What’s new on the plateau

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Patrick Taylor Highlands Mayor

We are getting close to the end of school and the graduation season.  Highlands School usually has a senior graduation class of about 25 to 30 students. Being one of only three K through 12 schools in the state, our whole town celebrates the accomplishments of our hometown seniors.

Every graduating senior at the Highlands School is eligible to receive a Town of Highlands Scholarship if they will be attending a college, university or vocational school. Students who submit scholarship applications receive some level of support. If a student remains in school he or she can reapply for a scholarship each year until their schooling is complete.

Highlands community leaders established the town scholarship program for students graduating from the Highlands School. These educational grants are intended to assist students in their educational pursuits beyond high school.

Special legislation was passed in Raleigh in 1977 in order to establish the town scholarship program. This special legislation authorized the town finance department to administer the program.  There are no administration fees from the town, so every dollar goes directly to supporting scholarships.

The town has a scholarship committee consisting of citizens and educators that review all scholarship applications.  The amount for individual scholarships is determined by this committee. I announce and present the scholarships to seniors on Highlands School Honors Day in May. Every graduating senior that is accepted into a advanced educational program receives a scholarship.  Awards can range from around $800 to more than $2,000. Over a four-year period of study a student may receive as much as $4,000 or $6,000. Forty or more students actually receive support in a given year.

The endowment for the scholarship program is now more than $880,000.  Major gifts to the scholarship endowment will and have had a lasting impact on the educational endeavors of young Highlanders.  As we approach the 50th year of the program, it would be wonderful to  receive new major gifts that would propel the endowment to more than a million dollars.  The growth of  the endowment will further increase support for students.   

In recent years the town has sponsored a golf tournament to raise money of scholarships. Also, proceeds from the Three River Fly Fishing Festival go directly to the scholarship program. These fundraising initiatives, and sometimes interest from the endowment, help fund yearly scholarships and preserve the endowment’s principle.   

Due to unforeseen circumstances the golf tournament will not take place this year.  I hope Highlanders will consider making a contribution to the scholarship program so the town can continue to provide scholarships at past levels.

This scholarship program is a great investment in our young people, as well as for the future of Highlands.  As mayor, I am asking for your support for this wonderful and unique program. Please send a check to the Town of Highlands at PO Box 460, Highlands, NC 28741. Be sure to mark the check for the Town of Highlands Scholarship Fund. All donations are tax deductible. 

On Honors Day, many additional scholarships are awarded to seniors by civic organizations and area businesses.  That community support is an important way to encourage our seniors to strive for new levels of achievements.

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