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Deep Gap Ruritan Awards $4,500 in Annual Scholarships 

By Sherrie Norris

Pictured during the recent scholarship presentation at the May 11 meeting of Deep Gap Ruritan are, from left,  club member Kathy Idol, scholarship recipients Amelie Fawson, Cassidy Johnson and Moriah Bollman, club member Billie Rogers, and club president, Leslie Gentry.
Photo by Sherrie Norris 

During its monthly meeting on Thursday, May 11, Deep Gap Ruritan Club awarded scholarships totaling $4,500 to three deserving residents of the community.

Recipients Moriah Bollman, Amelie Fawson, both graduating seniors from Watauga High School, and Cassidy Johnson, a rising junior at Appalachian State University, were recognized individually for their accomplishments, presented with their scholarships, and with family members, enjoyed an evening meal prepared by the club members.

“It is an honor for us to be able to assist these young women in their pursuit of higher education,” said Club President, Leslie Gentry.

He explained that the funding was made possible, in large part, by the club’s annual fundraising events, as well as a partnership with Ruritan National and that of club member, Billie Rogers, who oversees a scholarship fund in memory of her late husband, Charles Rogers.

In introducing the scholarship recipients and presenting the awards, Kathy Idol, club secretary who also serves on the scholarship selection committee, shared with those present a little about the club and its support of local students. 

“The Deep Gap Ruritan Club was founded in 1991 to support residents in the Deep Gap Community through fellowship, good will and community service,” she said. “One of our primary focuses has always been supporting local students with scholarship funds. To date, the club has given over $60,000 to students in the Deep Gap community to continue their education. This year, we are presenting two ($1,000)  scholarships to students from Watauga High School.

The Deep Gap Foundation Scholarship goes to Cassidy Johnson. This scholarship is funded with matching funds from the Ruritan National Foundation.

The Harold Eller Memorial Scholarship is named for one of our members who passed away in 2020. He was passionate about helping students fulfill their dream of attending college and was instrumental in obtaining funds for our scholarship. The Harold Eller scholarship is presented to Amelie Fawson.”

Idol added, “We are also presenting the Charles Rogers Memorial Scholarship tonight. Charles was a member of our club who passed away in 2019. Billie Rogers established the scholarship in her husband’s memory; his company, his work colleagues, family and friends have helped it grow. It is presented to a student who plans to attend NC State University. Morian Bollman receives this scholarship.”

On behalf of her husband and their family, Billie Rogers shared that, to be eligible for the $2,500 Charles Rogers Scholarship, an individual must be from the Deep Gap community, attending either North Carolina  State University, studying agriculture, horticulture “or farming of some sort,” or attending a culinary school. 

 “Charles was a graduate of NC State in horticultural landscaping,” she said. “His family has a very long history of farming  — tobacco, cattle and  apples.  Practically all of our family members grow gardens. Charles loved to cook and entertain. He cooked at customer appreciation events for up to 700 people annually. We regularly entertained at our home with Christmas parties and pig pickings for 75-100 people. Charles was very involved in our town and community. His extensive knowledge of propane was the catalyst for training local firemen. He was deeply involved with Deep Gap Ruritan and made contributions to its projects and to those in need.”

Rogers continued, “Charles felt more scholarships should be awarded to college sophomores through seniors, and also those in trade schools.  He was a licensed general contractor and electrician.” 

College upperclassmen and those attending trade schools are also encouraged to apply for this annual scholarship, she added.

Eligible students for these specific Ruritan scholarships must have attended Parkway School or live in the Deep Gap community and exhibit financial need. Students who have strong community connections and are involved in volunteer activities will be strong contenders for these scholarships.

More About the Recipients:

  • Moriah Bollman is graduating from WHS with a weighted GPA of 4.42 and as a member of the National Honors Society; she has been employed at Stick Boy Bread Company since 2019, previously at Hatchet Coffee,  and has been extensively involved in numerous community service projects, including: Hunger and Health Coalition, (where she did her internship), Mountain Wise Farm, Watauga Sustainability Club, Watauga Young Life, High Country Food Hub; She has been a member of the Watauga High cross country, indoor track, and track and field. She plans to pursue an environmental science degree and a career where she can spend time outside and educate others on how to protect our environment. 
  • Amelie Fawson is an honor student of excellence graduating from WHS; she works at Hellbender Bed and Beverage as a line cook; previously at Kilwins and Suset Tees and Hattery; her community service involvement has included working with High Country Youth Activists (co-founder/president), Hospitality House, Community performances/orchestra and quartet; She has received numerous awards and achievements, including Excellence Honor Roll; MVP for WHS Orchestra, First Chair Cellist, NC Governor’s School, Editor-in-Chief of The Powederhorn, NCSMA Daily Tar Heel Scholarship Award, Junior Marshall 2022, AP Scholar, National Performing Arts Society. 
  • Cassidy Johnson, rising junior at Appalachian State University was recently accepted into the nursing program for the upcoming year;  she is pursuing her goal of becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner. She currently works as an OB Technician in the birthing center at Watauga Medical Center; working with Spanish-speaking mothers, she has realized the “stressful and scary experience of not being able to communicate,” thus, motivating her to minor in Spanish. She is an active member of several university clubs at App State: American Red Cross, helps host blood drives/fundraisers, promotions; Student Yosef Club, Black and Gold Residential Learning Center.

On behalf of the Deep Gap Ruritan Club, Gentry, Idol and Rogers thanked the recipients for applying for the scholarships and wished them well in their future endeavors.

More information: 

Applications for the Deep Gap Ruritan scholarships are available each year and are due next year no later than March 31, 2024. Students who receive these scholarships are eligible to reapply the following year by sending their college transcript and a letter detailing their college experience to Kathy Idol by April 1. 

For more information, contact Idol at idolk7@yahoo.com or by calling 828-963-3611.