Three LCPS graduating seniors were chosen from more than 2,600 applicants statewide to receive college scholarships from the Golden LEAF Foundation valued at $12,000 over four years.
Named Golden LEAF Scholars were Pattie Panell of North Lenoir High School and Riley Houston and Skyler Herring of South Lenoir High School.
This year, the Foundation is presenting 215 scholarships to students at about 100 high schools in the state. Golden LEAF Scholars are chosen from qualifying counties based on grade point average, the ability to communicate a commitment to returning to a rural county that is economically distressed, length of residence in the county and financial need, among other factors.
“We’re trying to identify young people with deep roots in the community who want to come back to the community, young people who have a lot of leadership potential,” Dan Gerlach, president of Golden LEAF Foundation, said Friday when he was in Lenoir County to meet the scholarship winners.
The scholarships provide $3,000 a year and are renewable through four years of undergraduate study at a North Carolina college or university. In addition, students selected for scholarships are eligible to participate in the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program, which includes leadership training at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro and paid internship opportunities in rural North Carolina.
Panell, 18, granddaughter of Frances Cannon of La Grange, is headed to Western Carolina University to study nursing. She is on track to receive an associate of science degree from Lenoir Community College in June along with her high school diploma.
At North Lenoir, she is a member of the National Honor Society and has served as president of HOSA and as a graduation marshal. She also played soccer and ran cross-country.
Houston, 17, the daughter of Johnnie and Rhonda Houston of Kinston, will study exercise science at the University of Mount Olive, where she will enter as a sophomore with 46 college credits earned as a dual enrollment student at South Lenoir and LCC.
At South Lenoir, she is a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council Association and SADD. She is active in the peer tutor program and was named MVP of her cross-country squad.
Herring, 18, of Pink Hill, the son of David Herring and Ginger Murphy, plans to study construction management at East Carolina University.
He is a member of the National Honor Society, SADD and the Sportsman’s Club. He’s played soccer and run track and cross-country and was captain of the cross-country team. In addition to working an after-school job, he volunteers regularly at Pink Hill Elementary School.