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MLJF awards local graduates

Staff Photo by Andrew Alexander

Staff Photos by Andrew Alexander

Staff Photos by Andrew Alexander

(Top, Left) 2011 Adamsville High School graduate Macaria Surratt wipes away a tear after receiving her scholarship from MLFJ representatives LaShell Moore and Brandy Strayhorn. (Right) 2011 McNairy Central High School graduate Shamika Kirk is presented with her MLJF Scholarship by LaShell Moore.

Two local 2011 high school graduates were awarded scholarships at the 4th Annual Mary Lou Johnson Foundation Scholarship Banquet held at McNairy Central High School Saturday night.

Shamika Kirk, daughter of Eric and Tammie Kirk, and 2011 graduate of Adamsville High School, along with 2011 MCHS graduate Macaria Surratt, daughter of Gigi Surratt and Marico Grice, were presented scholarships in the sum of $1,000 each.

Kirk plans to attend Austin Peay State University where she will study foreign language and biology and hopes to eventually study Internal Medicine in graduate school at the University of Memphis. 

She has volunteered at McNairy Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and while in high school was a member of DECA, FCCLA, HOSA, and was also a member of the AHS cheerleading squad and soccer team. 

Surratt’s goal is to major in Exercise Science at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga with a concentration in Occupational Therapy.

She has volunteered at the Carl Perkins Center, Ronsenwald Community Organization, and the AT&T Pioneer Youth Leadership Academy Program, and during her time at MCHS maintained a 4.0 GPA while being a member of many clubs and the volleyball team.

Mrs. Mary Lou Johnson was present at the banquet to witness Kirk and Surratt being honored in her name. Johnson spent her life serving the community as an educator and continues to go above and beyond by helping to send local students on to further their educations.

The MLJF awards $2,000 in scholarships annually to deserving African-American students to provide them the opportunity to continue their education at the university of their choice.

Because of Johnson’s service to the community through her foundation and many years of teaching McNairy County, Modern Woodmen of America, represented by Darren and Carolyn Bowers, presented the MLJF with a donation of $2,500 after the scholarship presentation.

The banquet’s Keynote Speaker, Dr. Eric Robinson, spoke to the scholars and many in attendance about, “Keeping your Dignity while Keeping your Peace,” which, according to Robinson, was inspired by the poem “Invictus” written in 1875 by William Ernest Henley.

Robinson, of McNairy Internal Medicine, has been practicing in the area for four years. He finished his undergraduate schooling at the University of South Alabama. Robinson attended graduate school at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and did his residency studies at Vanderbilt Medical Center. 

Kirk and Surratt also received words of encouragement from former MLJF Scholarship recipient Melvin Dubose, Jr.

MLJF representative LaShell Moore announced that the foundation has partnered with Macy’s Department Store out of Jackson, Tenn.

Those who donate $5 to the MLJF will receive a card for 25 percent off all Macy’s purchases on August 27. 

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