Rowan County Crosby Scholars celebrate Class of 2019
Crosby Scholars ushered in graduation season with its fourth Senior Gala on May 17.
The gala was hosted by the hospitality management and culinary arts department of Livingstone College.
The gala celebrated the achievements of this year’s 186 seniors completing the program. The Class of 2019 provided more than 13,000 hours of volunteer service during high school and together participated in thousands of hours of academic and enrichment workshops. As Crosby seniors, they received one-on-one coaching on college admission and financial aid processes.
The students — 42% percent of whom will be the first in their families to go to college — will attend institutions as far away as the University of Mississippi and University of Michigan and as close by as Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and Catawba College.
Rowan-Cabarrus, for the fourth year, is the top choice for Crosby Scholars seniors. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and UNC-Wilmington round out the top three.
Keynote speaker Greg Alcorn shared words of encouragement and inspiration to the students, reminding them to stay positive in their words and mindsets.
After the speech, several scholarship recipients were announced. Through the support of community partners, Crosby Scholars awarded $18,000 in scholarships. Steve Fisher, chairman of F&M Bank, awarded two $1,000 scholarships to first-generation college students in honor of his parents, Paul and Sue Fisher. Elia Gegorek, with help from local business owners of P&H Carpentry and Velazquez Produce, awarded three $500 scholarships to students of Mexican descent in honor of her parents’ background and devotion to education.
Gwin Barr spoke of the impact that her father had on many lives as she presented the $1,000 John A. Carter Memorial scholarship. Sara Cook shared the story of her son’s classmate and friend John O. Reynolds, in whose memory an annual $1,000 scholarship is also awarded. Six $500 scholarships in memory of J. Michael McDuffie were awarded to students who have overcome adversity and who represent each traditional public high school in the district.
Senior program coordinator Sarah Featherstone announced the new $500 “For Life” Scholarship sponsored by the Crosby staff and awarded it to a deserving senior who completed the program in spite of life challenges and difficult circumstances. Two $500 awards were presented to the Aspire Video Contest winners who shared the positive impact Crosby Scholars had on their educational journey.
The $1,000 Mona Lovett Scholarship in honor of the presiding CEO of Crosby Scholars in Forsyth County went to a student who has been highly active as a Rowan Crosby Scholar. The $1,500 Goodwill Willpower Scholarship and two $1,000 Joyce Kohfeldt Determination Awards were presented to students who have overcome adversity while pursuing educational goals and emerged with remarkable stories of will power and determination.
The new $1,000 David Post Public Service Scholarship was awarded to a student with academic success and community service, who answered an essay prompt on the greatest threat to democracy in the United States.
Karen DeGraaf, a representative from the Philanthropic Educational Organization Chapter AX, also presented the $2,500 P.E.O. Star Scholarship to a young woman who demonstrated outstanding leadership, academic achievement, and community service.
The 2019 Crosby Scholars scholarship recipients are:
• Paul Fisher Scholarship: Honesty Carter, West Rowan High School.
• Sue P. Fisher Community Service Scholarship: Peyton Berry, East Rowan High School.
• J. Michael McDuffie Scholarship: Sage Fann, East Rowan High School; Colleen Welday, Carson High School; Kevion Chunn, Salisbury High School; Gavin Thompson, South Rowan High School; Zechariah Garrison, North Rowan High School; Kemuel Mauney, West Rowan High School.
• Aspire Video Contest Scholarship: Abigail Chabala, South Rowan High School; Victoria Maganas.
• Crosby Scholars “For Life” Scholarship: Donovan Kerns, Salisbury High School.
• John A. Carter Memorial Scholarship: Haleigh Mitchell, East Rowan High School.
• Good Will Will Power Scholarship: Christian Turner, Carson High School.
• Joyce Kohfeldt Determination Award: Kiersten Smith, Carson High School; Stephanie Critchley, Carson High School.
• Mona Lovett Scholarship: Zinahji Goodjohn, North Rowan High School.
• Antonio and Victoria Munoz Scholarship: Ximena Farfan Perez, Salisbury High School Gabby Villafana, Rowan County Early College; Ernesto Jaramillo, Carson High School.
• John O. Reynolds Memorial Scholarship: Spencer Blackwell, Salisbury High School.
• David Post Public Service Scholarship: Cameron Marsh, Carson High School.
• P.E.O. STAR Scholarship: Ada Wong, Carson High School.
The evening culminated with Crosby Scholars invited to walk across the stage as their names and college choices were announced. Each student received an honor cord from a Crosby Scholars director to be worn at graduation.
The ceremony concluded with remarks by Executive Director Jessica Vess thanking the seniors for their involvement in Crosby Scholars and wishing them the best as they graduate and pursue college. The 2019-20 Last Dollar Grant was announced; applications remain open online to alumni of the Crosby Scholars program.