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Education Foundation Banquet honors elite students, alumni

The annual Russellville City Schools Education Foundation Banquet was held April 8 at the A.W. Todd Centre, honoring a number of Golden Tigers.

The Foundation, established in 2012, is a non-profit organization that operates outside of the school system. It distributes grants to teachers and scholarships to students. The banquet and accompanying auction are the main fundraisers for the Foundation.

Approximately 200 people attended the event this year. Mike Mayfield, Foundation president, made the opening remarks, and Gene Ellison, Foundation vice president, gave an invocation. Monica Moon, West Elementary assistant principal and a member of the Foundation’s board of directors, presented the scholarships.

Education Foundation Scholarship recipients are Will Rushing, Josie Willis, Lauren Rogers, Jessica Morrow, Scarlett Winsted, Kelsey Montgomery, Brayden Bendall and Karlie Greenhill.

Additional scholarships included the Lanny Norris Scholarship, presented to Addie Scruggs; the Patti Kimbrough Scholarship, presented to Patrick Crummie; the Dr. Wayne Ray Scholarship, presented to Hunter Fuller; and the Raymond Grissom Scholarship, presented to Luke Patrick.

Sharon Hindman Hester presented the Dan C. Hindman Star Polisher Award to Stephanie Mayfield. The purpose of the award is to celebrate the dedication of an exemplary educator to the success of students in the Russellville City Schools. It was created in honor of Dan Hindman, a former Russellville City Schools principal. A “Star Polisher,” the award description explains, “takes students however they are and polishes them into a bright, shining light for all to see.”

Judy Pounders, RCS school board president, presented the awards for the Honoring of Alumni. Orland Britnell, Christopher Bowden Meeks and William (Bill) Joseph Foster were the recipients.

Britnell graduated from Russellville High School in 1952. As a member of the Cattlemen’s Association, he has devoted a great deal of time to coordinating steak sandwich sales to help raise a total of $176,000 for 352 scholarships that were awarded to Russellville City and Franklin County High School Seniors.

Meeks is a 1983 graduate of Russellville High School. He served on the Homewood City Park and Recreation Board for 10 years, through which he implemented a $15M replacement facility for its community center in 2013, followed by a $22M redevelopment of the West Homewood Park and new aquatic center in 2019.

He served as planning analyst for St. Vincent’s Hospital and was executive administrator at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Surgery. He assumed the role of executive director of Legacy of Hope (formerly known as the Alabama Organ Center) in 2012.

Foster was born in Hackleburg in 1931 and graduated from Russellville High School in 1949. He was in the Air Force and attended the University of North Alabama.

While Foster was president of the Russellville Jaycees, the organization purchased 80 acres with plans to build a golf course. With the money the Jaycees made sponsoring the Franklin County Fair, and with the help of the National Guard, Twin Pines Golf Course was built.

Heath Grimes, superintendent and member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, provided the closing remarks.

Other members of the Board of Directors include Foundation treasurer Brandi Rogers, Rodney Bolton, Alma Martinez, Jeff Barksdale, Nina McNatt, Lanny Norris, Matt Cooper and Sharon Hester.

Elaine Vaughn, Foundation board member and Child Nutrition Program director for Russellville City Schools, said, “The scholarship dinner brings the community together and helps make a wonderful investment in the future.”

Sarah Terry, secretary for the Foundation, added, “We always need more people involved in the Foundation in order to help raise additional funds to be able to provide a greater number of scholarships.”