(Above) Members of the Classes of 1952 and 1953 presented their donation to the Arland D. Williams, Jr. Scholarship during a class assembly at Williams Elementary School. (Pictured, L-R) Denise Titus (Assistant Principal, Williams Elementary School), Jack Collinsworth (classmate), Ed Dowling (classmate), Helen Dowling (classmate), Gayla McDaniel (scholarship distribution committee member), Kris Maleske (Principal, Williams Elementary School)
During their final class reunion, the Mattoon High School Classes of 1952 and 1953 recently made the decision to distribute the remaining funds in their reunion account to the Arland D. Williams, Jr. Scholarship Fund. The gift of $1,000 was presented to scholarship committee member Gayla McDaniel during an assembly at Williams Elementary School in May. Upon receiving the gift, Gayla expressed her gratitude to the classes for their continual support of the scholarship fund: “The Classes of 1952-1953 have been incredibly loyal to the legacy of Arland D. Williams, Jr. Throughout the years at each class reunion they would ‘pass the hat’ for donations to the scholarship fund, always making sizable contributions in their fellow classmate’s memory. This major donation to the scholarship fund marks the end of an era; not only of continual tributes by these classmates, but the end of an era of recognizing what a true hero is in our country. Our world today doesn’t show loyalty in this manner.”
The Arland D. Williams, Jr. Scholarship provides financial assistance for Mattoon High School graduates majoring in the field of finance, banking, accounting, economics or computer sciences. The scholarship honors the memory of the late Arland D. Williams, Jr. who graduated from Mattoon High School and became a well-known example of extraordinary heroism when his actions saved five people after a 1982 airplane crash in Washington D.C. His selfless actions cost him his life but his heroism lives on.