Exchange club gives scholarships to students

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY -- There doesn't seem to be anything the Exchange Club of Albany likes to do better than give money to students.

Four students took home checks for their college bills totaling more than $2,500 Friday at the club's lunch meeting.

"I'm always happy to get up here and give away money," said Randy Foster, chairman of the awards committee. "Today we are going to give some scholarship money to deserving students for college."

The first award, an Accepting the Challenge of Excellence award, went to Albany High School's Amanda Morris. She had overcome nerve-wracking insomnia that gave her about three hours sleep a night to excel in school, and community activities.

She plans to use her $300 to help her go on to get a journalism degree and write for the Wall Street Journal.

The other awards of $500 each went to honor the club's Youth of the Year: Hannah Hughes of Byne Christian School; Megan Barker of Sherwood Christian Academy; and Derbin Cunningham of Westover High School.

An additional $750 went to Barker as the top Youth of the Year.

Barker and Cunningham plan to study biology with the former planning a degree in pharmacy and the latter heading to medical school. Hughes plans a major in education.

Whatever the goal, all the students humbly accepted the scholarship awards to help pay for their future college expenses.

It wasn't only scholarship money that the club offered the students, Albany attorney and club member Charles Lamb offered words of wisdom about confronting adversity in a talk after the students were seated again.

Lamb, a University of Georgia student at the time, jumped into a swimming pool and fractured two vertebrae.

"If I had not had a friend with me at the time I would have died," Lamb said. "My friend pulled me out of the pool."

Lamb spent four months paralyzed from the waist down. He underwent outpatient rehabilitation and eventually went back to school using a wheelchair.

It took him six years to finish law school, normally a three-year study. He did walk again, but he was no longer the same.

"I used to find I didn't fit in anywhere," Lamb said. "Now I feel I fit in everywhere. It isn't what happens to you -- it is what you do with it. It is all right to ask for help. It is even better to help others."

The club also gave two community organizations, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Girls Inc., checks of $500 each.