Two Athens State University students were recognized on Wednesday as recipients of the second annual Bank Independent Scholarship. Jessica Cotton, a Senior from Somerville, and Kassidy Rittenberry, a Junior from Trinity, attended a reception in their honor with Athens State officials and Bank Independent representatives.
Bank Independent President Macke Mauldin, who currently serves Athens State University as Chairman of the Board of Trustees, congratulated these students on their achievements. “We’re awfully proud of you,” said Mauldin. “One of my father’s objectives in life was to help people who wanted to attend college to get that opportunity for an education.”
Mauldin explained that his father, the late Edward F. Mauldin, never graduated from college, but was a lifelong learner who deeply appreciated the value of the college experience. Mauldin added that his father believed that any exposure to college was better than none at all.
Dr. Bob Glenn, President of Athens State University, spoke about the value of assistance such as the Bank Independent Scholarship program. “None of us have ever gotten anywhere without someone’s help,” said Glenn. “Everything significant you do in life you will do with people.”
Cotton, who will graduate in December with a Bachelor’s degree in Collaborative Teaching/Special Education for grades six through twelve, hopes to work with teens in the local juvenile detention system. Rittenberry is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and plans to continue her education upon graduation. Both students praised the faculty and staff of Athens State for the quality of education they have received, the relationships they’ve developed, and the flexibility the school provides to working parents such as Cotton, who is a mother of three.
“I love Athens State,” said Rittenberry. “I grew up knowing what I wanted to do, and that was to give kids a safe haven and make a difference in their lives. This scholarship has been a blessing to me and to my parents, and will help keep me motivated. I want to thank everyone involved.”
Mauldin presented Cotton and Rittenberry with a special gift from Bank Independent and congratulated them again on their accomplishments.
“My challenge to our recipients today is to pay it forward,” said Mauldin. “Remember what we and others have done for you and pass that kindness along to others.”