Dobson — More than 50 local high school graduates were awarded scholarships by the Edward M. Armfield Sr. Foundation College Scholarship Program Tuesday afternoon.
Since 2002, the foundation has awarded roughly $8 million dollars in scholarships.
“This (the foundation’s awards) is yet another opportunity for you (the students) to get the support of those who care,” said Surry Community College President David Shockley. The event was held at the Shelton-Badgett NC Center for Viticulture and Enology Tuesday.
Emily Shores Akers, a former recipient of the Armfield Scholarship, spoke to the group about what the grant meant to her.
“I was the first person in my family to go to college,” said Akers. “It was a blessing to have this scholarship so I would be able to fulfill my dream of teaching.”
Armfield Foundation President E. Bedford Cannon noted that two of the scholar recipients had returned to be teachers locally.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if they aren’t principals in a few years,” said Cannon “This is the best day of my calendar year. I get to see the best you have offer. Young people who are willing to commit to achieving a good life and a good career. We love that we are able to help you.”
He told the recipients that after the “culture shock” of being in college next year their first plan in life would be to just survive.
“I throw this out to you. In this country we are a nation of short-term planners. An instant gratification society. My two cents worth is for you to think long term. Beginning with your sophomore year of college think about what you want to be and where you want to be five years out.”
Cannon continued by explaining that most businesses in America only think 90 days out.
“After 90 days it’s like the sky has fallen in. It doesn’t mean a thing. All it means is that for one 90-day period two cents less was made than the analysts predicted. Don’t get in that trap. Think who you want to be. Think about where you want to go and do,” advised Cannon. He told them to not be afraid of using their college faculty advisors in formulating that plan.
He told the students to then stick to their plan and to have the wisdom to know what is a bump in the road and when it is time to change plans.
Armfield Foundation Executive Director Steve A. Joyce told the group that two thirds of graduates have government or private loans that average $25,250. He told the group that nationally student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt.
“We are happy to have a part in reducing this,” said Joyce. “This is the biggest thing the Foundation does. We have done more in Surry than any other area and we are happy about that.”
“Their quality of work always amazes me,” said Joyce. “It doesn’t resemble anything I did when I was in high school. The quality of Surry county applicants is outstanding.”
The Armfield Foundation awards scholarships students to provide them with the financial assistance needed to commence or continue their studies at undergraduate educational institutions. The scholarships are renewable annually.
The 2012-2013 scholarship recipients included:
Mount Airy High School: Elly Bledsoe, Kathryn Brown, Cameron Cawley, Kaitlyn Lewis, Shelley McCluskey and Amy Wilson.
East Surry High School: Andrea Akers, Kaitlyn Anthony, Asia Brown, Tanner Haynes, Marilyn Goble, Ashley Jessup, Madison Jessup, Jennifer Matthews, John Paul Sigmon and Cory Smith.
Surry Central High School: Rachel Blevins, Jenny Collins, Jeanice Cozzens, Amber Davis, Anna Martin, Jesse Martin, Matthew Snow and Ireli Sonato.
North Surry High School: Emily Powell, Alexis Gillespie, Amy Fillius, Kara Collins, Layne Roundy, Sarah McHone, Morgan Bunker, Dana Hicks, Ryan Stone and Allyssa Gwyn.
Surry Community College: Lance Edmonds, Troy Jessup, Lyncee Kowalcik, Keevie Newsome and Lindsay Ray.
Surry Early College High School: Savannah Bowman, Tori Culler, Asia Harold, Daniel Ingram and Emlie Raleigh.
Elkin High School: Laura Burgess, Aaron Defreitas, Sarah Gwyn, Aiden McRitchie, Celeste Sciabarasi, Anna Sparks and Emma White.