Marleigh Hayes from Fayetteville has been named the 2021 Nancy M. Wood Scholarship winner and will enroll this fall at Hendrix College with the $6,000 scholarship grant. She feels called to study toward her goal of attending seminary.
As an active member of Sequoyah UMC in Fayetteville, AR, and the only student on the Ozark Mission Project committee, she gave 40 hours to OMP this past year. Marleigh has also been a lead teacher for Vacation Bible School at Sequoyah and a member of the Conference Council of Youth Ministries. Graduating with honors from the New School in Fayetteville, Marleigh is the daughter of Stacy Hayes.
This past year, Marleigh had an essential role in raising over $30,000 for the Northwest Arkansas Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for blood cancer research.
Marleigh's application essay described her developing education as she learned about the Black Lives Matter movement and confronted everyday racism in America. She grappled with the UMC motto, "open hearts, open minds, open doors." As she studied Wesley's last letter and his disapproval of the condition of slavery, Marleigh believes she is "not a finished project, but I will not become complacent. I will continue to grow in my beliefs."
The Nancy M. Wood Scholarship was established in 2015 by her family and friends and is managed by The Methodist Foundation for Arkansas. The scholarship is awarded annually to an Arkansas United Methodist young woman who has demonstrated her commitment to her church and community. The goal is to encourage lifelong female lay service to the United Methodist Church.
Applications for the 2022 Scholar are currently available on the Arkansas Conference's website. The deadline to apply is January 31, 2022.