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Two Murrah Scholars are Recipients of 2022 Leland R. Speed Scholarship for Top JROTC Cadets

June 8, 2022

2022 Leland R. Speed Scholarship for Top JROTC Cadets


Murrah High scholars and JROTC Cadets Elizabeth Hawkins and Brandon Brown are this year’s recipients of the Leland R. Speed Scholarship for Top JROTC Cadets. The two were honored at Murrah High School’s Senior Showcase and Award Ceremony in May.

The Leland R. Speed Scholarship for JROTC Top Cadets is awarded each year to the District’s overall top cadet and Murrah’s top cadet. Established by Murrah alum William VanDevender, the scholarship and fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi honors the late Leland R. Speed, a Mississippi business giant and Jackson leader who served his state and country.

“Our family was inspired to award a college scholarship in Leland Speed’s name because of his passion for continuing the education of high school students in Mississippi,” said VenDevender. “He felt that the JROTC program produced the best and brightest candidates because of their scholastics, character, and leadership qualities. Leland was a mentor, close friend, and neighbor of mine for over 25 years. He was the best example of the quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi ‘Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words’ of anyone that I have known. While he could be serious and intellectual, his sense of humor and his clever way of making a point made him so likable and a good friend.”

Each cadet will receive $5,000, which will be payable to his or her community college, college, or university. Hawkins plans to continue her education this fall at Millsaps College, and Brown plans to attend Mississippi State University.

Participating in this year’s presentation was Community Foundation for Mississippi President and CEO Jane Alexander, primary donor William VanDevender, Speed’s sons Warren and Stuart Speed, and Jackson City Council Member Ashby Foote, who facilitates support for the JPS JROTC program.