The James “Jimmy Mac” McMahan Scholarship - $1,000

The decision by the LHS Foundation to offer a scholarship in Jim McMahan’s honor was an easy one. On behalf of the Lakeside Foundation, Mitch Leff stated “(McMahan) tirelessly worked to improve the educational experience for our children. His contributions and energy have been inspirational.”

Born and raised in Atlanta, Jim grew up in Buckhead, graduating from Northside High School, then attending Wofford College and Georgia State University.  After marrying Susan Kitchens they purchased their first home in DeKalb County, opening the door to Jim becoming a committed and active DeKalb County citizen. Jim was never one to go half-hearted into a project. After his two daughters were born, Jim began a hands-on advocacy for DeKalb public schools which both his girls attended, saying:

“The students need our help; the schools need our help. We all know that great public schools improve property values and create productive citizens.”

In 2013 Jim was persuaded to run for the DeKalb County Board of Education’s 4th District seat for the 2-year remaining term. Less than a year later, Jim found himself and two other Board of Education members being the only board members the governor did not remove when the school system lost its accreditation. But Jim was all in! He was fully committed and available to the parents, teachers, staff and other Board members and the Superintendent. He had run on a platform to make Dekalb County fiscally sound and this was the task in front of him.

Not only did Jim take on the business side of his role, but he made efforts to learn more about all of the schools, not just the ones represented in his District. He was frequently seen at school sporting events across the District.  As a show of appreciation he, with a friend’s help, would often cook up barbeque with all the trimmings, taking lunch to teachers and staff at Sagamore and Oak Grove elementaries, as well as Lakeside and Cedar Grove High Schools. Jim welcomed an opportunity to interact with students, staff and parents.

In 2018 Jim made the decision to not run again. But he was able to retire with many accomplishments during his tenure; the DeKalb Schools System received Full Accreditation in 2015 with a 5-year renewal in 2017 and a $15,000,000 deficit was turned into a $125,000,000 reserve fund balance. But if you had asked Jim what his most satisfying and proud accomplishment as a member of the DeKalb Board of Education was, he would say it was giving the commencement address to the Lakeside Graduation Class of 2018 and awarding his daughter with her diploma.

“If you don’t know me, my name is Jim McMahan. But if you do know me…’s Jimmy Mac! Shout out to Jimmy Mac from Cedar Grove Saints, Lakeside High School, Tucker High School, Arabia, everybody in Dekalb – Let’s do it this year!”

Application Instructions

Send These Documents

The following four documents MUST be created in Microsoft Word and saved as a .doc format (unprotected), and named with the applicant’s last name, then first name, followed by the type of document (example:  Smith, Jane Resume).  NO OTHER FORMATS WILL BE ACCEPTED.

Upon completion, transmit all documents as email attachments to Note the title of the scholarship, The James “Jimmy Mac” McMahan Scholarship, in the subject line of your email.

1. Resume

Using the resume design of your choice, provide information of your experience at Lakeside High School (plus any other school attended) and Community, all leadership positions, awards and recognitions in these areas:  Academics, Community Service, Co-Curricular and Extracurricular Activities, Work Experience.

2. Essay

Your response to the essay question should provide insight into you as an individual. Be true to who you are and how you relate to the question.  Before submitting your essay, take the time to perform a thorough review, carefully editing for grammatical and spelling errors. The essay should be 750-1000 words, 12pt Times Roman, double-spaced.

Answer the following:

Describe how you make a difference in your community and what you have learned from that experience. In what ways do you see yourself contributing to your college community, inside or outside the classroom?

3. Two Letters of Recommendation

Your recommenders should be someone who truly knows you and can offer insight into your community service involvement at community-wide and Lakeside High School.  One letter MUST be from a manager/director of a community service program/project who can speak to your dedication; the second letter can also be from another manager/director of a different community program or from a Lakeside High School staff/faculty who is a sponsor of a service project. Be sure to communicate the deadline and the requirement on the letter format and how to submit their letters, as noted in the instruction box above, to your recommenders.

4. Personal Statement

The personal statement is your last opportunity to provide information about you that is not provided anywhere else in the application. Like the essay, grammar and spelling will be considered during the review.

Answer the following:

In 100 words, tell us about something that is meaningful to you, and why?

If an applicant experiences any difficulty or has questions in regards to the application requirements, contact the Review Committee Coordinator via email at

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Lakeside High School

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