Jones awarded first Ned and Carol Lowery Scholarship

Published 1:06 pm Thursday, June 1, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Two teachers at Jemison High School who had a massive impact on its students for over 50 years are continuing to assist the students after their teaching days. Daryl Lowery, along with his two brothers and two sisters, established the Ned and Carol Lowery Scholarship this school year that will be awarded to a graduating Jemison student.

Ned Lowery taught for over 50 years and spent a majority of his career at Jemison High School. He also spent time at the University of Montevallo, Jemison Middle School, Chilton Christian Academy and as the headmaster of Shelby Academy.

“He has been instrumental in a lot of people’s lives in this general vicinity,” Daryl Lowery said.

His wife, Carol Lowery, taught piano for tens of years both privately and at JHS in a room inside the band room. Carol Lowery did not start her educational schooling until all five of her children were born and then got a music education degree. She and Ned both were involved in church music at several churches in the Chilton County area for many years as well.

“Some of my earliest memories are of my mother playing the piano in church and dad leading the music,” Daryl Lowery said.

In September of 2022, the Lowery children decided they wanted to start a scholarship fund to honor their parents and everything they have done in the community. The goal was to raise $1,000 and the idea was for the Lowery children to fund it themselves, and they did not ask for donations. However, they did want people to know they were doing it, especially former students that Ned and Carol taught.

The fund surpassed the $1,000 mark quickly, and Daryl Lowery said the fund they have built through themselves and the kind donations has the scholarship set up to be given out for the next several years already.

“We knew that if we told them some would want to contribute as well, so we left that up to them,” Daryl Lowery said. “Several of them sent some of the most awesome notes (with the donations) about dad and how much he helped them and mother teaching them piano. It is amazing to see the support that everyone gave (for the scholarship).”

The Lowery children received help from the JHS guidance counselors to gather up applicants and the five Lowery children looked through the names to decide a winner. The scholarship is designated to go to a JHS graduating senior who plans to attend college and study mathematics or physics, the subjects Ned Lowery taught, music that Carol Lowery taught or education in general.

Lauren Jones, the daughter of Rachel Rachels and Phil Rachels, was chosen as the first recipient of the Ned and Carol Lowery Scholarship and was recognized at the JHS senior honors program on May 22. Jones is attending Auburn University in the fall and will study agriculture science education.

Ned Lowery tutored Jones in math for a few years at JHS, and both Daryl and Ned taught Lauren’s mother and father. During the application process, each applicant was required to write an essay. Daryl said the biggest thing that stood out to him with Lauren was in her essay she mentioned more young women are going into the agriculture science education field. She wrote that she wants to be a role model or mentor as a female agriculture science teacher to those females wanting to get involved in the field as well.

“She is a really hard-working young lady, and we know what type of family that is,” Daryl Lowery said. “All the applicants were wonderful and it was a tough decision. I do not think we could have made a wrong choice, but we thought Lauren was the best option.”

Ned Lowery’s first year teaching at JHS was the 1963-64 school year. Daryl Lowery retired from teaching in 2020 after a 32-year teaching career, and his father finally retired for good the same year.

Carol Lowery passed away seven years ago, and Daryl Lowery said that being able to carry on her name with the scholarship is another cool thing about it.

“It really wound up being more than we expected,” Daryl Lowery said. “We put God in a box, and he is not about to be in a box. We got a lot of support, advice and guidance from a lot of different people. The response was beyond what we expected.”