“Bucified Bert” awards a $1,000 scholarship to a student at Hillsborough High School
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – As the school year draws to a close, Bucified Bert celebrates an outstanding high school senior preparing to graduate from Hillsborough High School.
Bucified Bert, also known as Albert Owens, has worked for WFLA for more than 30 years.
However, he is passionate about channeling his love for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into a path that will help the students succeed.
He is committed to launching her college career with the Bucified Bert Scholarship.
A grantee must write an essay and demonstrate the values of a community leader.
The acronym BUCIFIED stands for “Be Understanding Citizens and Identify Friendly Individuals Every Day” because, as Owens explains, “a stranger can be a threat.”
This effort is part of the Bucified & OLE is Alive mission, OLE (Operation Legacy Emma Lee). The mission is in memory of his late mother who passed away in 2004. Bucified Bert calls her “Emma Lee, the Legend”.
“It was a struggle getting through 2004 without my mother, but when she was dying I told her I would carry on her legacy,” Owens said. “I told her that I would be the role model that she expected of me.”
For 18 years, Owens has kept his mother’s legacy alive with this program.
“I love helping students achieve whatever they can be in life,” said Owens. “We want you to receive your education, but we want you to be aware of your surroundings every day.”
Sophia Jelks is this year’s recipient of the Bucified Bert Scholarship.
The $1,000 scholarship will help her begin her college career at Florida State University, but the community support means even more.
Jelks recently lost her cousin Emersen in January when she died of a severe asthma attack.
“It was hard because we’re the same age and she was also due to graduate high school this year,” Jelks said. “I just turned 18 and she should have turned 18 two days after me.”
Now Jelks relies on her faith to overcome her pain.
“It was hard, but it was also a motivation for her to continue her degree and carry on her legacy,” Jelks said. “Everything will be fine and everything will happen for a reason.”
For more information on the Bucified Bert Scholarship, visit Bucified’s Website.