CONYERS - Zora Duncan, a senior at Rockdale County High School, was named the $3,000 Grand Prize winner of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship presented by The Hambrick Foundation. The presentation was made Sunday at the foundation’s inaugural banquet at Cherokee Run Golf Club.

The Hambrick Foundation was formed three years ago by Rockdale County Pastor and Board of Commissioners Chief of Staff Corey K. Hambrick Sr. Through programs such as “Thinking Under Fire,” the scholarship essay contest and the chivalry program, the goal of the foundation is to help young people lead successful, fulfilling lives by introducing new perspectives, provoking thought and empowering them to venture beyond what they once imagined.

Seniors in the Rockdale County School System were encouraged to send essays to the foundation, with the top three finalists winning scholarships based on their essays and community service that embodies Dr. King’s “The Dream.” The essays were to focus on equality and equity, a commitment to nonviolence, advocating for civil rights, pursuing equity in education for all, world-wide peace, respect for others, a dream of a better tomorrow, and the eradication of poverty.

Duncan attends classes at the Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology. Her work, both as a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) student, had earned her numerous honors, awards and recognition on local, state and international levels, including being named a Furman University Scholar, National AP Scholar, and a recipient of the Chinese Cultural Exchange Research Trip.

Duncan is committed to service in her community. She is a member of the Rockdale Youth Action Team, Rockdale County Juvenile Court/Teen Court, and volunteers with the Rockdale County Autism Support Group’s “iCan Shine Bike Camp.” She works with nonprofits to raise funds, conduct food and clothing drives, and help the less fortunate in the community. Duncan also tutors younger students at elementary and middle school levels in English, Mathematics and Research.

Sophie Mosley, a senior at Heritage High School, won the $1,500 second place scholarship. Mosley is active in school and her community. At Heritage she is a part of the Fine Arts Academy, president of the National Honor Society, vice president of Student Council, and a Teen Court judge. She volunteers with special needs students in Rockdale County, and also volunteers her time and talents in the arts and photography to her school.

Vanessa Armand, a senior at Salem High School, won the $1,000 third place scholarship. Armand attends classes at the Rockdale Career Academy and is a dual enrollment student in the Public Safety pathway. She is involved in several community service organizations and school clubs, such as Future Business Leaders of America, student government, and the Rockdale Task Force. She is active in her church, and is a tutor for elementary age students.

Those attending the banquet also heard from student Anari Dixon, who took part in the foundation’s Chivalry Program for young men. The goal of the program is to encourage participants, through demonstrative sessions, to become change agents. Each session is designed to assist each participant in gaining the necessary knowledge and skills to realize, that through self-honor and exposure to new innovative ideas, they can achieve more out of life.

The mistress of ceremonies for the banquet Sunday night was retired WSB-TV news anchor Monica Kaufman Pearson. Guest speakers included Conyers Mayor Vince Evans, Rockdale County Commission Chairman Oz Nesbitt Sr., and Rockdale County School System Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts.

The keynote speaker was Rodney D. Bullard, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility for Chick-fil-A Inc., and the executive director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation. Bullard, a graduate of Redan High School in DeKalb County, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Duke Law School, served as an assistant United States attorney prosecuting complex criminal cases before joining Chick-fil-A.

Bullard encouraged everyone to invest in their youth and community.

“You never know what your investment will return,” he said … “Only you have this gift to give. Only you have this word to give.”

The Hambrick Foundation also gave out several awards during the banquet. Janice Morris of Helping Hands Clinic was presented with the Humanitarian Award for her work throughout the community.

Georgia Power was presented with an award for Community Engagement for its assistance with the foundation’s Chivalry Program. William Cunningham accepted the award.

Hambrick praised Jeff Beach and The Beach Foundation for his fellowship and encouragement toward the development of The Hambrick Foundation.

“Cultivation is a process by which we upset the now so that we can cast seeds for the future,” said Hambrick. “This individual has done many things in the community, but his heart is always consistent to help mankind.”

Hambrick presented Beach and his family with the Cultivator Award.

Senior Reporter

Born and raised in Decatur, Ga. Graduated from Shorter College in Rome, Ga. in 1979 with B.A. in Communications. Worked in community newspapers for 26 years. Started at Rockdale Citizen/Newton Citizen in January 2016.

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