Audra Nicole Oliver, a resident of Fayette County who struggled with the Sickle Cell Anemia Disease from childhood, worked for the Fayette County School System until the critical nature of the disease forced her to quit her job. Audra was well-loved by many members of the Fayette and Metropolitan Atlanta communities. Many prayed for her during the difficulties and complications of her illness. On February 3, 2002, Audra Nicole transitioned from this life.
Many people who loved Audra and her family wanted to do something to memorialize her life because of the positive, loving role model she was for others. In the creation of this scholarship, we honor Audra’s memory, and her legacy will live on year after year in the lives of recipients of the scholarship.
The Association of Village PRIDE, Inc, asked the Oliver Family for permission to start a scholarship fund in Audra’s memory. Once permission was granted the organization went about soliciting donations to begin the Scholarship Fund. Although not an endowed scholarship at this point the goal is to have this scholarship become endowed so that every year scholarships can be awarded to worthy seniors from Fayette County. Since 2002 over $10,000 in scholarships has been awarded.
It is with heavy hearts that AVPRIDE staff and board members fondly recall the numerous contributions of Mr. Fred Oliver, charter board member. He transitioned on March 1, 2019.
Mr. Oliver served on the AVPRIDE board from 1998 to 2013 while he was assistant superintendent with the Fayette County school system. “Fred was wonderful and he was instrumental in so many ways,” said co-founder Dawn Oparah. Whether it was providing board meeting space, computers, reading resources, he never said no including requests for countless letters of support. “If it could be done, he found a way to do it,” said Mrs. Oparah. “He was all about the kids,” said co-founder Sheila Pace. Whatever was needed, he found a way to help the children.
Some of his greatest contributions included his ability to connect AVPRIDE to people, places, and resources so that students received the very best support and to ensure success in their education, community, and life. This deep desire extended to the memorial scholarship established in 2002 by Mr. Oliver and his wife, Mae, in honor of their daughter Audra Nicole Oliver (see below). More than 25 scholarships have been given to Fayette County seniors through this program.
January 12, 1970- February 3, 2002
Although born with the sickle cell anemia disease and facing illness throughout her lifetime, Audra was able to complete high school and go on to post-secondary education at both Floyd College in Rome, GA and Chattahoochee Technological School in Marietta. Audra had a great love for children and inspired many people during her lifetime. She was a mentor to many including a number of young people stricken with the sickle cell disease. From her hospital bed she sold CD’s produced by her cousin. When asked how she could do that when she was so ill, she simply said, “I love my little cousin and I want to help her become successful in spreading God’s word through song.”
Audra showed an enormous amount of love and compassion for others. She accomplished a great deal in her lifetime against all odds and surely would have done much more had the debilitating disease not restricted her. Audra exemplified in life the qualities and characteristics of perseverance, in the face of obstacles, determination, dedication, leadership, service to others, a joy and zest for living, an unending faith, and great love for her family and humanity.