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WNC students among 215 in state to receive Golden LEAF scholarships

The Golden LEAF Foundation announced that 215 rural North Carolina students were selected to receive up to a $14,000 Golden LEAF Scholarship.

“I’m excited to hear that three students from the district have been chosen to receive the Golden LEAF Scholarship,” said Representative Karl Gillespie. “Congratulations to Kaylin Ellis, Marlena Kelly, and Jacob Hughes for your hard work in earning this scholarship. This is a tremendous honor. We will all benefit from the knowledge and skills these students will bring back to rural North Carolina communities.”

In addition to Kaylin Ellis from Cherokee County, Marlena Kelly from Clay County, and Jacob Hughes from Macon County, other WNC recipients included former Tuscola High School graduate Suella Wilson, now attending Western Carolina University, Morgan Allen and Taleigh Verrault from Jackson County, and Sherra Dickerson from Swain County.

“My sincerest congratulations to each student in Western North Carolina who earned this award,” said Senator Kevin Corbin. “Iʼm sure you will put in the hard work to help you accomplish your goals. We need students like you to help our rural communities thrive!”

High school seniors entering college as first-year students are eligible for a $3,500 scholarship each year for up to four years of undergraduate study at a participating four-year North Carolina college or university. Community college transfer students are eligible for $3,500 a year for up to three years of undergraduate study.

Recipients from rural, tobacco-dependent or economically distressed North Carolina counties are selected based on career and educational goals, a review of school and community service activities, academic performance, length of residence in the county and expressed intent to contribute to the state’s rural communities upon graduation from college.

The Golden LEAF Foundation established the Golden LEAF Scholarship Program to broaden educational opportunities and provide support to students from rural counties with the goal that after graduation recipients will return and contribute back to rural communities. The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA) administers the program and selects students for awards.

“We are proud to award scholarships to hardworking and bright students with deep roots in their rural communities,” said Scott T. Hamilton, Golden LEAF Foundation President, Chief Executive Officer. “These students were selected out of a pool of more than 1,600 applicants. We look forward to the future success of these scholarship recipients as they follow their educational pursuits and develop into North Carolina’s next generation of rural leaders.”

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