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The Mary Emily Taylor Scholarship was established in 2019 in memory of Mary Emily Taylor. 

The Mary Emily Taylor Scholarship is awarded twice a year to scholars in Lexington, KY who are working to continue their postsecondary education as a parent.

This program is in partnership with One Parent Scholar House.

         In Memory of Mary Emily Taylor

              December 1927 - July 2013

Mary Emily Marshall was born December 24, 1927 in Frankfort, Kentucky. She attended Good Shephard School with her four siblings through high school. After graduating, she became Assistant City Clerk in Frankfort. She married Joseph Lannon Taylor April 26, 1946 - exactly three months after their first date. Together they raised eight children, moving to Lexington in 1952. She is remembered by all that knew her as devote to both her Catholic faith and her family. Her home was known as a welcoming space for all and refuge for those needing comfort. Her quiet strength guided her family through many difficult times, including the untimely deaths of two sons. She was known for her wise advice, sweet tea, and famous pimento cheese. Her love and example continue to live on through her children, twenty grandchildren, and sixteen great grandchildren.

About the
Mary Emily Taylor Scholarship Recipients

nikiya and james pic.jpg

                          Melissa Johnson

               2023 Scholarship Recipient

Melissa is attending Bluegrass Community & Technical College in Lexington to continue on her path with college. Her long-time dream has been to pursue a career in nursing. On a usual day, Melissa is spending time with her son and daughter, whom she began homeschooling during the pandemic. Melissa and her children really enjoy being able to spend their days together. When Melissa's children do their school work, she is usually doing her school work, also. 


"My goal in life is to be able to help others, no matter what degree that I have. [...] I am so close to [succeeding] with a plan that I started so many years ago for a better future for my family." 

                                                         - Melissa

Nikiya McGeachy

2023 Scholarship Recipient

In addition to raising her son, Nikiya graduated in May 2023 from Eastern Kentucky University with her bachelor’s degree in psychology, with an emphasis on autism spectrum disorders. Nikiya plans to continue her education by pursuing her master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis. In the next 5 years, she plans to be finished with her degrees, and sitting for her exam to become a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst.


"I am a mother to a 15-month-old boy, whom I cherish. He is my motivation to keep pushing. [...] I have a passion to help children with autism spectrum disorder learn to communicate and thrive within their environment. For the past 4 years I have been working with children on the spectrum and love to see them progress in their daily lives and learn new skills." 

                                                         - Nikiya


                           Jessica Graham

               2022 Scholarship Recipient

Jessica is working toward her goal of becoming a RN and took her phlebotomy clinical in mid-October, 2022. It has been a long-time dream of Jessica's to work in the medical field. Her son, Tyler, is having an awesome junior year in high school. Her daughter, Skylar, is babysitting and hopes to be enrolled at BCTC next fall.


"I want to thank you so much for the life changing opportunity your scholarship has given me and my children. I’m excited to further my education and hopefully be in the nursing program by this time next year or sooner. [...] Again, thank you for the opportunity to have a brighter future." 

                                                         - Jessica

                           Lauren Clements

                2022 Scholarship Recipient

Lauren's semester started in the Fall of 2022. She is working towards her associates in science and hopes to then move towards becoming a surgical technician. Lauren has always wanted to pursue a career that would make a difference and thinks being a part of a team performing surgeries would be an amazing opportunity to do that. Lauren's daughter, who is in elementary school, is her biggest motivator!

"We are doing great and are so appreciative of this scholarship."

                                                         - Lauren


                             Leslie Reyes

               2021 Scholarship Recipient

Leslie Reyes received the Mary Emily Taylor Scholarship in 2021 to support her enrollment in the University of Kentucky Dental Assistant Program. Leslie aims to be an inspiration for her son to be successful and to know that anything is possible if you try hard enough.


"After finishing my Dental Assistant Program at UK, I got hired at UK clinic. I have been working for them for almost a year now and I'm loving it." 

 - Leslie          

                          Kimberly Stehly

                2022 Scholarship Recipient

Kimberly is currently enrolled at Sullivan University and pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Her goals are to become a Certified Public Accountant and possibly continue her education for a Master of Science in Finance. 

"The Mary Emily Taylor Scholarship has helped me tremendously while I am furthering my education. It has allowed me to focus on school and to keep achieving my goals."

                                                         - Kimberly


                          Felicia Villareal

                2021 Scholarship Recipient

Felicia is in her senior year at the University of Kentucky and is studying Clinical Leadership & Management. She has a 3.9 GPA, and hopes to have 4.0 after the Fall 2022 Semester. Felicia has been an honor student every semester for achieving good grades and great attendance. Felicia works at the Gatton Student Center as a building manager and plans to pursue work and paid internship opportunities in the medical field.


"I need to push myself to be successful because I want to set a good example to my daughter that hard work and dedication can bring great rewards. I also want to show my family that seeking out higher education is worth the time and effort since I am the first in my family to achieve more than a high school diploma. I have realized over time that the only obstacle that is standing in your way from achieving something more is yourself."

                                                         - Felicia

                           Kahlilah Mitchell

               2021 Scholarship Recipient

Kahlilah plans to walk in May of 2023 for her Associates in Arts degree! Her goal is to continue her education and pursue her masters degree. Kahlilah works at BCTC as a student assistant to be more involved and loves it! Her son is now two. He can talk a lot more and is growing to be more and more independent.


"We are doing great! PUSHING IT TO THE LIMIT AS ALWAYS. [...] Thank you guys so much!!"

                                                         - Kahlilah


                               Caci Hisle

                2019 Scholarship Recipient

In May 2021, Caci graduated with an associate degree in Arts and an associate degree in Science from BCTC. In December of 2021, Caci graduated from the University of Kentucky with a bachelors degree in Medical Laboratory Science. On August 1, 2022, Caci started her first semester at the University of Kentucky's College of Medicine. In May of 2026, she will become Dr. Caci Hisle. Caci also sits on the BFF Board of Directors.

"I am currently still using the laptop I received as part of the scholarship and would be lost without it! My daughter is now 7 and in the 1st grade."

                                                         - Caci

                           Tierra Jackson

                2020 Scholarship Recipient

Tierra is completing her business degree and is currently training to be an assistant manager of Qdoba. Her children are growing quickly, and the family recently moved into a new home.

"I do not want anything for myself just [my children] being happy is all I can ask for. [...] Thank you for all your company has done for me and my family."

                                                         - Tierra

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