Jordan legacy thrives

Published 2:08 pm Tuesday, August 12, 2008

CONWAY – Twelve Northampton County teens are the latest to benefit from a couple’s generous ways.

Last week, the Jordan (pronounced “Jur-den”) Charitable Trust Scholarship banquet was held to honor this year’s recipients of the scholarship, which is named for Rod and Gertrude Jordan.

Kaitlyn Taylor, Martha Stockton Brown, Holly Ann Taylor, Jeb R.H. Bennett, Brodie Harrell, Parker Brown, Jessica Bolton, Roshana Ashe, Ashleigh Phillips, Jamaal Davis, Lori Coggins and John Michael Glover all received scholarships to their respective college or university.

The benefactors who started the Jordan Scholarship were deeply rooted in Northampton County.

Rod Jordan was a farmer who was raised in the Severn and Margrettsville area and Gertrude was a school teacher from the Eagletown area.

The Jordans were known for their frugal, but generous ways. They often would give away produce from their garden to neighbors in need.

And then there was the planning for a scholarship trust. In the 1980s the first two scholarships were rewarded as a test run for the trust.

Before the Jordans passed away in the early ‘90s, five friends (Elizabeth Prince-Barnes, Frank Burleson Jr., Ben Mann, Guy Revelle Jr. and Linwood Ward) were selected by the Jordans to manage the funds for the trust.

Because of the Jordans’ humble ways, the first board of trustees had $763,000 of start-up money for the trust. The first five scholarships were awarded in 1994.

For each year since, the board of trustees have selected recipients based on their grades and SAT scores, if they plan to attend a four year college or university and if they are a Northampton County citizen.

Mary Etta Flowers, Jake Campbell, Sandra Woodard and Sterling Hamilton serve on the current board of trustees for the Jordan Charitable Scholarship Trust. Barnes is the only remaining original trustee on the board.

Each trustee remembered the Jordans fondly.

“If you were one of her students, you were truly one of her children,” said Woodard about her former teacher. “She was firm, we learned that quickly, but she cared for her students.”

In 1955, Hamilton had his first encounter with Gertrude Jordan when he began work at the former Conway High School.

“I think this is the most wonderful scholarship because it’s for the children in Northampton County,” he said.

Campbell also remembered Mrs. Jordan.

“She ran a tough class, she didn’t put up with anything,” he said. “But at the same time students respected her.”

According to Flowers, $62,000 in renewed and new scholarships are being given from the trust this year.

The scholarship is renewable, meaning if students submit their transcripts showing they have kept up good grades the scholarship can be rewarded again for the rest of their four-year educational career.