AHA names three new Riley Scholars

Winning educators earn $1,000 each for humanities-inspired projects.

Birmingham, AL | November 17, 2023

Teacher Education
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BIRMINGHAM / November 14, 2023 — The Alabama Humanities Alliance has named educators Lexia Banks, Abby Crews, and Willie Davis III as its 2023 Riley Scholars. The competitive Jenice Riley Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to K-8 educators who excel in teaching history, civics, and geography. Each Riley Scholar receives $1,000 to support creative history- and civics-related classroom projects.

Funded through the W. Edgar Welden Fund for Education, this scholarship is named in memory of the late Jenice Riley — a passionate educator and daughter of former Alabama governor and first lady Bob and Patsy Riley.

Since 2003, the Alabama Humanities Alliance has named 104 Riley Scholars and funded more than $100,000 in teacher scholarships. In 2023, at least 162 Alabamian students will benefit from these scholarship their teachers have received.


About our 2023 Riley Scholars

Lexia Banks, Magic City Acceptance Academy (Birmingham)
7th Grade, Charter School

Project: 7th Grade Trip to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
The trip will elevate the school’s Social Movements unit by commemorating the 60th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing through a tour of the BCRI. Students will leave with a better understanding of Alabama’s history and how it impacts their future.


Abby Crews, Mulkey Elementary School (Geneva)
5th Grade, Social Studies

Project: Living History Wax Museum
Students will select a person of positive influence who has significantly contributed to society from the Living History Wax Museum exhibits. After researching, learners will prepare biographical presentation boards, dress as their selected icon, and present a short speech to family and community members. Participants will increase their proficiency and skills in reading, writing, public speaking, and critical thinking.


Willie Davis III, Charles F. Hard Elementary (Bessemer)

Project: A Community of Helpers
Students will listen to “read-alouds” and receive visits from community helpers to inform them about public service occupations. Learners will increase their appreciation for civil servants through art, literature, and more as community helpers inspire them.


Support our teacher scholarships

Alabamians are invited to support these Riley Scholarships through our W. Edgar Welden Fund for Education.

To contribute:

  • Donate online and designate your contribution to the “W. Edgar Welden Fund for Education (Riley Scholarships).”
  • Send a check payable to “Alabama Humanities Alliance” and mail to:
    Alabama Humanities Alliance
    1100 Ireland Way, Suite 202
    Birmingham, AL 35205

To learn more about the Riley Scholarships, visit alabamahumanities.org/jenice-riley-memorial-scholarship. Or contact Laura Anderson, AHA’s director of partnerships and outcomes, at [email protected] or 205.558.3992.


About the Alabama Humanities Alliance

Founded in 1974, the nonprofit Alabama Humanities Alliance serves as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Through our grantmaking and public programming, we connect Alabamians to impactful storytelling, lifelong learning, and civic engagement. We believe the humanities can bring our communities together and help us all see each other as fully human. Learn more at alabamahumanities.org.