Kidz Succeed Board creates scholarship in Winstead’s memory
During a recent meeting at Little Dutch restaurant in Morristown, board members of Kidz Succeed announced the establishment of a college scholarship in memory of Noah Dean Winstead. From left are Teresa West (president), Mindy Norton Seals, Cathy Richardson, Haleigh Raye Winstead, Phil Hurst and Jessica Winstead.
The effects of personal tragedy are not limited to loved ones and friends; entire communities can reel from the shock of an unexpected loss.
The challenge for the community is then how best to convey both its support of those who experience the loss and convey a promise never to forget.
The loss of Noah Dean Winstead, age 10, to an accident during a July Fourth celebration in 2012 deeply affected the board of a local nonprofit, Kidz Succeed. The organization was formed by Hamblen County Juvenile Court Judge Mindy Norton Seals in 2008 to encourage youth who have been placed on probation to go above and beyond their court-ordered requirements.
One of the board’s most dedicated members has been Noah’s mother, Jessica Winstead, who serves as the organization’s secretary.
In February, board members invited Winstead to a social outing where they surprised her with the announcement that a $500 scholarship had been established in Noah’s name.
The scholarship will be awarded to a senior at Morristown-Hamblen High School East.
“Jessica has been our secretary almost since Kidz Succeed began. She has worked tirelessly for our youth. We have grieved with her in her loss of Noah Dean. We are honored to continue his memory with this scholarship for young adults who might not otherwise have the opportunity to further their education,” Seals said.
Staying true to the mission of Kidz Succeed, the scholarship will be used to benefit youth who have faced and overcome challenges. Requirements include that the student have a grade point average of 2.0 or higher, be in the custody of a single parent or grandparent(s) and enroll in college, technical school or cosmetology school after receiving a high school diploma. The scholarship will be presented by Kidz Succeed board members at East’s Awards Day ceremony.
“I thought I was the main communicator for our organization, but this group proved me wrong,” Winstead said. “I just can’t thank them enough for remembering Noah Dean and what an incredible way by starting a scholarship in his memory for a deserving student. It means the world to me.”
Those familiar with the outgoing, upbeat personality of Winstead were relieved when she returned to Facebook, texting and tweeting after time away following Noah’s death.
Her virtual friendship base has extended beyond the local community and across the country.
She is, as she always has been, direct and to the point about her faith and the importance of individuals banding together during challenges.
“Daily I am blessed through texts, emails or FB messages with people and their stories whether they be triumph, tragedies or both. I have rejoiced and cried along with them and it has made me realize more and more that everyone has their own struggle they are going through in life,” Winstead said in a post from her blog started in February (bendintheroad.blogspot.com). “There are usually three different kinds of people I have found. Folks who are getting ready to go through a storm, folks who are in the middle of a storm or folks who are just coming out of a storm.
“I don’t pretend to think I can help everyone but I do believe the idea that when we realize other people are going through struggles and trials and seeing them cope and deal we can give hope and encouragement to each other.”
-By Glenna Howington, Tribune Staff Writer