Sandhills PRIDE announces release of 2023 scholarship application

Sandhills PRIDE, a support network and educational advocacy group dedicated to increasing awareness and acceptance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) community in the Sandhills region, announced the recipients of their 2022 Sandhills PRIDE Scholarship.

The three awardees are high school seniors Katelyn Barr, who has been awarded a $5,000 two-year scholarship, and Molli Cranford and Tristan Matthew Southerland, who have each been awarded a $2,500 one-year scholarship.

Scholarship applications were received from high school seniors in Cumberland, Moore, Montgomery, and Richmond counties. Selection is based on academic excellence, community service and engagement, and demonstrated advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community and allies.

Katelyn Ann Barr — $5,000 awardee

Katelyn (She/Her) attends Cumberland Polytechnic High School in Fayetteville. She plans to attend UNC-Chapel Hill as a Biology/Pre-med major. Katelyn has been active in her school’s debate team and in her church community. She has worked to change the United Methodist Discipline condemning LGBTQ+ people and has made her way to the Legislative Affair Person position, allowing her to write legislation and continue to use her voice to educate people and advocate for acceptance. Katelyn’s experiences have taught her not be afraid to speak up and tell her story and to use her voice to help create understanding, acceptance, and change.

Molli Cranford — $2,500 awardee

Molli (She/Her/They/Them) attends Richmond Senior High School in Rockingham. They will be attending University of Alabama-Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama. Molli experienced a lot of bullying in her life. She has taken those experiences and channeled them into action, including being Vice President of their high school’s Co-Exist Club – a club whose purpose is to show people that we can all peacefully live together. Molli is also a member of the National Honor Society and connects this with the Co-Exist Club to host events related to mental health awareness, including LGBTQ+ centered events, during the month of May. Molli intends to be a medical social worker following college.

Tristan Matthew Southerland — $2,500 awardee

Tristan (He/Him) attends Jack Britt High School and Fayetteville Technical Community College in Fayetteville. He plans to attend University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. Tristan is a self-motivator who willingly takes on leadership roles. He is active in his school and community including leading the Fayetteville Youth Pride Council, serving as student body Vice President, and is a member of the Hope Mills Youth Leadership Council. In these many activities, he has fought to ensure that LGBTQ+ students can speak out and feel safe and present in their schools and communities. He was voted Jack Britt High School’s Outstanding Senior and is in the Math, Science, and National Honor Societies. Tristan’s goal is to be a lawyer and politician with a focus on instituting formal sex education that is inclusive of LGBTQ+ communities.

“The Sandhills PRIDE Scholarship celebrates exceptional young LGBTQ+ advocates throughout the Sandhills area,” says Lauren Mathers, Executive Director of Sandhills PRIDE. “These students are our future leaders and represent the brightest and best of our community through their academic achievements, community engagement, and their commitment to LGBTQ+ advocacy.”

The Sandhills PRIDE Scholarship winners will be honored at a reception to be held at The Country Club of Whispering Pines on May 15 from 3 to 5 p.m. Three past scholarship awardees, Noah Ambrose, Madelaine Bradley, and Alara Hainer, will be attending the reception to share their experiences and achievements since receiving their scholarships and to present the 2022 scholarship awards to these exemplary recipients.

Tickets for the reception are $50 and support the Sandhills PRIDE Scholarship program, their Safe Zone trainings, PRIDE Community CARE partnerships, and advocacy, events, and activities designed to broaden support and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community and allies in the Sandhills region.

For tickets and information use the link below or email at: [email protected]

Scholarship information and tickets:

Feature photo: Katelyn Ann Barr (left), Tristan Matthew Southerland, and Molli Crawford.

Courtesy photo/Contributed.

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