BY DR. CYNTHIA SHELTON, GUEST WRITER TO THE TIMES
SANFORD – New Life Word Center Church was blessed and excited to start in memory of our Pastor, Dr. R.W. Merthie, The Dr. R.W. Merthie Memorial Scholarship was established in July 2020. My name is Dr. Cynthia Shelton, and I am honored to state that my family and I have been members of the New Life Word Center congregation since December 2009.
I am writing about the inauguration and future mission and vision of the Dr. R.W. Merthie Memorial Scholarship, honoring High School Seniors in our local Sanford community. First Lady Patricia Merthie selected a committee (Lilian Hamilton, Diane Lowery, and Carolyn Cohen) and me, Chairperson, to be the Dr. R.W. Memorial Scholarship Committee in 2020 to continue leading Dr. Merthie’s vision of continued education and excellence in the Sanford community and beyond. This vision correlates with the New Life Word Center’s mission as a ministry of excellence that ministers where healing, deliverance, prosperity, and salvation with the Love of God through every available means is foundational.
The Dr. R.W. Merthie Memorial Scholarship over the past three years has significantly impacted the lives and academic opportunities of High School Students to continue their educational goals and aspirations from the local Sanford community. New Life Word Center’s church members donate funds and advocate Dr. Merthie’s legacy for high school scholars to receive financial assistance toward their desired higher educational institution. The scholarships, funded by the New Life Word Center Church members, have to date been awarded to 13 High School Seniors from the Sanford Community to pursue their higher education.
Many recipients have gone to the following Universities: Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), Howard University, University of Florida (U.F.), University of Central Florida (UCF), Spelman College, Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), Seminole College, Bethune-Cookman University, and trade schools in Real Estate and Cosmetology. Each student performed multiple hours of community service and carried a 3.5 – 4.0 GPA. The scholarship recipients were all high school seniors selected based on an application process that included academic achievements, extracurricular involvement, and personal essays. Despite facing numerous challenges, these High School Seniors demonstrated remarkable dedication and resilience, which set them apart as deserving scholarship recipients.
Dr. Merthie, by trade, was a school principle and believed that education is a powerful tool that can break the cycle of poverty and inequality. These scholarships are a testament to his legacy and the New Life Word Center’s commitment to supporting and uplifting the youth in our community, particularly those who may not have access to the same opportunities as others.
The academic scholarship program has a broader vision to continue offering scholarships to contribute to and address the educational disparities that disproportionately affect underprivileged communities. My dream as the Chairperson is to envision, with the blessing of our current Pastor Eudell and First Lady Minister Eudell, the support and prayer of providing mentoring, tutoring, and summer career development seminars for High School Juniors and Seniors pursuing their higher education journey. We believe in God for that continued blessing for our youth.
The Dr. R.W. Merthie Memorial Scholarship program continues to be recognized for its ability to transform lives and create a ripple effect of positive change. By supporting these bright young minds, we are investing in the future of our community. Their success will inspire others and create a lasting legacy.
As previously stated, New Life Word Center achieves our mission as a ministry of excellence that ministers healing, deliverance, prosperity, and salvation with the Love of God through every available means; our church community welcomes assistance to help further our mission of educational excellence.
The scholarship program relies on our Faith denomination’s impactful contributions. New Life Word Center welcomes anyone who wishes to support the Dr. R.W. Merthie Memorial Scholarship program. Listed here are the requested sponsorships: $1,000 for Platinum; $700 for Gold; $500 for Silver; $300 for Bronze; and gift donations (amount less than requested sponsorships are welcomed).
By sponsorship, the New Life Word Center welcomes your Impactful Contribution to our community mission of Excellence for High School Students.
If you choose to do so, please get in touch with the New Life Word Center at 1311 Oak Avenue, Sanford, Florida, 32771. (407) 324-0226.