ASHE COUNTY —Over $95,000 was raised for the Watauga-Ashe-Wilkes (WAW) Scholarship Endowment during the 15th Annual WAW Scholarship Endowment Golf Tournament on Thursday, Sept. 17 at Jefferson Landing.
The WAW Scholarship Endowment was established in 2001 with the purpose of awarding scholarships to students of Watagua, Ashe and Wilkes counties who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity for higher education. $400,000 in scholarships has been awarded to 74 students since 2002.
According to president and founder Phil Stevens, all recipients of the scholarship except two have graduated from college.
The 2015 WAW Scholarship recipients were Arley Rodriguez of Watauga County, Joshua Adolph and Emily Badger of Ashe County, and Daisy Sullivan and Rachel Myers of Wilkes County.
More than 130 players from across the nation participated in this year’s endowment golf tournament.
The event began Wednesday night with a dinner with event sponsors and nine previous scholarship recipients including Amanda Bryson of Watauga County, Danessa Church, Tomie Miller, Brooke Taylor, Laura Lewis, Kelsey Eggers, Luke Eggers and Rachall McCoy of Ashe County and Rachel Myers of Wilkes County.
During the dinner, the WAW Scholarship Endowment presented a video featuring previous scholarship recipients and what the scholarship meant to them.
“It’s so generous to think a group of people that would get together and just give away money for someone they hardly know to go to school,” 2013 scholarship recipient Jake Page said. “I thought that was pretty amazing.”
The video also featured several WAW board members who spoke of their personal involvement with each of the recipients.
“I don’t see many scholarships as a high school counselor that really become involved and get to know the student,” WAW board member Kim Forrester said. “It’s not just about writing a check, you are making a difference in the lives of these students.”
Recipients and board members both spoke of how the scholarship isn’t only about the money.
“There’s a backbone and they really care about how we are doing and what we are doing,” 2013 scholarship recipient Kelsey Eggers said. “It’s a lot different, they make it personal.”
Stevens was recognized by the endowment board for his fifteen years of service as founder and president of the WAW Scholarship. Under Stevens’ leadership, the scholarship has raised more than $1.6 million and awarded over $400,000 in scholarships. He’s also made numerous contributions to further education in the community.
Winners of the golf tournament included:
First place: Larry Ferguson, Mike Gill, Tom Nelson and Jody Haithcock.
Second place: Marc Elliott, Matt Elliott, Todd Felts, and Daniel Walsh.
Third place: Bob Brown, Jimmy Deal, Jerry Brown and Tom Adams.
Other awards were given for closest to the pin, longest drive and a drawing for money for one team.
Brandon Vannoy was closest to pin 2, Mike Gill was closest to pin 6, Tom Adams was closest to pin 14 and Daniel Walsh was closest to pin 17.
Jimmy Deal took the award for longest drive. The team of Susan Pettyjohn, Jeff Cox, Geoff Graham and Suzette Mauney were drawn as the team to win cash money.
In addition to the annual golf tournament, the board also accepts corporate and individual gifts to build scholarship funds.
Board members include Stevens, Charles Hartzog, vice-president; Kim Forester, secretary; Kim Barnes, treasurer; Daphne Petrey, publicity; Michael Lyall of Watauga, Bradley McNeil of Ashe, Danny Holman of Wilkes, and Allison Phillips of Wilkes.
According to Stevens, the board is made up of business persons and educators from each county which brings a representation of each area to the scholarship program.
“Hopefully each year we make a difference in some young kids life,” Stevens said.
For more information about the Watauga-Ashe-Wilkes (WAW) Scholarship Endowment, visit www.wawscholarship.org.