2024 John and Ruth Blue Scholarship awarded to Ellary Smith

Watauga High School Student Ellary Smith was awarded the 2024 John and Ruth Blue Scholarship. She is the 23rd recipient of this scholarship, which this year awarded $8,000 and is renewable annually for up to four years.

The scholarship is awarded by the John and Ruth Blue Scholarship Endowment, a fund of the Watauga County Community Foundation and is administered by the North Carolina Community Foundation.

Ellary Smith

Smith, the daughter of Thomas and Tracy Smith, is among the top academic students at Watauga High School and a recognized leader in school organizations and athletics. She was an active staff member of the Watauga Powderhorn Newspaper serving as Editor-in-Chief. Smith also served as co-captain of the cross-country team and a leader on the indoor and outdoor track teams. She was selected and served as Watauga County School Board Student Representative for the past two years, is a member of the National Honor Society, and is an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction. Smith will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Established in 2001 by John and Ruth Blue, the scholarship has awarded more than $505,500 to Watauga County students and is one of the largest scholarships available in the county. Recipients, known as Blue Scholars, are selected based on academic excellence, physical vigor and activity, and leadership in the school, church and community. The contribution by the Blue family has ensured the perpetuity of the scholarship as it grows in future years. To learn more about the scholarship and its founders, visit nccommunityfoundation.org/BlueScholarship.

About John and Ruth Blue

Ruth & John Blue
The Blues

The Blues retired to Watauga County in the mid-1990s and wanted to do something for the community that meant so much to them. John Blue’s family organized the Aberdeen and Rockfish Railroad in the early 1900s. It operated as one of the most successful short line railroads in the country, and still serves the Aberdeen, Raeford and Fayetteville area. During World War II, the system carried more than one million troops in and out of Fort Bragg. John Blue passed away in 2003 and his wife Ruth died in 2005.

Following their deaths, a significant estate gift was made to the fund to support scholarships for graduates of Watauga High School or Watauga County residents graduating from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics or the North Carolina School of the Arts.

About the Watauga County Community Foundation
The Watauga County Community Foundation is an affiliate of NCCF that has served the community since 1993. It is led by a local volunteer advisory board that helps build community assets through the creation of permanent endowments, makes grants and leverages leadership – all for the benefit of Watauga County. To learn more, visit nccommunityfoundation.org/Watauga.