Last updated: April 25. 2014 3:26PM - 1399 Views
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Xiao-Yin Chen
Xiao-Yin Chen
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The 31st annual Harlan County Community Scholarship Banquet will be held on May 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the Schoolhouse Inn in Benham.

The Harlan County Community Scholarship Fund was established in 1984 with the goal of recognizing and rewarding graduates from the county’s public schools. The awards are based on the students’ academic and extracurricular accomplishments and their potential for success at an institution of higher learning.

For more than 20 years, the Harlan County Conservation District has provided scholarships for the finalists.

All applications are reviewed by a committee at the school level. The top applications are then forwarded to a committee made up by members of the Board of Directors of the scholarship fund.

Five seniors from Harlan High School and eight from Harlan County High School have been chosen as finalists. One student from Harlan High School will receive $1,250, while three students from Harlan County High School will receive the $1,250 scholarships. The remaining finalists at both schools receive the $750 Harlan County Soil Conservation District Scholarships, and $500 will be awarded to one student from each school from a donation provided by the Bianchi family.

In addition to these scholarships, various other organizations and individuals present scholarships during the banquet.

Tickets for the banquet are on sale at the Harlan Daily Enterprise and Commercial Bank in Cumberland for $15.

Nominees for the Harlan County Community Scholarships, the Harlan County Soil Conservation District Scholarships, and the Bianchi Memorial Scholarships are:


Xiao-Yin Chen is the daughter of Mei-Wah Cheng, of Harlan. During her high school career, she has been active in numerous activities including 4-H Teen Club, Academic Team, BETA Club, Color Guard, Winter Guard, Black Diamond Independent Winter Guard, HHS Band, Dragon Drama, Heather’s Academy of Dance, UK Robinson Scholars Leadership, Tennis, Future Business Leaders of America, Journalism and Cawood Ledford Boys & Girls’ Club Internship. Chen plans to attend the University of Kentucky or Transylvania University and pursue a degree in psychology and art with pre-medical advising.

Leah Hollins is the daughter of Greg and Laurie Hollins, of Harlan. She has been extremely active during her secondary education by participating in the Harlan Musettes of which she has been historian, secretary and president, Academic Team, Marching and Concert HHS Band, president of her class, president of Future Business Leaders of America Club, participated in toy drives, breast cancer fundraiser, Philippine typhoon relief Fundraiser, Beta Club president, Missionaries of the Poor (Kingston, Jamica), Holy Trinity Church Toy Store, Holy Trinity Youth Group, Operation Christmas Child and Relay for Life. Hollins plans to attend Eastern Kentucky University and major in pre-medical study.

Bethany James, of Baxter, is the daughter of Margaret Caldwell and Earnest James. She has been active in various activities including teaching children’s church, babysitting, singing at the nursing home with her church, Operation Christmas Child, church and funeral vocal soloist, Future Business Leaders of America toy drive, food collection box for Christ’s Hands, donating toiletries to Hope Center, working inflatables at Poke Sallet Festival, Black Diamond Independent Winterguard, HHS Colorguard, Academic Team (Future Problem Solvers Team), Pep Club, BETA Club, Kentucky Ambassador of Music Europe Tour, Governor’s Scholars Program, treasurer of her senior class, and Musette second soprano section leader. James will be attending the University of Kentucky and major in biology with a minor in chemistry.

Taylor Ragg is the son of James and Amy Ragg, of Harlan. He has studied and taught piano and guitar and also participated in the Annual Family and Friends Duet Recital and Black Tie Jazz Concert and Dinner and has been a member of the Harlan Boys Choir (Christmas Eve Concert volunteer), Harlan Christian Church Youth Group, BETA Club, Drama Club, First Priority, Academic Team, participated in yard work and other odd jobs, assisted with supply drives for the Harlan Animal Shelter and Harlan Humane Society, participated in SWAP camp, worked at the local homeless shelter, Angel Tree Program, SKMA All-Festival Choir, KMEA Jr. High All-State Chorus, KMEA HS All-State Chorus, U of L School of Music Honors Choir Festival, Kentucky Ambassadors of Music Europe Tour, and Governor Beshear’s Inauguration. Ragg’s college plans include attending Transylvania University and pursuing a degree in internal relations and an internship with the Central Intelligence Agency.

Will Slusher is the son of John and Clarissa Slusher, of Wallins. He is a member of the Wallins Christian Church Youth Group and has assisted with church Christmas plays and activities. He is a member of First Priority, BETA Club, Captain of the HHS Football Team, participated in Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation “Tell Your Story Campaign,” Relay for Life volunteer and Christ’s Hands food drive participant. Slusher plans to attend the University of Kentucky and major in political science leading to a career in law.


Adam Clem is the son of James and Donna Jo Clem, of Cawood. During his high school career, he has been active in numerous activities including Academic Team (Future Problem Solving Team), track and field, Harlan County Football Team (JV captain), Student Government Association President, National Honor Society, BETA Club, Gifted and Talented Leadership, Educational Talent Search, board member of Harlan County Community Awareness Council, Governor’s Scholar Program, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Program, Farm Bureau Speech Competition, Operation Christmas Child, conducted after-school Tutoring, Youth Football Camp volunteer, HOPE Center Renovation volunteer and Lakeside Trail Preservation volunteer. Clem plans to attend the University of Kentucky Honors Program and pursue a degree in biology with a specialty in pre-medical study.

Haley Cook is the daughter of Roy and Lisa Cook, of Harlan. She has been extremely active during her secondary education by participating in the Harlan County 4-H Teen Club which included opportunities to volunteer in Relay for Life fundraisers, 4-H Fun Day, Annual Repair Affair, 4-H Communications Day, and 4-H summer camp as a teen counselor. She is also a member of BETA Club, Educational Talent Search, the Gifted and Talented Leadership Club, has raised money for Alzheimer’s Association and Cram-the-Cruiser. She is BETA Club president, captain of the Harlan County Varsity Dance Team, and secretary for the National Honor Society, collecting supplies for the local food shelter, Christ’s Hands and the Empty Stocking Fund. She is a member of the Grays Knob Bible Church Youth Group and has participated in Operation Christmas Child and Angel Tree through her youth group. Cook plans to attend Lindsey Wilson College and pursue a career in nursing.

Nicholas Early is the son of Christopher Thomas Early and Kelli Denise Early, of Cumberland. He has been involved in many activates during his high school career including BETA Club, National Honor Society, Educational Talent Search, HC Golf Team, ACT tutoring, Empty Stocking Fund and Cisco Networking which involved extensive development and implementation of IPv6 for the computer lab as well as other installation and troubleshooting issues at his school. Early plans to attend the University of Kentucky and major in computer engineering and computer science.

Lindsey Hensley is the daughter of Brian and Jacqueline Hensley, of Smith. She has been active in various activities including National Society of High School Scholars, President of the HC National BETA Club, Educational Talent Search, the National Honor Society, Health Occupations Students of America, and leader and devotion coordinator of First Priority of the Tri-States. She recites the Pledge of Allegiance every morning on her high school’s intercom and regularly opens in prayer at HC sporting events. She has also volunteered to run the sound at piano recitals held in Harlan County High School’s auditorium. Hensley will be attending Lincoln Memorial University and majoring in mathematics education.

Bailey McHargue, of Loyall, is the daughter of Robert McHargue and Tami Brock. She is involved in many activities including National Honor Society, BETA Club, Talent Search, Journalism, captain of the HC Dance Team, Page for Senator Brandon Smith, volunteer for Harlan Animal Shelter and Tri-City Empty Stocking Fund, choreographer for Black Mountain Elementary School, Harlan Elementary School and Evarts Elementary School dance, volunteer at the Harlan Boys & Girls Club, Cub Scout Troop and Cram the Cruiser volunteer, recipient of the Health Education Award, the Mary Jo Young Scholarship, and Piano Achievement, and the UDA “Most Improved Team” Summer Camp Award. McHargue’s college plans include attending the University of Kentucky, pursuing a degree in English or political science, leading to a career in law.

Selena Painter is the daughter of Bobby and Tammy Painter, of Wallins. She is a member of the HC Volleyball Team, Upward Bound,Captain of JROTC, Talent Search, BETA Club, national Honor Society, Student Government, part-time employee of Pizza Hut, participant of the Kentucky State Police Academy, and has participated in volunteer work to clean up the Wallins community. Painter plans to attend Southeast Community and Technical College and pursue a degree in pre-medical studies.

Cameron Blake Rutherford is the son of Robert and Tracy Rutherford, of Cumberland. He has been actively involved in several activities and organizations such as the Tri-City Empty Stocking Fund, BETA Club’s canned food drive, collecting money for the Alzheimer’s foundation, and captain of the HC Baseball Team. Rutherford plans to attend the University of Kentucky after graduation, majoring in marketing with a specialty in sports or English and eventually pursuing a law degree.

Carson Whitehead Jr. is the son of Carson and Tina Whitehead, of Bledsoe. He has been a member of the HC Basketball Team, Defensive Captain of the HC Football Team, National Honor Society, Gifted Leadership, BETA Club, Empty Stocking Fund, My Brother Vinny, Cram the Cruiser and Youth Football Camp volunteer. Whitehead plans to attend Eastern Kentucky University or the University of Kentucky to pursue a degree in civil or mining engineering .

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