Meet Nick West: UAH Student and Scholarship Recipient

The first time I met Nick West we were on a bus heading to Montgomery for a School of Choice conference. It was A brisk winter morning as we boarded the bus before sunrise in January.

Quickly assessing my seat, I noticed Nick in his Business suit. I was dressed in jeans, a sweater, and a scarf.  It made me feel under-dressed. I also noticed he was one of the youngest people on the bus which got my attention. I thought to myself, “he must be excited about this opportunity!“

Neither of us spoke to each other during the trip. In fact, most of the bus was quiet, some may have fallen asleep as the bus lulled us back into a somber trance.  The sun rose and began to welcome us to the city where many political decisions are made. Again, I noticed how quickly Nick disembarked the bus which firmed my conclusion that he was excited. Little did I know, that he was a guest speaker at the convention.

Wow! His words were powerful! His testimony of how the Alabama Accountability Act made a difference for him, his brothers, and ultimately his family. He spoke about his mother, a single mom trying to do the best for her children. All I could hear was how proud he was of her and how he wanted to make her proud as well! The convention center was packed.

Most everyone was standing and the applause was deafening. We got back on the bus and there he was, all smiles. I congratulated him on his outstanding presentation! Fast forward to November, we sat in my office and discussed so many things; where he would go to grad school, places he wanted to intern, his future, and his family.

Yet, what Impressed me so much was his perseverance to succeed and his love for his family. In my opinion, he is already accomplish so much for his young age.

I expect to keep in touch with this young man and I cannot wait to see what is next for this future leader!

Huntsville Botanical Garden Fairy Houses


Huntsville Botanical Gardens invites ALL ages to the educational program Fairy Houses:  Windows into Nature, presented by Renee Simmons Raney.  Raney is the author of Hairy, Scary but Mostly Merry Fairies: Curing Nature Deficit Disorder through Folklore, Imagination and Creative Activities.

Building these fairy houses gives children the chance to enjoy playtime away from technology while improving language and collaborative skills, awareness and observational skills as well.

Renee says, “Fairy houses are excellent tools for increasing observation skills. They become “windows into nature.” Thinking on a small scale inspires children to look at everything more closely, whether it is a leaf or a flower or a bug. Instead of looking at the forest as a whole, they begin to see all the diverse components that make up the forest floor, the canopy, and the creatures that inhabit it. There is a whole new world waiting in the woods and the garden! ”

Fairy Houses will be held Saturday, September 23 1:00 – 3:00 pm at the Nichols Arbor and Garden.  Registration is required.

Members: Adults $15; Children $10
Non-Members: Adults $28; Children $18 (Price includes Garden Admission)
Fee includes presentation in the Arbor followed by fairy garden activities outside.

Contact the Education Department if you have questions:
Soozi Pline: 256-830-4447 Ext 252

Letter of Appreciation

ribbon cutting 23We recently received this letter from one of our recipient parents, and we were very excited to share!  As we bring many families the good news of the gift of education, we’re encouraged to begin finding new funding in the coming months!  

For more information on how you can help us give the gift of education, learn more on our Tax Credit page.


Dear Angela and

Rocket SGO Team/Donors,

You are appreciated!  Our family sincerely sends gratitude to you specifically for the scholarship award and for your perseverance to glean donors, review the tedious details of applications, and make the difficult decisions of whom is awarded.  We can imagine this is not an easy task.  Our eldest daughter was awarded, while the younger one did not make the list this year.  We can only imagine how challenging it is to chose the allocation of the resources.  So, as a parent of both a yes and a no- we sincerely thank you for doing everything you have to support the educational needs of our girls.


Our family

2017 Scholarships

ribbon cutting 32Every year we work hard to get our scholarship awards sorted out as quickly as possible, and this year was no different.

This year we received almost three times more applications than we can fund, and naturally we know this means that not everyone who applied will be able to receive a scholarship.

Unfortunately, and for the first time in Rocket City SGO history, most will not. Given the legal restrictions on scholarship award timing and the record-setting demand for scholarships this year, we are finally able to send this much-needed info!

Congratulations to all our returning students and their families and the additional 79 new students.  We are thrilled to be one small piece of your future.

Rocket City SGO To Host Grand Re-Opening at Huntsville West on July 26

July 17, 2017

Rocket City SGO To Host Grand Re-Opening at Huntsville West on July 26

Huntsville, Alabama – Rocket City Scholarship ​Granting ​Organization has announced that it will hold its Grand Re-Opening at Huntsville’s premiere co-working space at Huntsville West on Wednesday, July 26th.

Rocket City SGO has provided ​scholarships to North Alabama area children since 2013.  In 2016, Rocket City SGO collected over $1.1 million in donations that will provide scholarships to over 40 K-12 students throughout North Alabama.  As the scope of scholarship distributions have grown, Rocket City SGO’s needs made Huntsville West the perfect fit for future growth.

“We are excited to centralize our efforts at Huntsville West in an effort to better serve the community,” said Rocket City SGO President and Co-Founder Brad Garland. “We are thrilled to have special guest, Joe Newberry, Huntsville Madison County’s Chamber Chair join Rocket City SGO at our event and share his passion to make a difference in the community.”

As the leading collaborative coworking space in Madison County, Huntsville West is positioned to support Rocket City SGO’s efforts of continuing to help children launch their educational voyage and navigate their future.  

“Reaching mile stones that better serve our families and students is our primary goal at Rocket City SGO. Utilizing the co-working space at Huntsville West adds to our ability to support our community even better” added Executive Director, Angela Hawke. “Additionally, the partnership with Huntsville West strengthens our mission & presence where we live and work.”

The Grand Re-Opening event will take place on Wednesday, July 26th from 11:30AM to 12:30PM at 3001 9th Ave SW, Huntsville, Alabama 35805.  Refreshments will be served, and the winner of Rocket City SGO’s essay contest will be announced.

For more information, visit Rocket City Scholarship Granting Organization on Facebook, visit, or email ​


Editorial Contact for Rocket City SGO
Daniel Horton

Alabama Sales Tax Holiday

taxholidayHRes.jpgMark your calendars! Alabama will hold its annual Sales Tax Holiday beginning Friday, July 21, 2017 at 12:01 a.m. and ending Sunday, July 23, 2017 at midnight.

This tax holiday gives shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain school supplies, computer and clothing free of state sales tax. Restrictions do apply. Clothing is limited to $100 per article of clothing. Computers, computer software and supplies are limited to a single purchase of $750. Basic school supplies are limited to $50.

For specific exclusions and inclusions, please visit the website pdf

Free CPE Credits for CPA’s!

accountant-1238598_960_720CPE credits are a required part of doing what professionals do best while maintaining their credentials. It can be expensive and daunting. Rocket City SGO has the answer for you! We offer a FREE 1 hour CPE credit to CPA’s and we provide professional training in the convenience of your own office. Grab your team to learn how the Alabama Accountability Act and tax credits will benefit your client. 

CPA & Founder of Rocket City SGO, Brad Garland will share in depth knowledge to keep your staff compliant on the AAA. Schedule your training today! Email us at

Parent’s Night Recap

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 2.50.37 PM.pngWhat an honor to share more information with local families and learn more about how to support their children’s best learning style by making connections with our partner schools. Several parents came prepared and had acceptance letters from their school of choice already in hand. We heard from so many folks who stopped just to say, “thank you”.  It was extremely touching to hear each person’s story from whom I met with personally.  

Why do we host events like this? Well, the bottom line, it’s all about the kids and helping them navigate their future through scholarships. Plain and simple.  Extra added value for the RCSGO team and parents is that this event and others like it help to create awareness, clarity, connection, and collaboration.  Our goal is to support the needs of Huntsville/Madison County student’s, while forging lasting relationships.  

17620378_840911719382712_9008664911918958302_oSure, we could just use our website and social media to get messages out and process applications, but we still believe in face to face interactions. One of my most favorite quotes from Leo Buscaglia offers the perfect sentiment for how our team embraces why we do what we do.  “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”  It is our honor and privilege to meet the needs of the future generation of leaders.

Visiting with the RCSGO partner schools at the end of the evening, many stated that they made great connections and even set up future tours.  In fact, one school shared how they recently expanded their STEAM program, which has been a hit with their students.  Incorporating art into their schedule has added depth and encourages creativity.

All in all, parent information night was a huge success! We nearly maxed out the Cooper House, kids were able to play and make new friends, while parents engaged in resources.

Many thanks to all of the hard working volunteers and support staff!  The Rocket City SGO team is grateful for everyone involved.  We appreciate you!

Angela Hawke, Executive Director
Photography: Daniel Horton @Little Bit Media
Catering: April Boddie @Taste
Volunteer translator: @Martha Ferguson & @Maribel Morton
Childcare: @Jessica Hovis Smith (RCSGO Treasurer) & Huntsville City School students

Rocket SGO Essay Contest!


Want to win up to $100?  Just tell us about your inspiration!

Who would you consider a great inspiration and why? Construct a persuasive essay that compares and contrasts the inspiration contributions of someone who inspires greatness before making a conclusion and explaining why you made your choice.

16179384_803231389817412_4041889167727732236_oWho Can Enter?

Applicant must be a student enrolled in the 9th – 12th grade at an accredited high school or accredited home school program in the Tennessee Valley on the date on which he or she submits a conforming essay and application.

Applicant must submit his or her essay to RCSGO between March 20, 2017 – June 30th, 2017. Essays received by RCSGO after 11:59 p.m. on June 30th, 2017, will not qualify and will not be considered.

Essays must be sent to:
Rocket City SGO
3001 9th Ave SW, Suite 205B
Huntsville, AL 35805


• A first, second, and third place winner will be selected. Additionally,one grand prize winner will be selected, for a total of four winning applicants.

• The grand prize winner will receive a $100 cash prize. The first, second, and third place winners will receive a $ $50 cash prize.

• All winners will be invited to attend a private awards ceremony in 2017, and will have their essays published on RCSGO website.

Download Essay Contest & Rules (PDF) >>