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13 YEARS: Alayna Brianne Bowman’s legacy lives on through Memorial Scholarship and Community Support

The Alayna Brianne Bowman Memorial Scholarship Foundation has been helping local high school seniors pursue their college education for 13 years now. The foundation will be hosting its 13th Annual Golf […]

The Alayna Brianne Bowman Memorial Scholarship Foundation has been helping local high school seniors pursue their college education for 13 years now. The foundation will be hosting its 13th Annual Golf Tournament on June 9, 2023, at noon at the Fort Walton Beach Golf Course. 

  • The foundation has already awarded over $85,000.00 in scholarships to deserving students.

The scholarship was established in memory of Alayna Brianne Bowman, a Choctawhatchee High School graduate who tragically died in 2010. She was a promising young woman who had a bright future ahead of her. She was an active participant in many school clubs and organizations and was beloved by her peers and teachers alike. Alayna’s tragic death left a deep void in the lives of her family, friends, and community.

Alayna was just 16 when she lost her life to a drunk driver. It was June 23, 2010, and Alayna was driving her younger brother Mack home. They were just turning into their driveway when a repeat offender and drunk driver hit their car. Mack was injured, but Alayna lost her life. Her death was a shock to the community.

  • Mack, who was just 13 at the time, was determined to keep Alayna’s memory alive and make a positive impact. He wanted to create a scholarship foundation in Alayna’s name to help students pursue their dreams. With the help of generous donations and hard work, Mack’s vision became a reality.
Alayna Bowman pictured with her younger brother Mack (Linde Bowman)

“Even at 13 years old, it just killed me inside that I wasn’t going to get to see my big sister go to college, or get married,” said Mack Bowman. “I’m not going to get to see my big sister do those things, but I wondered if there was any way that we could make it so that other people would be able to enjoy those kinds of things since she couldn’t.”

Mack says the ultimate goal was to understand that while Alayna was not going to be able to do these things, her legacy had every right to and that’s what helps give his family peace at night. That her legacy is carried on through the lives of these students, past college, even throughout their careers and growing their own families.  

The scholarships are awarded to students representing Choctawhatchee High School who best demonstrates a balance between academics, school spirit, leadership, community service, and Christian faith. The foundation aims to recognize well-rounded individuals who have the perseverance to improve themselves in all aspects of their lives while enjoying God’s gifts to the fullest.

Alayna is remembered as a remarkable young woman who had a passion for life, school, and her community. She was the editor of the Smoke Signals Newspaper and an Anchor for the WBGI Tribal News Team. She served as the school mascot “Indian Princess,” Senior Class Spirit Coordinator, and Historian for the Inter-Club Council. 

  • She was a member of Wheelette Service Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, War Chiefs Spirit Club, Link Crew, and Diamond Dolls. Alayna also served on the Okaloosa County Leadership Council and was a member of the Extreme Etiquette Cotillion Organization. She was a three-time contestant in the Miss CHS Pageant and a true and dedicated Indian.

Alayna’s family and community still mourn her loss, but they find comfort in the fact that her legacy lives on through the scholarship foundation. Linde Bowman, Alayna’s mother, said, “Life without Alayna has been incredibly difficult, but knowing that her legacy lives on through the leaders of tomorrow brings happiness to all who loved her.”

The Alayna Brianne Bowman Memorial Scholarship Foundation has helped countless students pursue their dreams of higher education and has honored Alayna’s memory in the most meaningful way possible. 

  • The annual golf tournament is just one of the ways in which the foundation raises funds to support the scholarship. The foundation’s continued efforts to support students and promote Alayna’s legacy are a testament to the strength of her family and community.

13 years later, Alayna is still very much with her younger brother and he will forever remember the community that stepped up to support him and his family during and after the tragedy. 

“My family has been destroyed at times as a whole, as individuals and as a unit,” he said. “But there’s never been a time that we’ve turned away from one another by any means. When one of us feels pain, we all do because we just care so deeply for each other. But I credit my parents a lot for the strength that they had to continue on being parents at a time that was very hard. And I credit the community for coming together to support them because I was supported by the community. It’s very easy to support a kid going through a tough time. But the way they supported them in supporting me was beautiful.”

“Always be brave.”

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