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The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local 1408 Scholarship Fund awarded $40,500 in scholarships to 20 area high school seniors and college students during a ceremony today at Edward Waters University (EWU). The ILA Local 1408 Scholarship Fund is affiliated with labor union ILA Local 1408, which represents many of the longshoremen and dock workers who move cargo through JAXPORT’s terminals.
Established in 1995 by Jacksonville native Charles Spencer, the ILA 1408 scholarship program has awarded nearly 1,000 scholarships totaling more than a million dollars throughout its 28-year history. Many recipients are first-generation college students.
“It is a blessing to be able to provide scholarships to deserving students every year,” said Spencer, who has served Jacksonville’s port community with the ILA for the last 60 years. “When I started this Fund nearly 30 years ago, my goal was to provide scholarships to students and families in need. I’m so proud of how much we have generously given back and its multi-generational impact on our community.”
Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan served as the keynote speaker. “I want to thank and congratulate each one of the scholarship recipients. You’re here today because of your unwavering hard work and dedication to your community. As I look out across this audience today, I am inspired to see the faces of Jacksonville’s future leaders,” Mayor Deegan said.
To be considered for the scholarship, applicants were required to have a minimum 3.0 GPA, complete community service activities and submit an essay. One of this year’s recipients, Paxon School for Advanced Studies graduate Synihia Campbell, received a perfect score on her submission, earning her a $5,000 scholarship.
“In my household, my sister and I are in college and with the help of this scholarship, it’s less of a burden for us,” Campbell said. “The scholarship is so important to me because it is helping me focus on the educational aspect of school rather than the financial so I can push forward with my dream of being a nurse.”
Students interested in applying for a scholarship through the Fund next year can apply online starting the first week of February 2024 at ilascholarshipfund.org. Donations can be made on the fund’s website.
ILA 1408 is a local chapter of the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO, the largest union of maritime workers in North America, representing upwards of 65,000 longshoremen on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, Great Lakes, major U.S. rivers, Puerto Rico and Eastern Canada. Local 1408 helps connect more than 1,100 men and women with jobs at JAXPORT. Opportunities for these members continue to grow along with the port.
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Sponsors of the scholarship include ILA 1408; Rowe Family Charitable Fund; Container Maintenance Corp.; JAXPORT; SSA Marine; South Atlantic & Gulf Coast Districts ILA; First Horizon Bank; ILA International; Morgan Stanley; Barnett & Associates; Lambos Firm; Smith, Gambrell & Russell; Wood, Atter & Wolf PC; Moseley, Pritchard, Parrish, Knight & Jones; Clerks & Checkers Local 1593; Marrinan & Mazzola Mardon, PC; Willard & Pamela Payne; The LEVELS Agency, LLC; Bank of America; Franz Wallace; Pacific Income Advisors; Schultheis & Panettieri, LLP; Cornerstone Financial, LLC; Gallagher Insurance; Pension Board Consultants; and Charles F. Spencer.