Sandhills PRIDE Scholarship awardees Katelyn Ann Barr, Molli Cranford, and Tristan Matthew Southerland, as well as former scholarship recipients, Madelaine Bradley and Airman First Class, Noah Ambrose, shared their experiences as advocates for the LGBTQ+ community at the 2022 Sandhills PRIDE Scholarship Reception. The event was held this past Sunday, May 15, at The Country Club of Whispering Pines. Presenting Sponsors, Nikki Bowman and Jessica Rowan, from Realty World-The Nikki Bowman Team and Manifest Boutique, were also award presenters.
“I was so moved by the speeches from these amazing young people,” said Nikki Bowman, one of the event’s sponsors. “To see them already taking action to create change in their worlds now, and hear their goals for the future, is truly an inspiration to me and my teammate, Jessica, to do all I can as an ally to support them, and Sandhills PRIDE, in their work for equality for the LGBTQ+ community here in the Sandhills.”
During the event, both presenters and recipients spoke to the attendees about the difficulties faced by many LGBTQ+ individuals, especially in their schools. All had faced challenges they had to overcome to become the advocates for their community that they have become.
“Standing here in front of you all, I know that a part of why I am here is because of the fact that I have faced and dealt with issues and made actions solely because I am a member of those ‘others’ who have been pushed to the margins,” said award recipient, Tristan Southerland, in his acceptance speech. “As a gay, feminine man in the south, never have I chosen to be pushed to the margins, but like my insightful parents have told me time and time again — it’s not what you respond with, it’s how you respond to it.”
Funds raised from the event will go to support future scholarship awards as well as Safe Zone trainings for schools, PRIDE Community CARE partnerships, PRIDE Youth programs, and advocacy, events, and activities designed to broaden support and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community and allies in the Sandhills region.
“I was completely blown away by the incredible maturity and vision of these recipients,” said Lauren Mathers, Executive Director of Sandhills PRIDE. “These kids are fierce and are already using their voices for equality. I know they will be leaders in our community and our world in the very near future and I am excited to see the change they will create.”
2022 Sandhills PRIDE Scholarship Recipients:
Katelyn Ann Barr — $5,000 awardee
Katelyn (She/Her) attends Cumberland Polytechnic High School in Fayetteville, NC. She plans to attend UNC-Chapel Hill as a Biology/Pre-med major.
Molli Cranford — $2,500 awardee
Molli (She/Her/They/Them) attends Richmond Senior High School in Rockingham, NC. They will be attending University of Alabama-Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama
Tristan Matthew Southerland — $2,500 awardee
Tristan (He/Him) attends Jack Britt High School and Fayetteville Technical Community College in Fayetteville, NC. He plans to attend Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute) in
The Presenting Sponsors for this event were Realty World~The Nikki Bowman Team and Manifest Boutique. The Supporting Sponsor was First Capital Bank.
Feature photo: Sponsors and scholarship recipients pose at the Country Club of Whispering Pines on May 15. Contributed photo.