Powell receives UA alumni association scholarship

Published 1:18 pm Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Recent Chilton County High School graduate Lawson Powell was the recipient of the 2023 Judy Melton Mims Memorial Endowed Scholarship. Presented by the Chilton County Alumni Chapter of the University of Alabama National Alumni Association, the $1,600 scholarship is awarded each year to an incoming freshman at UA from Chilton County. The scholarship states it is “in recognition of outstanding scholastic achievement.”

Troy Mims, Judy’s husband and member of the alumni association chapter in Chilton County, graduated from UA in 1969 and was a coach, teacher and principal in Chilton County after spending 14 years at Verbena High School and 21 years at CCHS. Judy retired in 2003 and Troy a year later in 2004. However, shortly after Troy retired, Judy was diagnosed with cancer. She fought the disease for over four years before passing.

Both were huge UA supporters and after Judy passed, the association’s scholarship fund began to dwindle a bit.  So, Troy and he and Judy’s two sons, Les and Brett, donated a significant sum of money to help bolster the scholarship. That gave the Mims family the opportunity to keep Judy’s name alive through the yearly scholarship.

The scholarship was established in 2009 and Macee Thomas was the first recipient in 2010.

“She loved children … and (the scholarship) means everything to me because this is what she was all about,” Troy Mims said. “One of her goals was to make a child feel welcomed and what they were doing was worth it. We feel like it encourages other students to go on (and further their education).”

Judy attended the University of Montevallo where she received three degrees before teaching elementary students in Chilton County for 32 years.

Powell said he applied for the scholarship later in the process and was not sure if he had a good chance to receive it or not.

“I was surprised I got it because I applied a lot later,” Powell said. “I guess it was maybe luck or maybe it was just supposed to happen, but I am thankful for it.”

Powell said he marked down engineering when he first applied to UA, but he has interests in computer science and business he wants to explore as well. He plans to take some summer classes at the Jefferson State Community College Chilton-Clanton Campus to get a head start on some of the core courses at UA such as math and english.

Powell’s step father attended UA and he has visited the campus multiple times in the past.

“I enjoy being up there and it is a great campus,” Powell said. “Just being surrounded by good people helps too … I want to be able to prove to myself I can make it on my own there.”

Troy Mims remembered when he received a scholarship from the Chilton County teachers when he was an entering freshman at UA. He believes that same feeling he had then is being given to the students the UA alumni association awards its scholarship to each year.

“Just knowing that Judy’s name is attached to this (is special), and she was a big University of Alabama fan as well,” Troy Mims said. “She would love to know that this scholarship was encouraging someone to go on and further their education. She was a fantastic teacher, a fantastic wife, daughter, sister, aunt and mother and she had a big influence on a lot of people. I still like to think she influences people, and I know she would be proud of Lawson today.”