Andrew Smith II, a Liberty County High School graduate, is the 2019 and final recipient of the Friends of Joe Watkins Memorial Scholarship.
Smith plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in animal science at
Fort Valley State University and then transfer to the University of Georgia to
become a veterinarian.
“My field of study after high school relates to my deep love of all animals,” he said.
After completing his education, Smith hopes to establish a clinic and cattle ranch on family property in Long County. During high school, he volunteered at a local veterinary clinic, was in student council, 4-H Horse Club, Future Farmers of America and numerous other school, civic and religious groups.
He also played baseball, which is one of the requirements of the scholarship, which is named for Joe Watkins, a 2011 LCHS graduate and baseball player, who was attending Georgia Southern University when he died in a car accident that year.
Since then, Watkins’ friends and family have raised funds for the scholarship through an annual flag football tournament and personal donations. Enough money was raised to give one or two students $1,000 each year. Both Liberty and Bradwell graduates were eligible.
“We’ve given 13 scholarships over the years,” Jan Williams, Watkins’ mother, said. “We’d like to keep it going, but with Joe’s friends and tournament supporters now spread across the country we can’t fund the scholarships.”
The committee decided to give the remaining money in the fund to the Liberty County Recreation Department, she said.
Brandon Whitmore, LCHS head baseball coach and one of Watkins’ friends and tournament organizer, presented the scholarship to Smith at the school’s awards ceremony on May 8.