Local memorial scholarship seeks alumni donors

Published 10:07 am Monday, August 9, 2010

A scholarship has been set up in memory of the late Joseph Harry McDonald, who was the first African-American among the original ten who integrated Luverne High School to graduate among the Class of 1969. Mr. McDonald passed away in Feb. 2009, and his brother, Bennie McDonald, wishes to see his late brother’s legacy live on in a way that helps today’s graduates.

“Last year, we gave a $500 memorial scholarship to a Luverne graduate, and we were able to do that again this year,” McDonald said.

Most noteworthy is this year’s $500 scholarship recipient, Daveena Bedgood, is the last direct descendent of the original ten African-American students who first integrated into the Crenshaw County School System in 1965. She is the daughter of Terri Bedgood. The scholarship is awarded to a student of any race who has persevered and succeeded in the face of social disadvantages.

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“I believe this is not just a wonderful way to honor my brother, but it’s also a way to help our children with their future,” McDonald said. “We’ve had several more people to come on board and help us with the scholarship, and that means so much.”

McDonald said they were really trying to recruit graduates from Luverne High School’s classes of 1966-69 to help.

“These were the classmates who experienced so many of the same things together.”

Mark your calendars as there will be a special program at Luverne High School commemorating this historical event on Sept. 2, at 9 a.m. in honor of Joseph McDonald and the first ten African-Americans who broke the racial barrier in the Crenshaw County Public School System. The community is invited to attend.

“I can’t thank everyone enough for helping to establish and donate to this endeavor,” McDonald said. “People like Lois Turner Truss, Martha I. Morgan, William Petrey and Judy LaRue at First Citizens Bank, LHS Principal Chuck Alford, retired educator and former director of Career Tech Yvonne Noble, and my brother’s niece, April M. Bullard. I just appreciate everything that all of these people have done.”

The memorial scholarship is set up at First Citizens Bank of Luverne under Account No. 2075563, the Joseph McDonald Memorial Fund. Mail-in contributions should be sent to P.O. Drawer 271, Luverne, AL 36049. Donations are tax deductible for this most worthy cause. If more information is needed about the scholarship fund, please contact Bennie McDonald at 334-429-0448.