LBW announces scholarship in honor of beloved student

Published 7:00 am Sunday, October 22, 2023

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Lurleen B. Wallace (LBW) Community College has announced the establishment of the Ms. Sierra Newman Memorial Scholarship, a testament to the enduring memory of Sierra Newman, a cherished member of the LBW Ensemble, who tragically lost her life in a car accident in November 2019. 

Newman’s family, with the unwavering support of family friend Dawn Jarzyniecki and Ensemble Director Johnny Brewer, embarked on a journey in January 2020 to raise funds for this scholarship, ensuring that Sierra’s legacy would live on.

Newman, a resident of Georgiana, was not only a devoted LBW Community College student but also an integral part of the LBW Ensemble, a show choir and band performance group consisting of 21 students. Her passion for music, her community, and her family left a profound impact on those who knew her.

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“It’s been fantastic the support this scholarship has gotten,” said Sherry Fuller, Sierra’s grandmother, who spearheaded the scholarship initiative. “Thank you to everyone who contributed and donated their time, resources and talent to help us fulfill this goal.” 

The family wanted to ensure her memory would matter, and the outpouring of support

has been truly heartwarming.

“Sierra was overall passionate about the arts,” she added. “If I could really name it, it would be Sierra’s dream. She didn’t get to accomplish it, but through this it’s going to help other students accomplish their dreams. I’m so grateful for this scholarship because she lives on through this.”

Following the signing, Dawn Jarzyniecki added, “Lots of good is going to come from this; What a difference this can make in each person’s life that receives this scholarship. Sierra blossomed through music, so this scholarship being awarded to a fine arts student is so special.”

The journey to endow the scholarship saw a grassroots effort, including benefit concerts at The Georgiana Opry House and LBW’s Performing Arts Theater, as well as bake sales, car shows, and tireless fundraising by Sierra’s grandparents. With the help of hundreds of donations from the community, LBW employees, local businesses, and extended family, over the last few years, the scholarship fund reached its $25,000 goal in September.

“I’ve never seen such a grassroots showing of support,” said Chrissie Duffy, Director of Advancement for LBW. “This has been a beautiful tribute and testament of love for this young lady, and I’m overjoyed to see the Fuller’s wishes being fulfilled for their sweet granddaughter’s legacy,”

The Ms. Sierra Newman Memorial Scholarship will be a permanent part of the Restricted Endowment Fund of the LBW Community College Foundation. 

LBW President, Dr. Brock Kelley, expressed gratitude for the family’s investment in the future of LBW students, noting, “Sierra’s memory will live on through the opportunities this scholarship provides for aspiring musicians.”

The scholarship, set to award in the upcoming Fall semester, will support LBW students pursuing a Fine Arts Degree with an interest in music. Applications will be available online through the LBW scholarship application link found at starting in December, ensuring that Sierra’s passion for music continues to make a difference in the lives of future LBW students.