Owen Russell, Miley Taylor receive Will James Scholarships

Published 7:30 pm Tuesday, August 30, 2022

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Jaine Treadwell | The Messenger
Owen Russell of Luverne is the male recipient of the 2022 Will James Scholarship. Pictured, from left, B.B. Palmer, president of the national Will James Society, Owen Russell, Amy McManigle, Zoe McManigle and Jason McManigle and Eddie Adams, Will James Society. Mike Russell, not pictured.

Local high school graduates, Owen Russell of Luverne and Miley Taylor of Henderson, have been honored as recipients of prestigious 2022 Will James Scholarships.

The Will James Society offers two scholarships each year, one to a high school female and one to a high school male. The society’s scholarship program is designed to benefit students who are planning a career or profession in the agricultural and farming world, horsemanship, veterinary, journalism and art.

“It is a real honor for a student who is pursuing a career in agriculture to receive a Will James Scholarship,” said B.B. Palmer, president of the National Will James Society. “The entire society congratulates Owen Russell and Miley Taylor as recipients of these scholarship awards and with the assurance that they are very deserving of the Will James Scholarships.”

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Palmer said Will James is best known as an author-illustrator.

“Will James was one of the most influential western artists and writers of his generation and made tremendous contributions to America’s Western heritage,” Palmer said. “This year, 2022, the entire society congratulates Owen and Miley as the recipients of the Will James Scholarships.”

Owen Russell is a graduate of Luverne High School and the valedictorian of the Luverne High School Class of 2022.  He is enrolled at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia, as a crop production major.

“Agriculture has always been my career choice,” Owen said. “I’ve lived in Luverne all my life and I’ve always been around farming. I want to be involved in agriculture and, possibly, Alabama agriculture.”

Owen’s experience in the field of agriculture has primarily been with livestock and with produce including, peas, corn, potatoes.

“My grandfather grows different kinds of produce to sell throughout the local area,” Owen said. “Being a part of planting, watching the growth and then harvesting produce is exciting because that’s how we feed our families, our country and our world. I want to be a part of all that as a student at Abraham Baldwin and in my career wherever I’m led.”

Owen expressed appreciation to the Will James Society for the scholarship and the confidence placed in him.

“I want to make them proud to have chosen me as a Will James Society Scholarship recipient,” he said.

Miley Taylor is a 2022 graduate of Charles Henderson High School and is a student at Troy University.

Her plans are to earn a general business degree with emphasis in agricultural business.

“I’ve always been interested in the farm and farm life, Miley said. “My ‘Pop’ had cattle and I learned a lot from him. I would rather ride on a tractor than in a car. I was in 4-H and really enjoyed it and learned a lot about many things related to farm life and agriculture.”

Miley was in FFA and learned to conduct meetings and the importance of contributing to discussions within large group meetings as well as small group meetings.

“I learned to think about things that are bigger than myself and to consider the thoughts and concerns of others,” she said. “I learned how choices made in agriculture here affect the world and how choices made by other countries affect our country.”

Miley is engaged and plans a May 2024 wedding.

“I graduated high school early and I’m excited about my future,” she said. “I know that I will be involved in agriculture in some way because agriculture is important to me and to all of us. I greatly appreciate the Will James Scholarship and the confidence shown by awarding it to me. I will work hard to prove that I am deserving of it.”

Palmer said the mission of the Will James Society is to promote the legacy, literature and the art of Will James, through public events, fund -assisting activities, the gifting of his wonderful books to schools, public libraries, military units, hospitals and senior facilities throughout the world as well as provide scholarships to worthy high school graduates who seek a future in the arts, literature, agriculture, ranching and veterinarian occupations.