CFMC Funds at Work: Cheryl Owens Memorial Scholarship


The next time you’re outside, look for a Blue Jay and think fondly of Cheryl Owens. A devoted wife, mom, and champion for students in the Monroe-Gregg School Corporation, Cheryl’s legacy will be remembered and celebrated on June 29th at the Blue Jay 3K at Monrovia Elementary School.

“When my mom was in the hospital she would joke with everyone that she was a Blue Jay because it’s a fighter. This stemmed from the belief that when you see a cardinal, it’s a loved one visiting after they’ve died. She didn’t want to be a cardinal,” said Kristin Powers, Cheryl’s daughter.

The Blue Jay 3K raises money for the Cheryl Owens Memorial Scholarship Fund at the Community Foundation of Morgan County (CFMC). Since November 2017, this scholarship has been a fund of CFMC. Administrative and financial management services are provided by CFMC so fund holders, like Kristin and Brian Powers, can focus on their fundraising event.

Cheryl was diagnosed with kidney cancer in September 2016 and started chemotherapy in December when cancer spread to her lungs. She died on January 8, 2017, the day after her 56th birthday, but not before she would see her daughter marry Brian Powers on January 3.

Kristin (far right) and Brian (left) Powers’ wedding will be a day forever cherished as Cheryl (center) and her husband Mike (back) were able to celebrate with them.

“We had planned to marry on February 4, but when we learned mom didn’t have much time, we moved up the date. It was important for mom to be there. IU Health Hospital West did an amazing job and it ended up being a very special wedding in her hospital room,” Kristin added.

Cheryl was working in the kindergarten classes at Monrovia Elementary before she started chemotherapy and was very fond of her students. She served Monrovia schools for nearly 20 years and was loved by teachers, staff, students and the community. Cheryl was well known for making students feel safe and parents feel comfortable while their children were in school.

“Cheryl Owens was a spunky, energetic, loyal and loving person. She made everyone she met smile and laugh until they cried. Her love for the students she worked with was priceless. It wasn’t uncommon to see her brushing a little girl’s hair who was upset that her hair wasn’t fixed, washing a child’s face who hadn’t had a bath for days or feeding a child who came in late. If someone needed clothes or shoes, Cheryl took care of it,” said Monrovia Elementary School Principal Melissa York.  “When you were in the presence of Cheryl you knew you were loved and that she had your back no matter what. We miss her but are often reminded when we see a Blue Jay in our yard that she’s still with us.”

More importantly, she is deeply loved and missed by her family: Mike, her husband; daughter Kristin and her husband, Brian; son, Mikey, his wife Brittany and their daughters, Ava, Emma and Olivia; Cheryl’s mom, Linda Elliott; sister, Jennifer Floyd and husband, Eric; and Stevie, Shawn, Devin, Shawn, Josh, Jason and Nicole (nieces and nephews).

When Cheryl wasn’t at school, she was active in her church, met with dear friends for their Breakfast Club, searched for great bargains, and spent most of her time loving family, especially her granddaughters.

To honor her legacy of helping Monrovia students, Kristin and Brian hosted the first Blue Jay 3K in 2018 to raise money for Cheryl’s scholarship. The Powers planned this event as a 3K so younger students and their families could participate. Close to 100 friends and neighbors took part in the event, and the Powers hope they’ll have an even bigger turnout this year.

Cheryl’s family is hoping for a bigger turnout at this year’s Blue Jay 3K. Pictured here (left to right) are: Missy and Shawn Verhey (Kristin’s cousin and wife), Linda Elliott (Cheryl’s mom), Brian and Kristin Powers (son-in-law and daughter), Mike Owens (husband), Mikey and Brittany Owens (son and daughter-in-law), Jennifer Floyd (Cheryl’s sister), and Ava, Emma and Olivia (granddaughters).

The second annual Blue Jay 3K is scheduled for Saturday, June 29, at Monrovia Elementary School.  Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. with the race starting at 9 a.m. Registration is $20 for adults, $15 for students, and free for children ages 7 and younger. All proceeds go towards the Cheryl Owens Memorial Scholarship Fund at CFMC. You can register online at

Kassity Smallwood, a 2019 graduate of Monrovia High School, was the recipient of the Cheryl Owens Memorial Scholarship. The daughter of Shirley Latta and Jon Minor (stepfather) in Monrovia, Kassity has been accepted to Indiana State University where she plans to major in elementary education.

This $1,000 scholarship is available for Monrovia High School seniors who are the first generation attending either college or trade school and have a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.5 or higher.

If you can’t take part in the Blue Jay 3K, you can donate to Cheryl’s scholarship fund online at Your charitable dollars will help more students pursue opportunities for higher learning. If you have any questions, send an email to

CFMC’s mission is to connect donors and their charitable giving with our evolving community needs in order to enhance the quality of life for current and future generations through impact grantmaking. The vision of CFMC is to be the philanthropic leader and a catalyst in order to maximize available resources in our community.

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