'Lift Ev'ry Voice' Scholarship Recipients Announced


NORTH ADAMS, MA - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and Lift Ev'ry Voice Scholarship Committee Co-chairs Shirley Edgerton and Don Quinn Kelley announce the recipients of the first annual Lift Ev'ry Voice Pearl Fryar Scholarship award.

The awards will be presented at MCLA's ALANA Welcome and Award Dinner on Sept. 12, at 5:30 p.m. in Murdock Hall room 218. 

"On this 'Juneteenth celebration of the end of slavery in the United States, 'Lift Ev'ry Voice' celebrates freedom for everyone by helping young people to realize their dreams," Kelley said.

Although the selection committee originally planned to award one $1,000 scholarship, this year, they decided to make three awards. The recipients are Jackie Kelly '16 of North Adams, who will receive $1,000; Doris Behanzin '13 of Pittsfield, who will receive $500; and Bradley Gradneigo '14 of Pittsfield, who will receive a $500 award.

"Congratulation to the recipients of the first Lift Ev'ry Voice Pearl Fryar Scholarships," Edgerton said.  "Your hard work and perseverance reassures us that our future is in good hands." 

Lift Ev'ry Voice and offer this scholarship to encourage an enrolled or recently accepted MCLA student to dream larger than their previous academic success. Recipients may use the funds for any credit-bearing activity, fees, course texts or software leading to a degree from MCLA.  The funds must be expended between Sept. 1 and Aug. 31, 2013.

The scholarship is named after Pearl Fryar, who discovered later in life that he had both a talent and a passion for creating art out of trees, shrubs and found objects. Fryar is world-renowned for his garden and his topiary art. 

 "I was an average student academically; that's where I came from...then I created this garden that's international known," Fryar said. "It shows that a kid who is average academically can still make important contributions to our society. I want people to be aware of that.  I want to be able to encourage those students that don't always get the attention that may give them the courage to go after their own dreams." 

A recent graduate of Drury High School, Kelly will enter MCLA this fall, where she will major in English/communications and education.

"Although I never had straight As, I still feel like I was a pretty good student," Kelly said. "I was able to see the importance of school as well as the importance of other things, like community. I would like to combine my gift for working with children with something I love to do, which is writing."

Behanzin is a sociology major at MCLA.

"After I graduate from college, I want to become a member of the AmeriCorps Vista to help and give back to the community," Behanzin said. "The 'Lift Ev'ry Voice' scholarship will help me to open that door of opportunities and provide me with the help I need to get there."

Gradneigo majors in art and computer science at the College.

"The scholarship will help me strive toward becoming a better artist and programmer, and pay for attending college, including the supplies and books needed for art classes," Gradneigo said.

For more information about the scholarship, e-mail