COLUMBIA — The Minority Men’s Network awarded Breosha Williams its annual Ron Marley Memorial Scholarship.
“I was really surprised that I got it,” Williams said.
The 2010 Hickman High School graduate went through a file cabinet full of scholarships at her school and filled out all the ones she was eligible for. She said she by the time she graduated, she had all A's, something she hadn't done before.
“I think that whenever you work hard, it’s nice to be able to see it pay off,” Williams said.
Williams worked at the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts her junior year and now works in food service at Boone Hospital Center. She pays for her own gas and phone bill and plans to help her parents pay for her college education. She said the jobs have taught her to appreciate everything she has.
Along with a friend, Williams started a program in January to teach children how to sew. The program expanded from one student to ten, Williams said.
“It’s crazy at times, but they have fun and that’s all that matters,” Williams said. “And they learned how to sew.”
In the fall, Williams will attend Stephens College, where she plans to major in fashion design and business.
“I have my own designs,” Williams said. “I want to be a designer and have my own stores.”
Williams received $1,000 from the Minority Men’s Network and was honored at a luncheon Friday, June 18, at the University Club.
Group member Steve Calloway attended the “fantastic” reception for Williams.
“She’s an outstanding young woman,” Calloway said.
The scholarship selection committee chose Williams after reviewing applications and essays from several Columbia high school seniors.
Eliot Battle and Arvarh Strickland started the organization “to take up some of the issues to ensure equity among minorities,” Robert Ross, the organization's president, said. “Through our development, we created a scholarship fund.”
This year marks the eighth year of the Ron Marley Memorial Scholarship Fund and the network’s 12th scholarship award.
“Back in 1997, Ron Marley saw a need for some type of educational assistance and he suggested that we start up a scholarship fund,” Ross said. “He placed $200 on the table to get it started, and some of the members followed suit that day.”
Then, in 1999 Marley and four of his family members died in a car accident around Christmas time. Marley’s son, Jean Paul Marley, survived and personally asked the group to develop a scholarship. He then helped present the first award.
“That was very special, and we felt it was a connection that was very important for us and for him,” Ross said.
Requirements for the scholarship include a 3.0 GPA, participation in activities that demonstrate leadership potential and acceptance at a university or college. The Minority Men’s Network also considers the element of need, Ross said.
Williams fulfilled the requirements. She said her motivation to work hard comes from a desire for success in her career.
“I want to be able to wake up and go to my job and like it,” Williams said. “I don’t want to regret all the things I could have done a long time ago.”