June 19, 2014. The John & Ruth Blue Scholarship Endowment, a fund of the Watauga County Community Foundation, is pleased to announce the recipient of the Blue Scholarship for 2014. Silas Keeter, one of the top academic students at Watauga High School, has been selected to be the Blue Scholar for 2014.
He is the son of Rebecca Keeter and the late John Scarlatta. Silas will be attending Middlebury College in Vermont. At Middlebury, he plans on majoring in International and Global Studies. Silas was a varsity athlete on the cross country, lacrosse and swimming teams for all four years at Watauga High School. He was also active in the National Honor Society, the Student Council and the Rolling Academy of Mountain Alliance.
This is the eighth year that the Blue Scholarship has been awarded. The recipient will receive a $6,000 scholarship to the university of their choice, renewable for four years. The recipients of the Blue Scholarship are selected based on academic excellence, physical vigor and activity and leadership in the school, church and community.
The Blue Scholarship was established in 2001 by John and Ruth Blue with provisions for additional funds after their passing. The Blues retired to Watauga County more than 25 years ago and wanted to do something for the community that had meant so much to them. John was a member of the Blue family that organized the Aberdeen and Rockfish Railroad more than 100 years ago, operated as one of the most successful short line railroads in the country. The railroad serves the Aberdeen, Raeford and Fayetteville area and during World War II the system carried more than one million troops in and out of the Fort Bragg area.
John Blue passed away in 2003 and his wife Ruth died in 2005. Following their deaths, a significant estate gift was a added to the original fund to support scholarships for graduates of a high school in Watauga County or Watauga County residents graduation from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, the North Carolina School of the Arts or any other school for academically gifted students. The Blue Scholarship is currently the largest single local scholarship that is available to Watauga County residents and the contribution by the Blue Family will ensure the perpetuity of the scholarships as it grows in future years. Recipients are known as Blue Scholars. Including the recipient for this year, nine Blue Scholars have been selected and awarded more than $180,000 in scholarship assistance.
The Blue Scholarship Endowment is one of 26 funds of the Watauga County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the North Carolina Community Foundation. The local affiliate was organized in 1988 with the establishment of a Legacy Fund and now includes endowment holdings of more than $2.5 million. In 2013 the endowment funds of the Watauga County Community Foundation distributed more than $65,000 in grants and scholarships to benefit people and nonprofit organizations in Watauga County. Of that, the Watauga County Legacy Fund has awarded more than $17,300 through its community grants program to local nonprofit organizations.
The NCCF is the single statewide community foundation and was created 25 years ago to build capacity through philanthropy. The NCCF sustains nearly 1,200 endowment funds established to provide long-term support of a broad range of community needs, nonprofit organizations and scholarships. The NCCF partners with 50 affiliate foundations to provide local resource allocation and community assistance in 66 countries across the state, with an emphasis on rural and underserved areas. Since its inception the NCCF has made $70 million in grants across the state. For more information, visit nccommunityfoundation.org.