KFC Foundation Scholarship Recipient Attends Troy University

Posted: Thursday, 30 August 2007

DOTHAN – Popcorn chicken and potato wedges are helping to fund a Troy University student’s education. Seth Michael, of Dothan, is the recipient of the prestigious KFC Colonel’s Scholars Scholarship for Alabama. The award, which is presented annually by the KFC Foundation, will provide a total of $20,000 over the next four years.

Dothan entrepreneur Charles Nailen and his wife, Kay, own 32 KFC stores and 7 Taco Bells. As a franchisee and a member of the Troy University Board of Trustees, Nailen was doubly proud to present the scholarship to Michael, who is majoring in general studies at the Dothan Campus. Nailen also serves as chairman of the TROY Foundation Board of Directors.

“Seth has great grades. He has great extra-curricular activities at his school and he has great community service,” Nailen said. “He is just an all-around great young man that anyone would be proud to call their son.”

Michael graduated from Abbeville Christian School with a 3.95 grade point average. In high school, he served as captain of the football team and volunteered as statistician for the school’s basketball and baseball teams. His byline also appeared in the Abbeville Herald, where he wrote a weekly sports column.

An active participant in the Drama, Key and Senior Beta clubs, Michael was also a member of ACS’s award-winning Math Team. He earned second place honors in a statewide oratory contest his 10th grade year.

In all, Michael received college scholarship offers totaling more than $110,000. In addition to the KFC scholarship, he received the Broughton W. & Marion R. Connell Memorial Scholarship, which pays full-tuition and fees at the Dothan Campus for four years. He also received the Horatio Alger Scholarship and awards from the Jimmy Rane Foundation, Wal-Mart and the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority.

Michael credits his success to his mother, Donna Clemmons.

“Growing up, they tried to label me with a learning disability or ADHD,” Michael recalled. “My mom wouldn’t let them. She took me out of school and homeschooled me. We focused on reading and comprehension skills.”

Homeschooling was not easy for Clemmons, a single parent who is paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair; but her sacrifices and her emphasis on phonics paid off. Michael was able to return to school the following year at grade level.

“It took a lot of work and dedication,” Clemmons said. “We never had an afternoon where we watched TV. We focused on homework. My children enjoyed doing homework.”

With his grades, extra-curricular involvement and scholarships, Michael could attend most any university. Clemmons, who recently earned her Master’s in Business Administration at Troy University, is pleased that her son chose her alma mater.

“When I was a student, he had the experience of being in class with me both in Dothan and Troy; and he got to meet some of my professors,” Clemmons said. “I think that is one reason he decided to attend Troy University.”

Remaining at home, at least for now, is helping Michael adjust to college life.

“Because I had struggled in the past, I wanted to ease into college,” he noted. “I wanted the structure and the stability of being at home.”

Michael and his mother are grateful to KFC.

“I want to thank them with all my heart,” he said. “It means everything to me that they were willing to pick me as their recipient.”

Michael plans to become a mechanical engineer. Someday he hopes to work at Farley Nuclear Plant. He says he would also like to establish a charitable foundation to help another student attend college.

For information about the KFC Colonel’s Scholars Program, visit http://www.kfcscholars.org/