WNC Communities Awards $13,500 in George H.V. Cecil Journey Scholarships

In 2021, WNC Communities awarded thirteen students from across our mountain region a total of $13,500 for college.  Each of these remarkable students received between $500 – $1000 through the George H.V. Cecil Journey Scholarship program.  Additionally, two students who were recommended for their outstanding leadership each won the Pat Brinkley Shulimson Memorial Scholarship of $500.  Please join us in congratulating these young scholars on their academic excellence:

  • Hannah Angel – Macon County
  • Hailey Bowman – Cherokee County
  • Tatum Brown – Ashe County
  • Rily Corn – Henderson County
  • Corissa Cronkite – Haywood County
  • Cassidy Johnson – Watauga County
  • Molly Kirkland – Watauga County
  • Jackson Krider – Ashe County
  • Jazmin Lara – Henderson County
  • Lauryl Meile – Transylvania County
  • Emma Neal – Rutherford County
  • Brenda Rodriguez-Vargas – Jackson County
  • Luke Rogers – Cherokee County

WNC Communities has awarded scholarships to our region’s outstanding high school seniors since 2002. The winners must possess good character, high academic achievement, and significant contributions to community service.

The scholarship is named after the program’s founder, Mr. George H.V. Cecil.  He strongly believed that our youth are the key to our future. When Mr. Cecil passed away in 2020, WNC Communities renamed the program from the Journey Scholarship to the George H.V. Cecil Journey Scholarship to honor his legacy.  We are thrilled to be able to carry forward his desire to support promising students in continuing to excel.

Pat Brinkley Shulimson Scholars

WNC Communities also has the honor of offering the Pat Brinkley Shulimson Memorial Scholarship, which typically awards one student $500 for demonstrating exceptional leadership.  This year there were two students that were so outstanding, we decided to award two scholarships. The winners were Hannah Angel from Holly Springs in Macon County and Emma Neal from Ellenboro of Rutherford County.

The selection of this scholarship is based on letters of recommendation from teachers detailing the students’ specific accomplishments. To illustrate the wide variety of ways Hannah and Emma have demonstrated their leadership, below are just a few of their most impressive achievements:

Hannah Angel

College and Major: UNC Charlotte; Kinesiology – Exercise Science

  • Student Body President for junior and senior years
  • National Honor Society all four years
  • Team Captain for the Indoor Track Team for two years and the Outdoor Track Team three years. Two-time regional champion in the 100 meter and 300 meter hurdles, and broke the 100 meter hurdle school record. Won Conference MVP for Track and Field sophomore year
  • Selected for All Region and All State Track Teams multiple years and for the WNC Women’s Track Team sophomore year
  • Volunteered on the FHS Court Dance Committee two years and was nominated for Homecoming Court
  • Worked three jobs in summer of 2020 as a hostess, lifeguard, and playground attendant

Emma Neal

College and Major: UNC Chapel Hill; Pre-med, double major in Neurology and Psychology

  • Named Distinguished Young Woman of Rutherford County and then went on to win the state competition. She holds the title of Distinguished Young Woman of North Carolina 2021 and will represent North Carolina at the National Finals in June 2021
  • Captain of the Varsity Cheerleader Squad senior year
  • Student Leader and Activities Coordinator for Young-Life
  • Team Captain for competitive dance team at Little Broadway. Helped lead and teach young dancers
  • Served on Forest City Youth Council and volunteered for the Alexander Youth Network
  • Worked as shift supervisor at Rutherford Thai since late 2019 and as a hostess and event worker at Tryon International Equestrian Center

Given the challenges of the past year, it is inspiring to know that there are young people like Emma Neal and Hannah Angel ready to lead and help others. Supporting high achieving students like these is what WNC Communities has sought to do through our scholarship program.  To date, 187 promising students have received a total of $199,000 through the generous donations of our funders, enabling our region’s brightest stars to continue to shine and grow.

If you would like to contribute to our scholarship program to expand our impact, please click here.

Pictured: Hannah Angel of Grape Creek community in Cherokee County

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