Pro-Life students at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, have an active presence on campus. The Pro-Life student group, Lumberjacks for Life, works to bring the Culture of Life to their community. In 2009, Lumberjacks for Life embarked on an exciting initiative when they became the first Pro-Life group in Texas to establish a scholarship for pregnant and parenting students.
Pro-Life scholarships like the one offered by Lumberjacks for Life are a powerful example of a truly Pro-Life community. Lumberjacks for Life member Jessica Michalowski explained to Texas Right to Life in an interview, “The recipient [of the scholarship]can be female or male. We distribute this scholarship to someone whom we feel needs it. They choose to keep going to college while being parents. To us that is so important because it is hard to do and to balance.” The student who received the most recent scholarship was Jessica’s classmate, and Jessica described how impressed she was to see the student finishing school, ultimately graduating, while working and caring for a baby.
In addition to addressing the often pressing financial needs of pregnant and parenting students, the scholarship is a way of showing support and acceptance for students facing the challenges of caring for children while finishing their education. Katelyn Ford, the 2016-2017 president of Lumberjacks for Life, explained that a large part of choosing who receives the scholarship is hearing the stories of students who choose Life. Knowing that their peers recognize their struggles and support them can make a tremendous difference in a pregnant or parenting students’ decision to finish their education.
The first-in-the-state scholarship funded by the Lumberjacks for Life has been near and dear to Texas Right to Life. Fellows such as Katelyn Ford in the Dr. Joseph Graham Fellowship for College Pro-Life Leaders have spearheaded the ongoing success of the Lumberjacks for Life, and Texas Right to Life’s current General Counsel and Political Director Emily Cook was a founding member of the scholarship at SFA in 2009. After the success of the Lumberjacks for Life scholarship, Texas Right to Life Fellows have established scholarships at four other universities: Texas A&M, Angelo State, the University of Texas at Arlington, and the University of Texas at Austin.
This year is the first time Lumberjacks for Life has not been able to fully fund the Pro-Life scholarship. The Lumberjacks for Life group fundraises each year in a variety of ways, including mailers to former members, a masquerade dance, and murder mystery performances. In light of the shortfall this year, the incoming officer team is already brainstorming new events for next year to boost the club’s success. In the meantime, the group’s leaders are determined to set the group on track to expand the scholarship program next year. They’ve launched a Pro-Life t-shirt fundraiser to ensure that in years to come the Lumberjacks for Life will continue to empower pregnant and parenting students through their scholarship.
Support the Pro-Life work of Lumberjacks for Life by purchasing a t-shirt today. The shirts carry the life-affirming words of Dr. Seuss: “A person is a person no matter how small.” Whether or not you live in Nacogdoches, you can proudly wear this Pro-Life message. Your purchase goes toward empowering pregnant and parenting students at SFA.
For more information about Lumberjacks for Life, visit their t-shirt webpage.