by John Francis, NCCF northwest regional associate

The Watauga-Ashe-Wilkes Scholarship Board honored its 2014 recipients and their families with a dinner banquet on May 8th at Brushy Mountain Smokehouse in Wilkesboro. The Watauga-Ashe-Wilkes Scholarship is a $2,000 renewable scholarship awarded to students in each of the three counties. Recipients are eligible to receive a total of $8,000 in scholarship support over four years. Since 2001, more than $280,000 have been awarded to more than 50 students to support the pursuit of higher education. 

The 2014 Ashe County recipients are Luke Eggers, son of Nathan Angela Eggers; and Kelsey Hayes, daughter of Burman and Joyce Hayes. The 2014 Watauga County recipients are Tristan Rodriguez, son of Diana Rodriguez; and Caleb Presnell, son of Chip and Tina Presnell. The 2014 Wilkes County recipients are Caleb Hart, son of Russell and Jennifer Hart; and Guadalupe Rosales, son of Eulalio Rosales and Gracia Ocampo.  

The Watauga-Ashe-Wilkes Scholarship was organized in 2001 by Phil Stevens. Phil grew up on the Watauga County side of Todd. He attended Beaver Creek High School in Ashe County and retired from Lowe’s Companies in Wilkes County.  Thus, the name of the scholarship: The Watauga-Ashe-Wilkes Scholarship.  He has a heart for young adults in these three counties. (To read a feature story on Phil posted earlier on our website, click here.)

The scholarship funds have been raised primarily through an annual golf tournament held at Jefferson Landing. This year’s tournament will be held on Thursday, Sept. 18. The tournament raised more than $100,000 in 2013.  Attendants in past tournaments have included NASCAR drivers Benny Parsons, Phil Parsons, Dennis Sentzer and Jimmy Spencer and NFL players Dwight Clark, Dave Butts, Neal Clabo, Stanley Morgan, and George Rogers and UNC Basketball player Phil Ford. The Watauga-Ashe-Wilkes Scholarship funds are managed by NCCF.

Current board members are:  Phil Stevens, Bradley McNeil, Kim Barnes, Kimberly Forester, Danny Holman, Allison Phillips, Charles Hartzog, Michael Lyall, and Daphne Petrey. 

For more information on the Watauga-Ashe-Wilkes Scholarship or its golf tournament fundraiser, you can visit

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