Family Establishes Flora Fourakers Scholarship at Wiregrass; Patten Seed Matches the Gift for $25,000

| April 14, 2016

fourakers scholarship

Picture: Standing left to right in front of the Ben Copeland Leadership Giving Tree honoring donors of $1000 or more:  Wiregrass Foundation South Executive Director Dr. Penelope Schmidt; Patten Seed Company President Ben Copeland; Flora Fourakers’ family Pat Denmark, Tammy Renfroe, Jo Molock, and Mickey Fourakers; Wiregrass Georgia Technical College Executive Vice President Dr. Shawn Utley.

VALDOSTA – The family of Flora Fourakers has established a scholarship fund of $12,500 through the Wiregrass Technical College Foundation South to help students complete their post-secondary education at Wiregrass Technical College.

Pat Denmark, Jo Molock, Tammy Renfroe, and Mickey Fourakers shared the story of their mother, Flora Fourakers, that led to their decision to establish the Flora Fourakers Scholarship. Fourakers was a woman who understood the limited career opportunities without a post high school education or training. Having grown up fatherless since the age of nine, she was the wife of a farmer and mother of four children.  In 1957, she moved from Lowndes to Lanier County with her family when her husband took a job as a farm manager.  At the time, little did she know Lanier County would be the place where she would invest the remainder of her 89 years of life.

Her faith in God, her determination to provide her children with opportunities she did not have, her love for family and her willingness to help others were the focal marks in her life that permitted her to imbed herself into the community. She loved her church, First Baptist, Lakeland, GA, and served faithfully through various ministries for over fifty-five years. Her affiliation with Patten Seed Company (Super-Sod), her second family, for over forty-five years and her work as a kindergarten and first grade paraprofessional at Lanier County Primary School for fourteen years gave her purpose and exposed her to the needs of others.  This is where she identified with the hurts and desires of little children that would be the catalyst for her involvement in the Peanut Butter & Jesus Ministry (PB&J) for over five years. She quietly encouraged others through a home-cooked meal, a short visit, or a greeting card in the mail.

She did not have the opportunity to go to a formal college, but educated herself on topics of interest through books and familiarizing herself with a changing world. When her husband died in 1985 and her children had moved away, she turned her focus to the community where she found a sense of accomplishment through helping and inspiring others.

The Flora Fourakers scholarship is an avenue to continue the focus on the community and help others advance their education beyond high school.  To be considered for the scholarship, a student must attend the Valdosta or Cook Campus of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College and be taking at least nine credit hours of classes. Priority is given to Lanier County residents.  The scholarship covers up to $1500 per year for a student’s educational expenses.

To double the impact of the donation, Patten Seed in Lakeland has pledged a matching amount of $12,500. Ben Copeland, President of Patten Seed, has been a longtime supporter of the College and Foundation, and serves on the State Board of Directors for the Technical College System of Georgia.  He has a longstanding history of providing scholarships and those previously established scholarships in his name will continue to be offered.  His ongoing generosity inspired the development of the Ben Copeland Leadership Giving Club represented by a continually growing emblem of a tree on the wall of Lowndes Hall at the Wiregrass Valdosta Campus.  Donors’ names appear on different colored leaves designating the level of their donations to the Wiregrass Foundation South.  The Fourakers family will now be added to that tree. With the Flora Fourakers family’s contribution and Patten Seed’s contribution, Lanier County residents have $25,000 available for their education.  Now is the time to enroll at Wiregrass!

To learn more about these scholarships or to make a tax deductible contribution to Wiregrass Foundation South, contact Dr. Penelope Schmidt at 229-293-6190 or penelope.schmidt@wiregrass.edu. To inquire about classes, call 229-333-2100.

 

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