Advent Christian Village (ACV) hosts many annual events, but an event on April 19 hosted a group of nervous high school seniors. For the 25th year, the Marvin E. Jones Memorial Scholarship finalists gathered with their loved ones in Dowling Park to learn whether they would be the recipient of a large college scholarship. “Take a deep breath and count to 10,” advised last year’s top scholarship winner, Darrah Lane, who explained — during a report on how her scholarship had helped her during her first year of college — how nervous she had been a year ago.
Advent Christian Village has always been a strong supporter of education and is pleased that it can be a part of helping students with the costs of college education. The annual event awards college scholarships to deserving Suwannee High School graduates, children of ACV employees, and ACV employees from the Marvin E. Jones Educational Trust and the ACV Forward Fund
At the conclusion of a delicious meal, ACV President Craig Carter acknowledged the benefactors who established the scholarship trusts, making the entire evening possible. Marvin E. Jones was a graduate of Suwannee High School who became a respected international business executive. Dr. and Mrs. Al Lawton established the Forward Fund at Advent Christian Village in order to assist employees of ACV and their children to be better able to afford continuing education.
Following Craig’s and Darrah’s speeches, Mike and Robert Jones, sons of Marvin E. Jones, each spoke about the purpose of the scholarship fund. They praised their father who established the trust, describing him as a person who strongly believed in education and wanted to help the young people of Suwannee County to achieve success. They also congratulated the students and offered words of encouragement.
Jerry Scarborough, Suwannee County School Superintendent, spoke briefly, congratulating the students and thanking the trustees for their support of education. He also presented the Jones brothers with handsome plaques paying tribute to their support of and partnership with Suwannee County schools and Advent Christian Village.
Forward Fund Trustees Craig Carter and Tim Setzer awarded Forward Fund Scholarships to two ACV employees: April Diaz and Randy Lamb.
Then, Craig, Mike and Robert presented the scholarships to the children of ACV employees from the Marvin E. Jones Educational Trust. Receiving scholarships were Blakely Burch, Tim Carter, Saige Driver, Jeremiah Harmon, Amanda Mabey, Christine Mabey, Brandi Taylor and Koryn Williamson-Becker.
The final awards of the evening were to the Marvin E. Jones Educational Trust 2016 Suwannee High School finalists. Mike Jones stated that they were pleased to be able to award scholarships to each of the seven finalists. Receiving a one-time scholarship of $1,000 were Cari Blalock, Tessa Ferreira, Kyler Gray and Blake Ulmer. The two runners up, each receiving a $3,000 scholarship to be awarded over two years, were Megan Letu and Krunal Shukla. The winner of the four-year scholarship, totaling $20,000, was Kaitlyn Rogers.
Scholarship recipient Randy Lamb closed the evening with a benediction.