Tift County High School seniors will have access to another scholarship opportunity, thanks to a generous donation made by Holly Hall. She has donated $20,000 to honor her parents by establishing the Mr. and Mrs. G.O. Bailey Memorial Scholarship.
The $1,000 scholarship will be awarded annually for a minimum of 20 years to a TCHS senior who is interested in pursuing a career in education. Both of Hall’s parents were life-long educators in Tift County.
In 1928, G.O. Bailey was graduating from the University of Georgia with a Master’s Degree in Education, when he received a nickel telegram from Briggs Carson who was chairman of the Tift County Board of Education. Carson asked Bailey to come to Tift County to become the high school principal. Bailey agreed, and he and his wife Hazel Humber Bailey moved to Tifton. For $65 per month, he became not only the principal, but also a classroom teacher and athletic coach for four sports. He went on to become superintendent in the county for 30 years. He then served as the Curriculum Director before moving on to Norman Park College as Dean. One of Tift County’s primary schools now bears his name.
When they arrived in Tifton, the Baileys lived in the Britt house on Tift Avenue. To help out with family finances, Mrs. Bailey formed a private kindergarten. Unfortunately, the Depression hit, and there was no money for people to pay her with. “So she was paid in chickens, eggs, milk, butter and vegetables,” Hall said. “There was no money exchanged, but they ate well.”
She became a teacher, and then principal, at Annie Belle Clark School which was located on Park Avenue. After the school building was torn down, she continued teaching at Northside. Under the direction of the Missionary Society of First Methodist Church, Mrs. Bailey also taught Sunday School to area children.
“They were early pioneers who blazed the trail of education we have today,” Hall said.
Hall continued the tradition of education and was a teacher for many years.
"The Guidance Department at Tift County High School is truly appreciative of Mrs. Holly Hall's generosity, and the opportunity she is providing to our students for years to come,” said Counselor Jean Guzman.
Students interested in applying for the scholarship must have at least a 3.0 GPA and be interested in becoming an educator. They should complete the TCHS scholarship application and provide a resume’, brief statement about his/her interest in education, letter of acceptance from an accredited college/university and an unofficial copy of SAT and/or ACT Scores.
“This scholarship will serve as a lasting tribute to a family that gave so much to education in Tift County,” said Patrick Atwater, superintendent. “The future scholarship recipients will continue to impact education, just as the Bailey family did.”
Pictured are Tift County Board of Education Chair Kim Rutland, TCHS Counselor Jean Guzman, Holly Hall and Vice Chairman John Smith. The photos of G.O. and Hazel Bailey were taken around the time they came to Tifton.