By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Dr. Annette Jones brushed away tears Friday night, as Hoke County Commissioner Tony Hunt surprised her with a special award.
Jones received the Mitch Tyler Award, named in honor of Hoke County’s first Native American school superintendent.
The committee managed to surprise Jones, who didn’t know she was there to receive the special recognition. Hunt began the presentation by speaking about her experience and dedication to helping students, before finally revealing the recipient’s name.
“This person that we’re recognizing tonight, they’ve been in education now for almost 23 years, that’s a long time,” Hunt said.
Jones has spent most of her long career in education as a guidance counselor helping countless students plan for, and achieve brighter futures. She started out as a social studies teacher at Turlington before pursuing a career as a guidance counselor. She later went on to earn a Doctor of Education (Ed.D) degree focused in educational leadership and administration from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Today, Jones serves as director of counseling at Hoke High School, and has received the student support services employee of the year award. She is nationally board certified as a guidance counselor.
The award was presented during the Hoke Native American Scholarship Association (HNASA) banquet. The HNASA held its 15th annual scholarship banquet last week at the Robert A. Wright Agricultural building in Raeford. Hunt served as the master of ceremonies for the event, which helps raise money for Native American students to pursue higher education.
The HNASA has presented more than $100,000 in scholarships to over 90 recipients over the years, and celebrated by spotlighting some of the previous recipients.
The upcoming 2022 scholarship candidates include: Justus Brewington (parents Janice and Dwight Brewington), Destiny Carter (parents Mataskha Carter and Kevin Home), Tazanna Cummings (parents Kimberly Chavis and Terry Cummings), Rebekah Hammonds (parents Tiffany and Robin Hammonds), William Henderson (parents Ashley Miller and Steve Henderson), Elijah Jacobs (parent Estela Jacobs), Darlicia Locklear (parents Felicia and Terrilen Locklear), Isaiah Campbell (parent Carolene Bullard), Summer Long (parents Karen and Michael Long), Tamarah Lowery (parents Tonya and Brian Lowery), Jade Locklear (parents Tammy Brewer and Landon Locklear), Samuel Locklear (parents Denise and Gideon Locklear), Keanna Lashawn Monroe (parents Wade and Twanna Lashawn Locklear Monroe), Emily Maynor (parents April Locklear and Eric Maynor), Ryu Tsinajinnie (parents Sherry Woolford and Jonmykal Tsinajinnie), Asianna Woods (parent Jennifer Oxendine), Harley Woods (parents Leslie and Willie Woods), K’raz McGill (parents Stephanie Lowery and Kris McGill), and Destiny Sturdivant (parent LaQuanta Godwin).
“The 2021-2022 HNASA Committee would like to say thank you to the sponsors and attendees. Because of your support, we are able to provide well deserved scholarships to the American Indian youth in Hoke County,” the program said.
The committee included Kirk Lowery, Tony Hunt, Chocajuana Oxendine, Della Maynor, Jacqueline Chavis, Tona Jacobs, Linda Revels, Rebecca O’Berry, Brandon Locklear and Leslie Locklear.
Dozens of individuals, local businesses, elected officials and churches provided sponsorships. The dinner sold out of tickets before the night of the event. After dinner from Fullers BBQ and the presentations, the evening concluded with a benefit auction of donated items to support the scholarship fund. Renferd Scott served as auctioneer.
For more information on the HNASA and how to help support Native American students, visit the group’s Facebook page.