DETROIT, Mich. — Pagan high school students in this state have a college scholarship just for them, which is at best a rare and unusual opportunity. The Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund has its roots in the story of a young girl who met a tragic end due to bullying, and her mother’s determination to transform that legacy into a something positive. At this moment, the idea of Pagan scholarships is on the cusp of becoming a movement which could transform lives throughout the country, and perhaps beyond. It’s an appropriate time to remember the history which led to this moment, celebrate this year’s winner, and look at where the building momentum may lead in the years to come.
DETROIT, Mich. –The Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund announced its second annual winner last week, naming Rebecca Phoenix as the 2015 recipient. Rebecca A Phoenix lives in Ferndale, Michigan, and recently graduated from Ferndale High School. Rebecca Phoenix is a die-hard history, mythology and art buff. Put these passions together you get a direct line to studying museum sciences.
Every year, in retrospect, can seem impressive (condensing 12 months of articles into 10 highlights will do that). However, 2013 seemed like an especially notable year for stories involving or affecting modern Pagans. Here are the ten stories that I feel were the most relevant, the most impactful on our day-to-day lives. That said, I would encourage folks wanting to get a taste of where we were at in 2013 to read through my Pagan Community Notes and Pagan Voices archives to track the conversations and achievements that marked our community. I also want to quickly note that I’ve decided not to number the stories, or rank them in any order.
Pagan Community Notes is a series focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. Reinforcing the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So let’s get started! The latest issue of Circle Magazine (#115) is now at the printers, and available for order at the Circle Sanctuary store.
In February 2014, the Tempest Smith Foundation (TSF) will be holding its very last ConVocation fundraiser before permanently closing its doors. Annette Crossman, TSF’s current executive director and widow of founder Denessa Smith, says that it is “time for the torch to be passed on …and return to normal life.” For over ten years, TSF has been a voice for diversity tolerance in its Michigan community and an advocate of anti-bullying campaigns. Launched in 2003, the Tempest Smith Foundation was the brainchild of Denessa Smith, the mother of bullying victim Tempest Smith. In February of 2001, Tempest committed suicide after enduring six years of persistent abuse in school. Over the following two years Denessa was able to transform her grief into building a foundation that would advocate for tolerance – a foundation that might save other children from her daughter’s fate.