1st Josh Hall Memorial Scholarships awarded, honors late Mathis special education instruction

By Jessica Vaughn
Education Editor
jessica@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 6/30/22

LOXLEY — On Thursday, June 23, the first-ever recipients of the newly formed Josh Hall Baldwin Proud Memorial Scholarships were awarded during the Baldwin County Board of Education work …

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1st Josh Hall Memorial Scholarships awarded, honors late Mathis special education instruction

Posted

LOXLEY — On Thursday, June 23, the first-ever recipients of the newly formed Josh Hall Baldwin Proud Memorial Scholarships were awarded during the Baldwin County Board of Education work session. Recipients were Gwindolyn Collins, CNP worker at Elsanor Elementary School, and Bailey Cox, daughter of two Baldwin County school employees. Both Collins and Cox will pursue a teacher certification program.
The scholarship is named in honor of Josh Hall, former special education instructor at Mathis Elementary School in Foley. Hall tragically lost his life last October in a car accident at the age of 24. He was attending college to receive his elementary education certification, following in the footsteps of his mother, Angie Hall, principal of Fairhope Middle School, and his brother Phillip.
Shannon McCurdy, principal of Mathis Elementary and former teacher at Robertsdale High School, has known the Hall family for many years. She remembers Josh Hall during his time at Robertsdale High, where he often volunteered his time in the special education classroom.
When looking to hire a paraprofessional in the special education classroom a few years ago, she knew she had to contact Hall when his application came across her desk.
"He treated everybody the same," McCurdy said. "He had the kids smiling, he had the kids laughing. Last year I said, 'Josh, I've got a group of at-risk kids and I need you to mentor them, I need you to be a role model,' and he said, 'Absolutely, anything you need.' And he was just a natural. He built a relationship with them, he mentored them, he was such a positive light in their lives, that I knew he was on course for where he needed to be. He was going back to school, he was getting his elementary education certification, and he was right on track."

The scholarship in his honor will be given to one teacher and one student at Baldwin County schools each year. Recipients must be an employee who is enrolled in a teacher certification program or an employee's child who is enrolled in a teacher certification program.
The Josh Hall Memorial Scholarship is funded through the Baldwin Proud Future Teacher Scholarship program. The program began two years ago to recognize Baldwin County graduates who were pursuing degrees in education fields. The first year saw four scholarships awarded. This year eight graduating students received scholarships.
Through donations, the fund grew to include scholarships for Baldwin County employees pursuing teaching certifications.
With the remaining funds, the Josh Hall Memorial Scholarship was created.
"We are determined to keep Josh's memory circulating throughout Baldwin County, and we are going to continue this scholarship every year," said Tiffany Wilson, BCBE human resources director. "We are going to place a plaque in Fairhope Middle School in honor of Josh, and each year we will add the names of the people who received the scholarship."
"To those of you who are receiving this scholarship, just know you have some big shoes to fill, because Josh was so well loved," McCurdy said to the first recipients. "Don't push back on your passion. Follow your passion, follow your dreams, and just stay the course."

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