Wilkerson’s Scholars: LHS students tour Braves stadium through scholarship program

Published 8:30 am Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Nine LaGrange High School students, along with Principal Jamie Bozeman and Assistant Principal Nichelle Wimbush, were recently able to tour the Home Depot corporate office in Atlanta along with the Atlanta Braves stadium, Truist Park.

The students are part of a program called the Wilkerson Scholars at LaGrange High School.

The program was started by Home Depot Senior Vice President of Home Services Tim Wilkerson. He and his wife started the scholarship program in 2020, giving $3,500 to three African American students going off to college and it has grown ever since.

“The first two years of the program we gave out $10,000. In the last few years of the program we’ve given out $30,000,” Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson is a LaGrange native and graduate of LaGrange High, having graduated in 1986. Wilkerson played football for four years for the Grangers before moving on to Georgia Southern University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in management.

He said he was inspired to give back due to his alma mater by his late mother.

“My mom passed in 2020, so I wanted to do something to honor her. My wife and I  had been considering doing this type of scholarship program for a few years,” Wilkerson explained.

“Over the last three years, we’ve contributed $70,000 towards students going to college and this year we have made a commitment to these students that we will support them over the next four years of college for them to the tune of $150,000 total for the nine students,” he said.

Wilkerson said they started working with the nine students during their junior year, getting them exposure to college campuses and getting them to be a part of the International Baccalaureate program at a school, with the objective of helping them get academically prepared for college.

The Wilkerson Scholars include Aaliyah Connally, Yashawn Butler, Marcus Franklin, Demetri Hatten, Braylin Gilger, Makayla Wills, Kaylee Jackson, Azaleaha Straughn and Kaliea Lewis.

Wilkerson said the students go through an application process that requires a certain GPA. From there, they complete an application that includes an essay, as well as community service and leadership in school. Students are selected to be a part of the program by the school administration.

The nine students will be attending colleges of their choice in the fall thanks to the program.