The Gadsden-Etowah Patriots Association presented the first Col. Ola Lee Mize Scholarship to Halee Gibbs of North Gadsden. Pictured are, from left, John Graham, Patriots Association chairman; Billy Harris, treasurer; Betty Mize, wife of the late Col. Mize; Gibbs; Troy Word, incoming vice chairman; and Terry Collier, project administrator.
Halee Gibbs couldn’t hold back tears of joy when she was named the first recipient of the Col. Ola Lee Mize Scholarship from the Gadsden-Etowah Patriots Association. It was presented recently at Gadsden State Community College’s One Stop Center.
“I’m just so appreciative,” the 18-year-old said. “I’ve been praying for a scholarship.”
As a senior at Gaston High School, Gibbs applied for several scholarships and waited for good news. “I never heard back from any of them, and I was getting discouraged,” she said. Still, she enrolled at Gadsden State Community College, where she is taking a full load of classes during her first semester. “I stay busy with my classes and homework, but I’ve really enjoyed my time at Gadsden State,” she said. “It’s a lot different than high school. I have more freedom but I also have to study more.”
Gibbs is currently taking general studies courses but plans on applying to Gadsden State’s registered nursing program. “My mother started the nursing program but she didn’t finish,” she said. “I grew up listening to her talk about when she was in nursing school, so I’ve always known I wanted to go, too.”
The Col. Ola Lee Mize Scholarship is $1,000 per semester and renewable for a maximum of four semesters or $4,000 per awardee. The scholarship must be used at Gadsden State. “It was Col. Ola Lee Mize’s wish that the scholarship that bears his name go to a student that would not be able to attend college otherwise,” said Terry Collier, project administrator for the Gadsden-Etowah Patriots Association.
There will be one scholarship awarded each year for the three school systems in Etowah County. Students are nominated by school counselors, and a winner is selected by a committee. The student must be in financial need and live in Etowah County.
About the Gadsden-Etowah Patriots Association: GEPA is a non-profit 509(c)19 organization that promotes patriotism in Etowah County and the greater Gadsden area through civic and educational programs while supporting past, present and future veterans and their families.