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Chamber Awards $3,500 in Scholarships

$500 Scholarship winners (L-R Jarrett Cothron, Alyson Blackwelder, Cameron Crater, and Jennifer Smelcer) with Amy JohnsonThe McDowell Chamber provides scholarships to nine Student LINC participants.

Chamber board member Amy Johnson was honored to present local high school students and participants of our Student LINC program with a total of $3,500 in scholarships on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. Recipients Alyson Blackwelder, Jarrett Cothron, Cameron Crater, and Jennifer Smelcer each won a $500 scholarship to the school of their choice. The $300 scholarship winners included Candela Anderson, Taylor Buchanan, Carlos Lopez, Reagan Waugh, and Crystal Rangel. $300 scholarship winners (L-R Carl Lopez, Taylor Buchanan, and Reagan Waugh) with Amy Johnson
Scholarships were awarded based on each student’s efforts and participation in the program, which is led by Program Director Juanita Doggett. Johnson said she was impressed by the level of enthusiasm and dedication each of these students displayed throughout the program.
“These students showed initiative and were open to learning throughout the program,” Johnson said. “They each gained valuable knowledge about McDowell that will hopefully impact their future career decisions, and eventually impact McDowell County in a positive way.”
LINC is McDowell County’s Leadership Program and offers an adult and two student programs, one for high school students called Student LINC and the other for rising eighth graders called CARP (Career Awareness Readiness Program). LINC stands for Leadership, Involvement, Networking, and Community Knowledge and serves to educate residents about the opportunities and advanced offerings that McDowell has through its industry, nonprofits, small businesses, government, and community programs. The program was founded in 2008 as an opportunity for emerging adult leaders in the county to learn about the community, Johnson explained. The classes involve a full day once a month for 10 months and feature a combination of site tours and presentations. Subjects included in the course are government, economic development, education, healthcare, business and industry, public services, arts, culture, and history. These are the necessary elements of a thriving community and the LINC participants discover that McDowell County is truly a thriving place to live, said Johnson.
The Student LINC program began in 2010 as a project of the first adult class of which Johnson was a participant. The Student program is a condensed version of the adult class and involves two weeks of attendance covering the same topics during the summer.
The program is made possible by the investment of its partners, McDowell Chamber and McDowell Technical Community College and the following sponsors, The City of Marion, Duke Energy, McDowell Co. Schools, and McDowell Co. government. The participating businesses and companies also invest time and staff resources into this program as they host our students and educate them on the exciting things happening here in our county.