W-S Bar names scholarship for Hayes and Atty. Annie Kennedy

Scholarship recipients Xavier Bankhead, Jaelyn Nichols and Kimaly Dixon.

W-S Bar names scholarship for Hayes and Atty. Annie Kennedy
June 14
04:00 2018

In honor of the late Judge Roland Hayes, and Attorney Annie Brown Kennedy, the Winston-Salem Bar Association has established a $1,000 scholarship.

Since 1984, the Winston-Salem Bar Association (WSBA), which is comprised of primarily African-American attorneys and attorneys of color, has worked to promote equality, enhance professionalism and encourage educational achievement.

For many years, the annual Scholarship Luncheon has served as the associations’ capstone event. Annually, WSBA holds an essay contest and the winners are announced and provided monetary awards during the luncheon.

This year, WSBA expanded the competition to include four scholarships for graduating seniors. The Judge Roland Hayes and Attorney Mrs. Annie Brown Kennedy Scholarship was awarded for the first time to Kimaly Dixon, Xavier Bankhead, Jaelyn Nichols and Jyuana Gray.

Judge Hayes became Forsyth County’s first black District Court Judge when then Gov. Jim Hunt appointed him in 1984. Hayes was re-elected several times until he was forced to retire in 2002 because of age.

He continued to serve as an emergency judge until he died in 2013.

Attorney Kennedy, a native of Atlanta, was the second African-American woman ever licensed to practice law in N.C., and a founding member of the Interracial Democratic Women of Forsyth County. In the 1970s while running a law firm with her husband, Harold Kennedy Jr., Mrs. Kennedy was appointed then elected to the N.C. House of Representatives, where she served for 13 years. Her husband has since died.

When discussing the criteria for the essay contest and scholarship contest, Charlisa Moore Powell said the committee decided they wanted the topic to focus on something the students could relate to.

After discussing possible topics among themselves, the committee decided to focus on the recent rise in school shootings and settled on the theme; “Collective Strength: Young Voices Calling for Change,” for the graduating seniors.

Powell said after reading over the seniors’ essays, she was very pleased with their responses.

“I found their responses to be very poignant and well thought out. Based on what they wrote, I believe we are very fortunate to have these students as future leaders,” Powell said.

When she found out she was one of the recipients of the inaugural Judge Roland Hayes and Mrs. Annie Brown Kennedy Scholarship, Jaelyn Nichols, who will be attending Appalachian State University in the fall, said she was surprised because she didn’t find out about the contest until the day before her essay was due.

“I didn’t even know I won until my teacher told me at graduation,” laughed Nichols. “It makes me feel stronger and like there’s nothing I can’t do without hard work.

The underclassmen competing in the essay contest had a similar theme and were competing for a $100 grand prize. The winners in the of the essay contest were; Chao Everett, Oluwabukola Ojo, Jeremiah Reid, Leticia Valadez, Anthony Perez, Sara Parral-Sotelo, Mikya Wilkins and Sairy Garcia-Cisneros.

The keynote address during the luncheon was delivered by Forsyth County Resident Superior Court Judge Todd Burke. After congratulating the students on their accomplishments, Judge Burke told the scholars to never let anyone speak negative things into their lives.

He said, “Don’t let anyone put limitations on you. Keep away from those types of influences. As a man or as a woman thinketh, so is he or she. Think it. Believe it. Be it.”

Following the luncheon, Attorney Tina Flowers, WSBA president, said it is truly rewarding to be able to provide students with the pathway to success. She said with continued support, the scholarship amount can grow every year.

In honor of their mother, Harold III and Harvey Kennedy donated $1,000 to get the ball rolling on next year.

“It may not be $10,000 yet, but we’re able to make a significant contribution that helps a young person pay their tuition or pay for their books so they’re able to focus on their education,” Flowers said.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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