The first award was $50 for the highest ranking high school graduate from Lawnside. The founding members were: Linese Miller, Helen Mae Henderson, Elva Whittington, Edith Davis Andrews, Alice Still and Helen Moore Davis. These women held bake sales, sold newspapers and conducted other fundraising activities to acquire the money to encourage students.
Over the years, the number of members grew from the original six to 25. Currently, there are eight members. Several past scholarship recipients have been or are now Club members.
The size and number of awards has grown steadily since the Club’s inception. From the original award of $50 to one student, scholarships grew to $100 each for six students. Starting in 1969, the top recipient received $500 and the second highest ranking student from Lawnside received $200. Two Club awards are named for the group’s first presidents –– the Linese Miller Award and the Helen Mae Henderson Teaching Award. Today the Club awards four scholarships to the highest ranking students from Lawnside in denominations of $2,500; $2,000; $1,750 and $1,500. Additionally, $150 book awards are provided to any graduate who is enrolled in school with a G.P.A of 3.0 or better who requests the assistance in writing.
Today the Club awards $7,750 each year and administers nearly $9,000 in grants from individuals and community groups. With the help of the Club, many of our residents have become teachers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers and other professionals. Several have returned to Lawnside after completing their educations.
The Club’s activities extend beyond awarding money to encouraging scholarly pursuits. Over the years, the Club has sponsored seminars for parents and high school students on preparing for and applying to college, requesting financial aid, developing academic discipline and preparing for the SATs. Students who make the honor roll and principal’s list receive congratulatory notes from the Club.
In addition to recognizing high school graduates, the Club annually presents an award to the Lawnside School eighth grade graduate excelling in English.
The Club’s main fundraising events have been the annual luncheon, Black History Celebration honoring outstanding members of the community with considerable success, and “Salute to Seniors.”
After the death in 1993 of the last active charter member, Alice Still, the Club received numerous donations in memoriam and decided to rename its college emergency fund for her. She had served 48 years.
In 1995, the Club received a bequest from the estate of Elizabeth Jones which allowed the creation of a $500 award for academic excellence given to graduating seniors with an average at or above 93.
In February 1999, the Club received federal tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Service Code 501 (c)(3).
The Club has had 21 presidents including Mrs. Helen Mae Henderson, Mrs. Linese Miller, Mrs. Loretta Chappelle, Mrs. Helen Davis, Mrs. Edith Andrews, Mrs. Mary C. Still, Mrs. Gladys Jones, Mrs. Louise M. Wright, Miss Ardelia Moore, Mrs. Alice Still, Mrs. Dolores B. Johnson, Mrs. Barbara Turner, Mrs. Rose Bradley, Mrs. Helen Jay, Mrs. Ellen Benson, Mrs. Alice Smith, Mrs. Elva Whittington, Mrs. Elva Mitchell, Mrs. Ardelia Gibson, Ms. Gloria Goodman and Mrs. Sharon Whitaker.
More than 60 Lawnsiders have been members of the Club.