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'Unsung Heroes' recognized in Athens

Fifteen students were awarded scholarships from the MTM Unsung Hero Scholarship Fund.

ATHENS, Ala. — The transition from high school to college will be a bit different this year. However, one Athens couple is making sure it's an easy one for several deserving students, by awarding them with scholarship money.

"We don't want any kid left behind," says MTM Unsung Hero Scholarship Fund Founder, Jannifer Matthews.

For sixteen years she and her husband, Gary Matthews, have made sure of it. They founded the 'MTM Unsung Hero Scholarship Fund', 'MTM' an acronym for the Matthews' childrens name, Marcella, Tristan, and Malik.

Matthews believes now more than ever it's important to invest in young adults. "I found out during this pandemic more, and more kids are just sitting out there not knowing what to do," she says.

Amauree Cain,18, is one of the fifteen recipients of the scholarship. Students are nominated by school counselors.

"I'm feeling very excited. I really didn't think I'd get a scholarship, because I really didn't sign up for none," says Cain.

Cain graduated from Athens High school with straight a's except for two b's, and will attend Calhoun College for psychology and then to Athens State University.

She decided to pursue this degree after her mother, stepfather and cousin were killed in a car crash when she was just twelve years old. She lives with her grandparents.

"I had went through a lot of things in my life, and I got through it. And I'm a very positive person now. And I love helping people because maybe somebody can get through what I got through one day. They might need my help from experience," says Cain.

Tenelya McDonald, 18, is another scholarship recipient and an Athens High School grad. She will go to Calhoun College and transfer to University of North Alabama.

"With me earning this scholarship it just made my whole world feel different for my senior year," she says. I doubted myself, I was like I don't think I will earn any scholarships. As soon as I saw my picture on there, I had earned three scholarships and I was so happy."

Next Tuesday these students will be honored by Athens Mayor,Ronnie Marks, for a 'fistbump', were students will remain in their cars with face coverings. 

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