they establish a scholarship.

“As it ended up, the marker was donated by Rick Williams of Williams Funeral Home and Crematory,” Smith said. “We knew we would need a minimum of $10,000 to endow a scholarship. We wound up with $13,000.”

The group decided to establish a committee that would decide the recipient of the scholarship. The main requirements for scholarship recipients was that they at least be a rising junior majoring in education.

This year, the committee selected rising senior Kayleigh Harkins of Kathleen.

Harkins is an early education major and recently met with some alumni at a reunion. She wrote a letter to Smith thanking her for the scholarship.

“I have wanted to be a teacher all my life,” Harkins wrote. “To have somebody fund this dream is truly amazing.”

This year, the Peabody Alumni did not earn any earnings on their endowment due to the status of the investment market. The group decided to go ahead with a scholarship by asking members and friends for the funds. The group raised $1,200.

Recently, the class of 1956 held a class reunion at Sylvia’s Grille. The group invited the Harkins family. Kayleigh and her mother were able to attend the meeting.

“We enjoyed meeting them,” Smith said. “We could not have done a better job selecting a recipient than Georgia College did.”

In addition to the requirements of the alumni group, the scholarship recipient must also meet requirements set forth by Georgia College.

“The whole purpose of the scholarship and the marker is that Peabody will live on forever,” Smith said.