college scholarship recipient and finalists featured image cap and gown

Local Grads Share Their Faith: 2021 College Scholarship Winner & Finalists

Special Feature 


Congratulations to Liz Lewis from SMIC Academy, the recipient of the Fourth Annual Birmingham Christian Family (BCF) scholarship! Lewis receives a $1000 scholarship to the college of her choice. Read her inspiring words about how her faith impacted her during her high school years.

Liz Lewis Shades Mountain Independent Church Academy“Throughout my high school career, my Christian faith has given me strength through many obstacles. However, one of the most trying occurred in November of my junior year, when I was diagnosed with an L5 stress fracture. As a softball player, the news was devastating especially since I had just had an Ulnar Nerve Repositioning Surgery in August of my sophomore year. I believed my junior year would finally be my year to play to the best of my ability without any pain or injuries. However, the injury that should have healed in two to three months turned into an eight-month ordeal and I questioned why this too had happened to me. I had already dealt with pain in my right arm for three years after being hit by a pitch. An athlete’s biggest year for recruiting is their junior year, and due to my injury, I would be unable to attend the many college softball camps that I had planned to. I wondered if I was meant to continue my softball career or give up something I loved so much. After much prayer, I sent emails to all the schools I was interested in and received several replies. By February my back was still hurting every day and when my school ball season started, I could be found cheering in the dugout unable to play. The first week in March, I visited a college that had piqued my interest. The coach who had previously attended one of my tournaments offered me a partial softball scholarship, at the end of the visit and I accepted. This occurred one week before everything was shut down due to COVID. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God knew that I would be injured through June of my junior year and that I would miss out on camps and tournaments. He also knew COVID would restrict the recruiting process and yet He provided for me. I could not be more thankful for a God who loves me so much, and I am continually reminded that “All things work together for good,” whether it is turning a major nerve injury into a tremendous blessing to become an ambidextrous pitcher or using a back injury to strengthen my relationship with Christ.”

Here are some additional inspiring words from our 2021 Finalists on how their Christian faith has impacted them. Runner-Ups Alexandra Axtell and Taylor Woodard received a $250 scholarship to the school of their choice. 

Alexandra Axtell Thompson High SchoolRunner-Up Alexandra Axtell, from Thompson High School, says “I lost sight of God and how much he cared for me. I was not sure if I was worthy of His love for a long time. After some time however, I began to notice the little things that God had created and wondered, if God can create and love every single thing on this Earth, that must mean He loves me too! After that, with the help of God, I began to dig myself out of the hole I had buried myself in. When I rediscovered God, my life changed for the better.” 

Taylor Woodard Headshot Appalachian HSRunner-Up Taylor Woodard, from Appalachian High School, says, “My faith in God throughout my high school career has been the most important structure and stronghold in my life. Whether I was in the classroom or on the softball field, He was always there keeping my mind right and my trust in Him strong.”

Hannah Lloyd Headshot Scholarship Finalist Hoover High SchoolTop Five Finalist Hannah Lloyd, from Hoover High School, shares, “I believe that everyone has a purpose in life and that God uses His children in ways that seem unimaginable in order to share the Gospel and bring glory to Him.”

Chandler Key Briarwood Christian SchoolTop Five Finalist Chandler Key, from Briarwood Christian School, says, “Even though I cannot be perfect, I can strive to be my very best and demonstrate the love of Christ to those at school and those at other schools.” 

Visit to read each finalist’s full essay! Watch for details for our 2022 Scholarship later this year! Meet our 2021 winners at the Celebrate the Family Expo! May 8 at the Pelham Civic Complex. Each will be recognized and presented their scholarship award. †

We remember Donna Speegle who served as a Scholarship Judge for us every year and joined her Savior in March. This year’s scholarships are being given in her honor. We will miss her very much and will not forget how she lived out her life for Christ and was a role model to so many!

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