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Grayson Waggoner earns UNA’s George Lindsey Cinematic Arts Scholarship

MADISON – A well-known media personality from James Clemens High School, Grayson Waggoner knows how to reach an audience. Waggoner has earned the George Lindsey Cinematic Arts Scholarship from the University of North Alabama.

A recent Jets graduate, Waggoner applied for UNA leadership scholarships; his resume included film and theatre accomplishments. “I didn’t specifically apply for the George Lindsey scholarship but was delighted to find out that it had been offered to me,” Waggoner said.

The Lindsey scholarship can range up to $2,000 for 2021. Waggoner can reapply for the funds next year.

George Lindsey is best known for his role as Goober, Gomer Pyle’s cousin on “The Andy Griffin Show.” Lindsey graduated from Florence State Teachers College (now UNA) in 1952 and coached at Hazel Green High School.

Years later, he moved to New York City and enrolled in acting school. Lindsey’s big break was the play, “All American.” UNA’s annual film conference, “George Lindsey Film Festival,” acknowledges him.

“I feel honored that one of my films was screened at the 2020 festival,” Waggoner said.

Waggoner believes his JetsPress work was the deciding factor for his scholarship. “Clay Combs, my film teacher, was a tremendous help in building my portfolio,” Waggoner said. “His guidance inspired me to make films that were both creatively fulfilling and impressive . . . when it came time to submit them to UNA. I can only hope college includes many more teachers like Combs.”

Waggoner garnered notoriety for “Grayson in the Halls,” a James Clemens morning show segment. “From my freshman to junior year, the show consisted of wacky, comedic man-on-the-street interviews with fellow students about whatever topic was relevant,” Waggoner said. “My senior year, however, the series changed its format completely. Due to COVID-19, our lunch program was reorganized, making it impossible for me to interview people ‘in the halls,’ as everyone was eating at different times and in separate classrooms.”

Revamping the show as more experimental, Waggoner built episodes from any random idea that popped into his head. He takes the most pride in that work.

Along with making short films with JetsPress, he is “a JCTheatre lifer, meaning I’ve taken theatre classes for all eight semesters of high school.”

Waggoner received numerous accolades at “The Johnnys,” the annual awards show for James Clemens’ film department. In 2021, he earned awards for best segment, along with editing and writing segments, short film, screenplay, comedy, picture and McKinley Withers Game Changer Award. He also won “Best Supporting Performer” at 2020 Southeastern Theatre Conference.

Grayson’s parents are Todd and Meredith Waggoner. Todd is a pharmacist, and Meredith works as a speech pathologist. Grayson’s twin sister, 18-year-old Shelby, will attend the University of Montevallo this fall. His brother, 19-year-old Rush, attends UNA.

Grayson’s hobbies are film- and theatre-related. “I’ve been lucky in that I’ve been able to take so many classes about what I’m passionate about,” he said.

At UNA, Grayson will major in cinematic arts.

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