MLK, Jr. Scholarship Fund C-Local Article (1)by Michael BromkaBy Michael Bromka Carlsbad’s own Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Fund continues. College-bound students have been receiving one-time cash grants for 34 years. The COVID-19 pandemic has precluded traditional public events this year. But the 2021 award of MLK, Jr. scholarships will occur on schedule. Donations to the MLK, Jr. Scholarship Fund ensure that worthy local scholars will receive a fitting award. Year by year, the number of awards varies according to how generous local folks are in support. Last year, six awards of $500 each were disbursed by the Carlsbad Foundation –who manages money and paperwork for the MLK, Jr. Scholarship Fund. Already this year, the Carlsbad Foundation has held virtual workshops for eager applicants from our four southern Eddy County high schools –Carlsbad, Loving, Jefferson Montessori, and Early College High School at NMSU-C. Any eligible senior who missed those workshops can be briefed by school counselors who recorded the Zoom events. The application window for this year’s awards is nearly upon us: Monday 1 to Sunday 14 February. All applications and essays must be submitted online at the Carlsbad Foundation’s website.The MLK, Jr. Scholarship Fund began in 1986 with a well-attended service in the First Presbyterian Church, whose pastor then was Gene Harbaugh. Subsequent hosting congregations have been First Assembly of God, Calvary Assembly of God, First Baptist, First Christian, Pilgrim Rest, and Latter Day Saints.Individuals without a strong church affiliation, suchas the late Bob Scholl, stillhe strongly supported rewarded aspiring scholars whose volunteerism is ever a boon to Carlsbad and Loving. Among other founders of the MLK, Jr. Scholarship Fund were Julia and Captain James Williams, and LaWanda Scholl. Inthat first year, Julia recalls collecting enough cash to grant just one $250 award. The young woman who received –Patricia Lee-went on to graduate from NMSU in computer science. In California she worked five years for IBM and then opened her own business. Then as now, the committee weighed each applicant’s academic promise, financial need, volunteer service to community, and the personal essay. “It’s funny how frightened some students were of that essay,” says Julia. “Filling out an application but writing no essay gets you nothing.” Julia urges each scholar to read up on MLK, Jr’s life. The essay might be inspired by reading any of Dr. King’s essays, sermons, or speeches. A conscientious scholar could closely observe a documentary about Dr. King.“But put in effort and originality. Don’t just wing it. Please no rambling about dreams –‘Dr. King had a dream and I have a daydream.’ Give us context. How did Dr. King’s words and work specifically inspire your own service?”To be eligible, a student must have maintained a G.P.A. of at least 2.5 –not a high bar. Financial need is significant. The application lets each scholar document extensive local volunteer work with church, city, or private charitable endeavors. These will show an applicant’s sincerity –walkin’ the talk.From its inception, Carlsbad’s MLK, Jr. Scholarship Fund has been ethnic-inclusive. No particular skin color is required. Dr. King worked to liberate all Americans from ignorance, poverty, and discrimination. Thus, awards are available to worthy and financially needy scholars of every hue and ethnicity –Black, Hispanic, Anglo, the whole array of God’s children.When not shut down by pandemic, the MLK, Jr. Scholarship Fund Committee offers many local events. Usually there are Prayer Breakfast, Banquet, Church Service, March, Picnic and MLK, Jr. Scholarship Fund C-Local Article (2)by Michael BromkaIntermediate School Talent Show. Despite the absence of events this year, famed local singer Reverend Voncile King urges us all to donate.“COVID has clipped our wings and cooped us up. But young folks still seek an education. It’s our public duty to donate and encourage them!”LaWanda Scholl thanks a dozen local folks who already have donated nearly $500 to the MLK, Jr. Scholarship Fund in her late husband Bob Scholl’s name. “Bob would feel so grateful and honored by how his friends are keeping Dr. King’s dream and work alive, funding the scholarships.”Donations online can be made at the website www.carlsbadfoundation.org. Just use the search bar and type Martin Luther King to get started with your credit card. Folks who prefer to donate via check should write “MLK Scholarship Fund” in the memo line and “Carlsbad Foundation” in the to-line. The postal address is Carlsbad Foundation, 114 S. Canyon St., Carlsbad NM 88220-5733. Questions can be phoned to 575 887-1131.