Twenty-two area high school seniors were awarded scholarships during the Harlan County Community Scholarship Banquet held at the Harlan Center.
Harlan County Schools Superintendent Mike Howard said the scholarship fund was established in 1983. Initially the banquet was held to honor the community scholarship winners. However, he said the Harlan County Soil Conservation District joined with the Harlan County and Harlan Independent school districts several years ago to expand the banquet to allow for presentations of scholarships by civic clubs and other organizations and individuals.
“We are so glad we did. Just look at all the scholarships being awarded this evening to deserving students,” said Howard. “
Howard said as work began on the banquet, “We learned several traditional scholarships would no longer be presented or awarded this year. As the preparation process began, we learned of others who wanted to step up and help make a college education more affordable to our students. One such example is the Norma J. Boggs Assistance Scholarship, being awarded for the first time this evening. What a great way to honor the memory of a loved one and to keep those memories alive by helping students go to and pay for college.”
He said a few organizations that previously gave scholarships donated toward the community scholarship fund this year. “We are very appreciative of their generosity to help keep our fund going,” he said.
He noted some of traditional donors listed on past programs are no longer there. “The individuals have passed on or their business may have closed and giving was no longer viable financially,” he said. “And, we have others who have given for many years still there assisting us each year when we send out our fund drive letters.”
Howard said fundraising appeared slow this year up until just a few weeks prior to the banquet. As a result, new efforts were made to fully fund the community scholarships. Howard and Harlan Independent Schools Superintendent C.D. Morton attending a meeting of physicians to solicit contributions.
“I’m excited to tell you that Mr. Morton and I had the pleasure with meeting with our local medical community. The Harlan ARH and Daniel Boone Clinic physicians and staff graciously allowed us to attend one of their meetings to make a pitch for scholarship dollars. I’m pleased to say that this effort generated some very positive feedback for our scholarship board and fund, but most importantly needed dollars toward tonight’s scholarships being awarded.”
Howard said an effort also began to contact former recipients who may want to give back to area students.
“We decided to reach out to some of our past scholarship recipients… It was a task finding names and addresses, but with the help of Google, Facebook and other internet searches, we were successful. Many still live and work right here in our community doing great things to help and serve others. It was exciting to see that we had two past recipients who are now husband and wife living and working in Harlan County.
“I can’t emphasize enough how important these generous donors are to this scholarship fund,” he said.
Scholarships awarded included:
• Cumberland Lions Club – Nicholas Hensley, Harlan High School.
• J. Clark Metcalfe – Patricia Clem, Harlan High School, and Mitchell Tolliver, Harlan County High School.
• Harlan Rotary Club – Tiffany June Hampson, Harlan High School; and Jessica Amber Brock, Harlan County High School.
• Norma J. Boggs Scholarship – Morgan J. Burke and Sierra Patterson, Harlan County High School.
• Loyall American Legion – Patricia Clem, Harlan High School, and Seth Sanders, Harlan County High School.
• Harlan County Community Foundation – Jesse Cochran, Harlan High School, and Hannah Gaw, Harlan County High School.
• Bianchi Family Scholarships – Olivia Dixon, Harlan High School, and Rhett Alred, Harlan County High School.
• Harlan County Soil Conservation District Scholarships – Noah Busroe, William Mason Miller and Ethan Gabriel Morton, Harlan High School; and Shyla Baker, Madyson Bennett, Katelyn McClure and Sierra Patterson, Harlan County High School.
• Harlan County Community Scholarships – Patricia Clem, Harlan High School, and Cameron Carmical, Natalie Middleton and Braydan Roark, Harlan County High School.