The Lawnside Scholarship Club was founded in 1945 to award scholarships to deserving local residents who planned to pursue higher education or trade school.
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 $2,000; $1,500; $1,250 and $1,000. Additionally, $300 book awards are provided over three years 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 $6,500 each year and administers nearly $6,700 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 have extended beyond awarding money to encouraging scholarly pursuits. Over the years, the Club has sponsored educational seminars for parents and high school students on preparing for and applying to college, requesting financial aid, developing academic discipline and preparing for the SAT Test. 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 event has been the annual luncheon. With some 200 onlookers, the event features a speaker, entertainment and a meal at a reasonable price. In 1975, the Club staged the “Salute to Seniors” at the luncheon offering recognition to all students from Lawnside graduating from any high school in the area. In 2009, the Club introduced a Black History Celebration honoring outstanding members of the community with considerable success. Also in that year, the Club began recognizing graduating seniors at a “Salute to Seniors” reception at Haddon Heights High School.
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 at the time of her death.
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. They have included 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 55 Lawnsiders have been members of the Club. The current members are: Ms. Michelle Carter, Ms. Patricia Cobia, Mrs. Winifred Still Davis, Mrs. Paula Davis, Ms. Eboni Goodman, Ms. Gloria Goodman, Mrs. Theresa Tutt, Mrs. Linda Shockley, Ms. Eunice C. Smith, Mrs. Sharon Whitaker and Mrs. Terri Harper-Wright.