In August of every year, our Mamie R. Hammock Memorial Scholarship Fund Banquet, is one of the most noteworthy Events that takes place across America. Here is a letter that we received from MRMMSF 2008 / 2009 Award Winner Jeremy Wright. With his approval, we read his letter aloud on Program at the Banquet, and you will see the impact of how much his Scholarship Award aided his progress and momentum, which in turn, helped him achieve his goals.
To the family, board, recipients, alumni and friends gathered to celebrate the Mamie R. Hammock Memorial Scholarship Fund, let me apologize for my absence at today’s banquet. I currently live outside of Savannah, Georgia, and couldn’t travel to be with you all today. However, I hope my words find you well and still speak to you regardless of my presence. May God bless this event, and continue to bless all of those who are represented here and the works you do.
Let me begin by saying thank you to those of you that continue to celebrate the life of Ms. Mamie R. Hammock and all she did for Polk County and surrounding areas. Thank you to those who continue to honor her memory and have followed in her footsteps to ensure the future is brighter for the youth of our community. The people of Polk County need community leaders such as you! Mrs. McDermott, congratulations on your recent achievement as an honoree of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Community Service Award. I know your sister is so very proud of you, and so am I!!
I would like to tell you a little about my journey through high school, college, adult life, and what this scholarship has meant to me. My name is Jeremy Wright, and I was the 2008 recipient of the Mamie R. Hammock Memorial Scholarship.
In my years at Cedartown High School, I strived to be a leader to my peers. I challenged myself and others to push ourselves to be better, to work harder, and to achieve success. I graduated in the top 10 of my class as number 6. I was an honor graduate, having had a majority of gifted, honors, and A.P. classes. I was in various organizations throughout high school, such as the Student Council, National Honor Society, CHS Marching Band, International Thespian Society, and many others. I held leadership positions over the years as Drum Major, President, Vice-President, Senior Representative, Chaplain, and Historian in these organizations. I was also part of the second year of the Education Program at Cedartown High School started by Mrs. Alyson Reaves.
I worked so hard in high school with one main goal: to make it to college. Growing up in a single parent home, I knew that my mother wouldn’t be able to pay for continuing my education. I knew that she could barely make ends meet, and that if I wanted to pursue a degree I would have to have financial aid and scholarships. When it came time to start the scholarship applications in my senior year, I hoped that I would stand out among my peers somehow.
When the 2008 Cedartown High Honor’s Night came, I prayed that I would receive some assistance, but I never imagined how many different organizations would select me as a recipient for their awards. Due to my academic accomplishments, my strengths as a leader, and my dreams of being a teacher, I was selected by the esteemed committee here with being awarded the Mamie R. Hammock Memorial Scholarship. During the ceremony I was so overwhelmed and thankful for all of the scholarships that I received. When the ceremony ended and I finally returned to my family, my mother greeted me with a hug and tears. She told me of how proud she was of my accomplishments that night, but that one of the scholarships meant more to her than any other: the Mamie R. Hammock Memorial Scholarship.
Before that night I had never remembered my mother talking to me much about the significance of any of the teachers she had in school. I had heard her mention a few of them by name is her various stories, but had never given much thought to who they were. After the ceremony, my mother told me that when she heard my name announced as the recipient of your Scholarship she immediately began crying. My mother shared with me how much Ms. Hammock had changed her life. Before my mother decided to start a family, she had dreamed of being an EMT and had taken Ms. Hammock’s Health Occupations class in high school. She told me of how Ms. Hammock always told her students the way it truly was. She didn’t sugarcoat things and wanted her students to know the challenges that they would face after high school. My mother was a fire cracker, and I’m sure she was quite the handful for any teacher. Somehow Ms. Hammock was able to reach through to help her though. I never had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Hammock, but I know if she was able to make a difference in the life of my mother, then she definitely was a miracle worker. My aunt has told me that my mother enjoyed Ms. Hammock so much, that she would visit her even after she graduated high school.
Although my mother didn’t pursue her original dreams of being an EMT, the lessons she learned in Ms. Hammock’s class did pay off. When I was very young my mother witnessed a car accident. The woman who was driving had her foot severed off during the wreck. Thanks to Ms. Hammock’s classes, my mother was actually able to help stabilize the woman until the paramedics arrived. The woman survived thanks to my mother helping to minimize the blood loss from the accident. Ms. Hammock was able to save a life that day through my mother.
Ms. Hammock’s work as a nurse and as a teacher continues even now to help others, even though she is no longer here with us physically. The lessons that she taught others allow her spirit to continue to make a difference in the lives of others. With the help of this scholarship, I began my college career at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton. The next few years of college would prove to be quite difficult for me.
At the beginning of my junior year, my mother passed away. My mother’s death was a great loss to me and my family. The first months of school that year were very difficult for me to focus, attend classes, and be the over achieving student I had always been. It was by far the hardest few months of my life. During this time I began my student teaching field experience required to graduate. Helping those students helped me to get out of my depression and to find the motivation to continue on my path. I knew the importance of my education, and I pushed through to the end!
In May 2012, I graduated with honors with a Bachelor’s Degree in Middle Grade Education. I was finally able to achieve my dreams of becoming a teacher when I started teaching at Villa Rica Middle School the following August. During my time in the classroom, I had a few hundred students, and I pray that I somehow made a positive effect on at least a few of them. I realize how hard it is to make a lasting positive impression on others. My first year as a fulltime teacher was very difficult but also very rewarding for me. I worked as the head soccer coach, the drama club sponsor, and also a math tutor for our after school program. I was able to see students progress and grow throughout the year. After completing that year, I decided to take some time away from teaching. I decided that I still have some skills that need to be learned in order to do my best and be my best as a teacher.
I now live and work outside of Savannah, Ga. Even though I’m no longer a middle school teacher, I am still helping people, just in a different way. I think that is what the Mamie R. Hammock Memorial Scholarship is and will continue to be about: Helping others! Ms. Hammock helped others as a nurse and as a teacher, but she also helped as a mother, a friend, a mentor, a sister, and many other roles. I believe that one of our goals in life should be to help others in a way so that we are remembered after we are physically gone. Ms. Hammock has been able to achieve this through her family, friends, patients, and students. I hope that I will one day be able to as well. Will you?
Thank you again to those members of the Mamie R. Hammock Memorial Scholarship Fund boars! I appreciate all that you do to help others in the name of Ms. Hammock. To the other alumni present, I hope you too are continuing to help others with the pride of knowing where you come from, and who has helped you along your path. To those recent recipients of the scholarship, I wish you all the best in your endeavors! Go chase some dreams!
Again, may God bless all of you and continue to use you to be the leaders Polk County and this country needs!