The Beaver Creek High School Memorial Scholarship Fund, held with the Ashe County Community Foundation, just graduated its very first scholar! And while Holly Stephens received her bachelor’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in May, she does not consider her education over.

Law school beckons the English and political science double major. And soon. August will find Holly packing up and moving back to the Triangle from West Jefferson to attend either Campbell Law School in downtown Raleigh, which also offered her a scholarship, or UNC’s School of Law in Chapel Hill.

While Holly makes up her mind she is not just biding her time back home in Ashe County. She is working part-time at Lowes Foods this summer and accompanying friends with legal careers to court so she can get a leg-up on the next phase of her schooling.

As a first generation college graduate, Holly said the Beaver Creek High School Scholarship helped make her dream of a higher education a reality. “It was never an option for me not to go to college,” she said. “But I couldn’t have gone without financial aid.” Holly applied for every scholarship she heard of, and learned about the Beaver Creek grant through the Ashe County High School guidance counselor.

Holly’s advice to those who think they can’t afford college? “Just apply for everything like I did!” She ultimately received three scholarships, which allowed her to limit her reliance on student loans. The Beaver Creek scholarship was the only one that was renewable all four years of her undergraduate work.

The Beaver Creek High School Memorial Scholarship Fund celebrated another milestone this year with an anonymous gift of $55,000. The endowment was established in 2010 by alumni who were saddened when the school, which had operated from 1954 until 1999, closed its doors for good. The building was eventually razed, but the school’s alumni and friends decided to establish the scholarship so its name would live on.

The scholarship committee’s selection of Holly as its first recipient honors both the past and the future. Both her dad and brother attended the school. And the scholarship in their alma mater’s name allowed her to pursue a dream that is only just beginning as she prepares to continue her education this fall.

If you are interested in making a gift to the Beaver Creek High School Memorial Scholarship Fund, visit the GIVE NOW page here or mail your contribution to NCCF, 4601 Six Forks Road, Suite 524, Raleigh, NC 27609 or email NCCF Regional Associate John Francis for more information.

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