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SCHOLARSHIP TYPES & 2020 AWARDEES
Elizabeth Caldwell Junker Scholarship
The Elizabeth Caldwell Junker Scholarship was established in 1986 by Harrell Junker, Carolyn Irvin, Becky Griffin, George Junker and Norman Junker in memory of their mother, Elizabeth. It has now been in existence for 34 years and has awarded more than 30 scholarships. Candidates are evaluated on their scholastic achievement, community service, and strength and determination of character. The scholarship is an annual award of $4,000.00 which is renewable annually for up to four years. The total value of the scholarship this year is $16,000.00. The recipient must maintain the criteria for the scholarship.
The Junker Scholarship was the first endowment established at PPC. We currently have 3 members of our congregation who are active Junker scholars. Austin Owens, who is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, Angela Martin who is a rising Senior at UNCC, Carly Szymanski who is a rising Junior at Appalachian State and Noah Santiago who is a rising Sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill,
We are proud to announce that this year’s recipient of the Junker Scholarship is Asha Mullis. Asha graduated Valedictorian of Independence High School. Her exceptional grades are only matched by her extreme devotion to the community of Mint Hill. She has volunteered over 500 hours with the Mint Hill Fire Department since 2018 and is currently in school to get her EMT certificate. Asha was involved with Science Olympiad (placing 2nd place regional), she served as President of the Academy of Engineering, co-captained the golf team and the tennis team while at Independence. She is a personable, social and a leader in the purest sense. We are thrilled to support her future. Asha will be attending UNC Chapel Hill specializing in Emergency Room nursing with the goal of becoming an Emergency Flight Nurse. If you would like to learn more about Asha, visit this link for a write up in the Mint Hill Times.
Frances McEwen Hunter Scholarship
This year, we are thrilled to announce two Hunter Scholars, Brinly Denton and Lillie Brock.
Brinly Denton graduated from Independence High School and will be attending UNCC in the Fall. While at Independence, Brinly served as the President of Key Club, a community service-oriented group. She was active with Campers on a Mission, Paws to Read and the News Club. Brinly’s love of pets has motivated her to work in an animal related field. Brinly inspired each of us in her perseverance and devotion to school and her family. We know she will excel in whatever she does and are honored she is a Hunter Scholar.
Lillie Brock (photo unavailable) graduated from Independence High School and will be attending Appalachian State University in the Fall. Lillie has a passion for children and wishes to become a teacher. By her application and recommendations, we can tell that Lillie has heart to help and support others. She has volunteered at Bain Elementary as a tutor for many years and is a trusted babysitter. We were all very moved when reading Lillie’s story of perseverance and passion. She is a wonderful young lady and we are honored she is a Hunter Scholar.
James Lee “Jimmy” Miller, Jr. Scholarship
James Lee “Jimmy” Miller, Jr. Undergraduate Scholarships in the amount of $1,000 were awarded by the Scholarship Committee of Philadelphia Presbyterian Church for the year 2020 based on financial need, scholarship, participation in service to God, community involvement and strength and determination of character and at least a 3.0 GPA to the following people. Information for these articles was obtained through their applications, interviews and/or letters of recommendation.
Andrew “Drew” Boyd Pamplin
Drew, son of Bo and Alice Pamplin, graduated from Porter Ridge High School in 2017. This is the third Miller scholarship given to Drew. He was active in the life of Philadelphia Presbyterian Church (PPC) since the age of eight - participating in not only choir, musical productions and youth groups, but also volunteering with Bright Blessings, Stop Hunger Now and participating in mission trips to New York and West Virginia - all while maintaining a GPA higher than 3.0. Drew chose to major in Marketing because of his love for graphic design and social media marketing. He will be continuing his education as a senior in 2020 at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. As a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity has been involved in raising money and service projects for the Wrightsville Beach Fire Department, the Pretty in Pink Foundation (supporting breast cancer research) and has supported Hawks Harvest (a UNCW program that feeds people in need). He is currently serving an internship with P4 Technologies which markets pharmaceuticals in Wilmington and hopes to make his home in Wilmington after graduation next year.
Phillip Alexander Cervantes
Alex, son of John and Amy Cervantes, is a graduate of Piedmont High School and will be attending Northwestern University, Medill School of Journalism, in the fall. Alex has served as Coordinator for youth at Children’s Attention Home at Bright Blessings, head coach for U-12 Youth Boys Basketball, President, Vice-President and Reporter for the Future Business Leaders of America’s, was among the top ten State finalist in Journalism at NC competition in Future Business Leaders of America, served as an elementary school tutor and a freshman mentor. PPC has been a place where Alex has grown in faith from Kingdom Kids, Sunday School, Wonderful Wednesdays, Choir, youth groups and mission trips. Alex says he wasn’t impressed by the youth group going into it as a sixth grader but at the urging of parents and youth leaders he slowly found his way. He is so thankful for the caring individuals who did not give up on him and “doused” him with unconditional love and understanding and kept him engaged amidst some uncertain and unsettling years. He feels the youth group and church programs have “instilled confidence, fostered healthier perspectives and enabled him to manage tough situations in life. One person recommending Alex for this scholarship gave the following insight into his character: Alex has a servant’s heart, coaching 11 and 12 year old’s in basketball, he taught lessons in teamwork, hard work, commitment, respect and compassion. Youth on the team he coached had such things to say about him as: He thinks of others before himself; when things get tough, he keeps encouraging himself and others to keep working hard. The younger brother of one of the players said it was “fun to go to their practices because Alex was funny, kind and nice. He let me play with the older boys and encouraged me when I didn’t do well.” Still others referred to Alex as being a great leader in his actions, character and spirit, that others wanted to follow him because of his skills, his character and that “his heart paved a wonderful path.”
REFLECTIONS OF THE LIFE OF JIMMY MILLER
James Lee Miller, Jr. was born on August 16, 1945 to James Lee and Cathryn Francis Miller. Weighing 3.5 pounds, blue eyes and blonde hair (which turned red by age 12), he was carried home to Mint Hill on a pillow and for the first few months of his life slept in a dresser drawer for a cradle. He quickly developed his bubbly, infectious personality which He carried throughout his life. He was baptized as an infant and joined Philadelphia Presbyterian Church as a youth, attended Bain Elementary School, graduated from East Mecklenburg High School and Wingate College. He served our country in the United States Army (stationed in the USA and served in Vietnam as well as Germany). At the age of four Jimmy ‘s father died and many friends began caring for him, treating him as if he were part of their family. Over the years, he was affectionately known and answered to many names: “Jimmy,” “Jim,” “Daddy,” “Eagle Scout Dad,” “Second Daddy,” “Son” (his Uncle Andy and Aunt Lorraine helped raise him), “Woody,” “Brother“ (although he had no biological siblings), “Coach,” “Telephone Man” (as the only Bell South telephone installer in Mint Hill for 30 years he was often the first person in the community to invite newcomers to PPC). He was a “Friend in Christ.” After retirement he delivered flowers for a local florist and was well loved by visitors to the two community parks in Mint Hill where he worked part time as a security guard. There, he shared his faith in Christ while keeping people company as they walked the trail, enjoyed watching the eyes of youngsters light up when invited to sit in his “mule” and treated dogs to a snack. Jim married me, Doris Holland, in 1972 and we continued to worship at PPC. Our children, Jamie and Andrea made their statements of faith and were baptized here. Jim served as Deacon, Elder, Youth Adviser, Sunday School Teacher, Nursery Volunteer, served on a Pastor Search Committee, was instrumental in Home Bound Communion being offered to our members unable to attend services and served on numerous committees. When being remembered by family and friends who knew him, some of the comments were: “You could see Christ in his life.” “I loved the way his eyes would light up when he talked about his children - not necessarily his own, but those in the church and on sports fields,” “Jimmy didn’t have to initiate a conversation because people would just walk up to him and start talking.” “He never met a stranger.” “He was the happiest person I’ve ever known.” Some of these conversations prompted his family to ask, “Who was that?” His response would be that he had no idea. Shortly before his death on December 22, 2003, Jim made a “Wish List” of things he would like to have done if money were no object. That list was found after scholarships were set up in his honor but at the top of that list was: “Set up a scholarship for members of Philadelphia.” Our children and I are blessed that we could see that wish carried out in his memory. Since the scholarships were established in 2004, 54 scholarships amounting to $57;000 have been awarded to students going to at least 14 different universities. I like to think we see a reflection of Jim’s smile on the faces of the recipients each year as they accept their scholarships. This year, due to the COVID-19 Vírus I heard it through their voices of appreciation.
Yours in Christ’s Service - Doris Miller, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength"
The Anne Tweed and Baxter Bigham Scholarship
The Anne Tweed and Baxter Bigham Scholarship was created in 2018 in memory of Anne and Baxter Bigham who were leaders in this church and the Mint Hill community. A kind, humble and perfect gentleman, Baxter Bigham was Elder Emeritus, teacher of the Harkey Bible Class for 34 years, member of the VFW Post 4059 and also preached a few sermons. Shortly after his death in 1981, the Fellowship Hall was renamed the James Baxter Bigham Hall. A kind, sweet and energetic lady, Anne Tweed moved to Mint Hill from Madison County, NC and taught the fifth grade at Bain Elementary School for 34 years. Her positive influence on her many students is still remembered today. The purpose of this scholarship is to grant annually an undergraduate scholarship to a deserving member of Philadelphia Presbyterian Church and/or a resident living within the legal corporate town limits of Mint Hill for study as a full time student at an accredited college or university. The award is based upon scholarship, community involvement and strength and determination.
It is with great pleasure to announce that the 2nd Anne Tweed and Baxter Bigham Scholarship in the amount of $1,000.00 renewable annually for up to four years is awarded to Kaitlyn Szymanski. Kaitlyn is the daughter of Jon and Becky Szymanski and is a member of PPC. She is a graduate of Piedmont High School and will be attending Appalachian State University to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Her future plans include attending a pharmacy school. At Piedmont High, Kaitlyn excelled in her academic studies, was active in Track, Cross Country, Volleyball and Basketball and a member of the National Honor Society, Unified Champions Club, and Beta Club. Her leadership abilities were apparent on many levels. At church, Kaitlyn is an active member in the youth group and has been on youth mission work trips, retreats, and conferences. Her positive attitude, compassionate spirit and faith will serve her well in the future. We wish Kaitlyn the best as she continues her studies at Appalachian State.