Twins surprised by scholarship award honoring their mother


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A new college scholarship award is available for students at Huffman High School, and it bears the name of a Huffman High School Senior, Imari Anderson. It was awarded to her sister, Iman Anderson, in honor of her mother who died in a fire at their home last year.

They say even in death their mother has continued to be a powerful influence in their lives.“Dead or alive, I hear that voice. You know that motivation, that push me even when I feel like giving up or even when I feel like the road’s getting too hard,” said Imari Anderson.

It’s been a hard year since the twins lost their mother.“It’s a day by day process. Even though it’s been a year, you still have your moments where you’re like, ‘I can’t do this,'” she added.

Their mother, Xaveria Anderson, died in 2016 in a fire at their home. Imari said she got a phone call about the fire while she was at work.“I went home … and I’m like, ‘where’s my mother?’ and they were like, ‘well she was in the house.’ … I’m like ‘y’all are going to bring her out right?’” she explained. “The policemen, they came and said you know she didn’t make it.’ And I’m like ‘Lord.’ You know all I thought, I just went into survival mode.”

The girls said they leaned hard on their friends and the school to help them get through it.“They reached out to us like … we were at the gas station and it was like a whole bunch of Huffman teachers and and staff, like, they showed up out of nowhere … And they were there,” said Iman Anderson. “They’re our second family,” added Imari.

And they found success. Imari is graduating second in her class. Her sister, Iman, is fourth. And both of them are headed to college on scholarships.

Imari received a Smith Scholarship Award after submitting an essay about her mother. Then they presented her sister with a scholarship in honor of Xaveria Anderson.

“When she called my name and when she read what it was about. And it was based off the story of my mother, that just, ooh, that made me so happy that they thought of her enough to make a scholarship made out, you know, dedicated to her,” said Iman.

The scholarship will continue to be available to future graduates at Huffman High School.

Learn more about the Smith Scholarship Foundation here. A representative of the foundation said the scholarship will be called the Imari Anderson Memorial Legacy Scholarship.

The twins said they will both be attending Troy University.

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