BankSouth Foundation Scholarship Recipients

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Friday, June 14th, 2024

The BankSouth Foundation is proud to announce the 2024 recipients of the BankSouth Citizenship Award and Scholarship. This annual honor recognizes three graduating seniors from Greene County who exemplify moral courage, honesty, respect, and helpfulness in both their schools and local community. The award and scholarship aim to support their educational expenses as they move on to their chosen college or university. 

The recipients of the BankSouth Citizenship Award and Scholarship are nominated and selected by their teachers and peers. BankSouth is happy to announce this year’s recipients: Christian Smith from Greene County High School, Marisa Williams from Nathanael Greene Academy, and Ella Blythe of Lake Oconee Academy. Each recipient was presented with their award at their high schools’ senior award ceremonies.  

Christian Smith from Greene County High School will be attending Morehouse College to major in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. Smith aspires to become a marketing strategist, specializing in visual and digital prints. "I am very honored to be chosen as the recipient of the BankSouth Foundation scholarship," says Smith. "It means a lot to me that my peers and teachers believed I was deserving of this award. Often, the cost of school deters students from attending post-secondary institutions, and this scholarship will help cover a portion of my tuition. With the support of the BankSouth Foundation and other local scholarships in Greene County, I will be able to attend an institution that is ranked among the top five Historically Black Colleges and Universities." During his time at Greene County High School, Smith was active in student council, a member of The Invincible Marching Tiger Band for four years, leading the band as a Drum Major in his senior year, and made history by becoming the first male cheerleader at Greene County High School.  

Ella Blythe from Lake Oconee Academy will be attending the University of Georgia to study pharmaceutical science while also being a member of the cheer team. "I feel extremely blessed and appreciative for all the people that voted for me to get this scholarship." says Blythe. This scholarship will not only help to pay for tuition but also for other necessities such as books, housing, dining, and other expenses that come with living alone for the first time.” Throughout high school, Ella participated in all-star cheer with The Stingray Allstars in Marietta, GA, and was a member of the competition and sideline cheer teams at Lake Oconee Academy. She also volunteered at the Atlas summer camp for the past two summers and has maintained a part-time job throughout. Ella's accolades include being a 2x AP Scholar with Honors, a 2022 World Champion in cheerleading, as well as a 2022 Region Champion in cheerleading, a UGA Certificate of Merit recipient, a member of the GHSA All-State Cheerleading team for A-4A, Rotary Student of the Month, UGA Charles McDonald Brown Scholarship recipient, Elks Most Valuable Student Scholarship recipient, Business and Computer Science Pathway Completer, Summa Cum Laude graduate, and Greg Lawton Atlas Scholarship recipient. 

Marisa Williams from Nathanael Greene Academy will be attending Georgia College and State University in the fall, majoring in chemistry with a concentration in forensic science. "As a graduate of Nathanael Greene Academy, I was very excited to discover I was the recipient of the BankSouth Foundation Scholarship,” expresses Williams. “I have attended the school since kindergarten and think very highly of the faculty, so it means a lot to me that they would reciprocate the feelings by choosing me to receive this scholarship.” This award will benefit her by aiding in the financial aspect, enabling her to pursue her goals. Williams graduated as Valedictorian, President of the Beta Club, Star Student of her school, and Vice President of her class. She was also elected Miss Nathanael Greene Academy by the faculty. Throughout high school, she participated in basketball, volleyball, One-Act, Literary, and captained the cheer and tennis teams. She served as an editor of the Yearbook and spent many hours as a teacher’s aide for elementary computer classes and kindergarten Bible classes, eventually becoming an elementary math tutor. "I am very grateful for all of the help that I have received to allow me to get to this point and am looking forward to this next chapter of my life," adds Williams.