NAACP scholarships made available to college-bound students

ORANGE, NJ — As Black History Month begins, the Oranges-Maplewood NAACP has announced applications for the $500 Reginald T. Jeffries Book Scholarship, the $1,000 Cornelia Thompson Scholarship and three $1,000 Tuition Subsidy Scholarships are now being accepted.

The application for the C. Thompson and Tuition Subsidy scholarships must be received by the NAACP of the Oranges and Maplewood by Friday, March 25. The R. T. Jeffries Book Scholarship applications are due by Friday, May 6.

According to Oranges and Maplewood NAACP President Tom Puryear, the scholarships are merit-based and to be awarded to candidates who reside in a municipality within the Oranges and Maplewood catchment area that includes Orange, East Orange, West Orange, South Orange, Maplewood, Livingston, Millburn, Bloomfield, Belleville, Nutley and Verona. He said the application process is open to eligible students who are graduating seniors from local schools.

“Please encourage all students that you engage who met the posted criteria to submit an application for one of the scholarships,” said Puryear on Sunday, Jan. 31.

“The successful candidate shall have demonstrated outstanding community service to a non-profit organization, religious group or public service group,” Puryear said. “The scholarship shall be awarded to candidates who demonstrated financial aid need. These annual scholarships are not renewable.”

Puryear said he was pleased to be offering the R.T. Jeffries Book Scholarship again this year to qualified students. Jeffries is the uncle of former city of East Orange spokesman and publicist Darryl L. Jeffries and the brother of former Commissioner Jesse Jeffries Jr., who died Jan. 17.

“My uncle was Reginald T. Jeffries, long serving president of the NAACP of the Oranges and Maplewood,” Darryl Jeffries said Monday, Feb. 1. “The book scholarship was started by my dad to honor his brother’s legacy to the NAACP.”

The elder Jeffries was the former vice president of the New Jersey State Conference of the NAACP and, for many years, was also president of the Oranges and Maplewood Branch of the NAACP. He served as legal redress chairmen for the state conference, was an active member of the Regional Steering Committee and the National Convention Committee and was a troubleshooter for the NAACP National Office.

R.T. Jeffries was an NAACP life member; in addition, he had memberships in several civic, government and religious organizations. He also served on the autonomous Essex County Mental Health Governing Board of Service and was a member of the NJ Bell Consumer Advisory Panel.

“Although born in Orange, R.T. Jeffries resided most of his life in East Orange,” Puryear said. “Mr. Jeffries earned a bachelor of science degree from Upsala College and he attended Rutgers University for advanced training. He was always committed to enhancing the quality of life for the youth in our communities. He was a selfless warrior for the NAACP for over 35 years and his unwavering dedication to eliminating racism, while strongly advocating for equality and civil rights for African-American individuals throughout New Jersey, and especially Essex County, long ago earned him the title ‘Mr. NAACP.’ ”

Students applying for the Reginald T. Jeffries Scholarship must meet the following criteria: They must be in the last academic year of their high school pursuits; demonstrate commitment to academic excellence with a documented high school grade-point average of not less than 3.0; demonstrate active, compassionate and outstanding community service; demonstrate financial need; generate documentation that they will attend within six months an approved and accredited institution of higher education or an institution of professional development; and reside within a municipality in the catchment community.

Applications are available from the Reginald T. Jeffries’ Scholarship Committee: NAACP Oranges & Maplewood, P.O. Box 1127, East Orange 07019. The application must be received by the NAACP of the Oranges and Maplewood by Friday, May 6.
The protocols for the Cornelia Thompson Scholarship stipulate it is an annual award for only one recipient and is non-renewable. The award is $1,000 per award given directly to eligible students with a minimum grade-point average of 2.75 and two letters of recommendation from non-relatives.

Puryear said scholarship applications are available by mail from the Scholarship Committee: NAACP Oranges & Maplewood, P.O. Box 1127, East Orange 07019 or by contacting the local high school guidance department. Puryear can be reached at [email protected] or by calling 973-393-2036.