The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local 1408 Scholarship Fund awarded a record $46,500 in scholarships to 21 area high school seniors and college students during a ceremony recently at Edward Waters University (EWU). The fund is affiliated with labor union ILA Local 1408, which represents many of the longshoremen and dock workers who move cargo through JAXPORT’s terminals.
The award is the largest annual amount distributed in the ILA Scholarship Fund’s 27-year history. Established in 1995 by Jacksonville native Charles Spencer, the ILA 1408 scholarship program has awarded nearly 1,000 scholarships totaling more than a million dollars.
“It is my greatest honor to support local students who deserve the opportunity to earn an education,” said Spencer. “This historic award speaks volumes about the scholarship fund’s importance to our community. We are grateful for our sponsors’ generosity as challenging times continue for many families on the First Coast.”
EWU President Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr. introduced the event’s keynote speaker, EWU Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Donna Oliver. During her remarks, Dr. Oliver provided students with strategies for college success, telling them, “You cannot change the number of hours in a day, but you can change your behavior to maximize the amount you can accomplish. You must be able to balance work and play.”
To be considered for the scholarship, local applicants were required to have a minimum 3.0 GPA, complete community service activities and submit an essay. Six of the recipients are first-generation college students.
Scholarship recipient Evanton Stanley-Hayes, a graduate of Raines High School in Jacksonville, said the award helps reduce the financial burden on his family as he pursues a computer science degree from the University of Central Florida.
“Every little bit helps,” Stanley-Hayes said. “I’m just trying to get whatever I can to go to college, so I don’t have to take out so many loans. I’m going to use the money to pay for my tuition, my books, and my meal plan.”
“This scholarship has encouraged me to strive for more,” said Paxon School for Advanced Studies graduate Ahja Butler, who currently studies Pre-Veterinary Science at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). “I know I can do anything because I am destined for greatness. We are all destined for greatness; you just have to strive for it and be persistent.”
ILA 1408 is a local chapter of the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO, the largest union of maritime workers in North America, representing upwards of 65,000 longshoremen on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, Great Lakes, major U.S. rivers, Puerto Rico and Eastern Canada. Local 1408 helps connect more than 1,100 men and women with jobs at JAXPORT. Opportunities for these members continue to grow along with the port.