September 3, 2021 — A group of former Columbus City Schools (CCS) employees, fondly known as the “Lunch Bunch," recently received a financial boost to support their ongoing efforts in making college a reality for African American students in the District.
The Heartland Bank Community Foundation awarded the “Lunch Bunch” a $2,500.00 grant supporting the Helen Jenkins Davis Scholarship. The scholarship, created in 1988, is named after Helen Jenkins Davis, the first black teacher in CCS. Her commitment as an educator was to mentor, motivate, and monitor the educational process and success of the city’s Black students.
“In applying for the Heartland Community Bank Foundation grant, we were excited to tell our story,” commented grant writer and organization’s Publicity Chair, Elise Jackson. “Along with our organization’s mission and purpose, we were pleased to present the many student success stories that have resulted from our scholarship awards.”
The “Lunch Bunch” is a group of African American women, mostly teachers or administrators, who wanted to stay in touch after retiring from the District. The organization, founded by retired CCS educator Catherine Willis and school administrator, the late Thelma Givens, continues the tradition of its namesake.
Since its founding in 1987, the “Lunch Bunch” has awarded more than $144,000 in college scholarships to more than 149 qualified CCS graduating seniors. “We haven’t missed a year,” said Willis. Scholarship award recipients must be college-bound African American students with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
This past year, four outstanding scholars received $3000.00 each in scholarship funds.
Scholarship chair Gwen Wade added, “Our entire organization is extremely delighted and grateful to the Heartland Bank Community Foundation for this $2500.00 award, as it will enable us to continue to provide the financial support our “in-need” students must have to realize their dream of attending college.”
Applications are typically available in the school buildings from January through March of each year. However, that timeframe is subject to change due to COVID restrictions.