SJR State welcomes new Collier-Blocker scholarship recipients
St. Johns River State College recently welcomed a new assembly of students accepted into the Collier-Blocker In-District Minority Scholarship program. During the annual luncheon, SJR State President Joe Pickens presented the students with a historical overview of Florida’s first Black junior colleges and the legacy behind the Collier-Blocker name.
The program was created in 2012 to redirect funds previously utilized to recruit student-athletes from outside the College’s service district to ultimately benefit residents of Clay, Putnam and St. Johns counties.
Pickens said the scholarship serves as an innovative solution to reach out to more minority students for the betterment of the communities it serves. "We are fulfilling a promise we made as a College," Pickens said. "We are reaching out to students who demonstrate potential and a desire to succeed - local students who, without financial support, may not otherwise be able to attend college."
The 2015-16 recipients are: Mary Givens, Stephenie Pittman and Carlesha Smith of Putnam County; Chelsea Greene, Chelcee Rodriguez and Gordon Wilson of St. Johns County; and Suren Jeevaratnam and Kennedy Preston of Clay County.
For Putnam County recipient Mary Givens, 43, the scholarship is the first step in realizing a new career in the field of nursing. Givens said her desire to pursue nursing stems from raising a child with medical needs and assisting as his patient advocate. The mother of three will begin her nursing prerequisites in the fall.
“It’s mom’s turn now,” Givens sighed with relief. “I always put my kids ahead of my own needs and made sure that they had the things they needed first. Now that I’m down to my last child in school, I feel like it’s time for me to do something for myself.”
“This scholarship means a lot,” Givens continued. “It helps me to not only further my education, but it makes possible what I could not make possible for myself. I’m very thankful to be a recipient of the scholarship, and I’m very excited about starting school.”
The Collier-Blocker Junior College offered educational opportunities for Black students from Clay, Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties from 1960 to 1964 before merging with St. Johns River Junior College in 1965.
For more information regarding the Collier-Blocker In-district Minority Scholarship, contact SJR State’s Open Campus office at 386-312-4211.
St. Johns River State College welcomes the 2015-16 recipients of the Collier Blocker In-district Minority Scholarship. First row, from left: Stephenie Pittman, Kennedy Preston, Chelcee Rodriguez and Carlesha Smith. Second row: Palatka Mayor Terrill Hill, SJR State Foundation Board member and Collier-Blocker Scholarship committee member; Chelsea Greene, Mary Givens, Suren Jeevaratnam, and SJR State President Joe Pickens. Not pictured is Gordon Wilson.
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