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Rowan County Service Above Self Awards Turn Acts of Kindness into College Scholarships

September 18, 2018

Category: Academics, Events, Students

keppel.jpgThree Rowan County high school students and one middle school student who win Service Above Self Awards for their volunteer efforts during the 2017-2018 school year will receive four-year scholarships to attend Catawba College. The announcement about the $60,000 worth of scholarships comes almost three months in advance of the 23rd annual Service Above Self Awards, slated for 6 p.m. November 29 in Keppel Auditorium on the Catawba College campus.

The Service Above Self Awards honor the tens of thousands of hours of community service that Rowan County youth and youth organizations contribute each year through their volunteer efforts. At last year’s Service Above Self Awards, approximately 237 students from local schools were nominated for the good work they did in the 2016-2017 academic year, logging 40,512 volunteer hours. Their volunteering efforts included saving pennies for charity, collecting socks for the homeless, collecting cat and dog food for local animal shelters, collecting food for area food banks, and even making handmade ornaments for the ARC of Rowan’s Festival of Trees.

This annual recognition event has been sponsored by the Rowan County United Way, Rowan Rotary, and Cheerwine, with Catawba providing the venue and logistic support. The scholarship awards that Catawba will provide beginning this year move the institution to the sponsor level.

The first place high school winner of the Service Above Self Award will receive a $5,000 scholarship for four years to Catawba; the second place high school winner will receive a $3,000 scholarship for four years; and the third place high school winner will received a $2,000 scholarship for four years. At the recommendation of current Rowan County United Way volunteer and former Service Above Self Award winner from South Rowan High School Andrew Smith, it was determined that a $5,000 scholarship for four years will also be awarded to the first place middle school winner of a Service Above Self Award.

“As ‘service’ is one of the pillars of Catawba’s community of learners - and found on the College Seal - it is only fitting that we are able to recognize and support promising students who exemplify our core values,” Catawba College President Brien Lewis said.

“I’m very excited we will be able to add these scholarships to the winners’ awards,” explained Jackie Harris, Rowan County United Way Resource Development and Marketing Director. “They bring a whole new dimension to these awards. I hope this gives some students incentive to stay in school and do a good job, because college will be in their futures. These scholarships literally plant a seed about college and give the students something to work towards. Imagine being a middle schooler and winning the first place award for your volunteer efforts – you’d have a college scholarship to look forward to.”

Three individual and three organizations are recognized in each division: elementary, middle, and high school. Individuals and organization must be nominated via nomination forms submitted on their behalf for volunteer service that occurred between August 1, 2017 and October 31, 2018. Nomination forms are available online at and must be submitted or postmarked no later than November 9, 2018.

Student winners in each division will receive a medal and a check with a matching amount going to their school: First Place $250, Second Place $100, Third Place $50. Groups/organizations with tax-exempt

status under section 501(c)(3) are eligible for the following: First Place $500 contribution and a plaque, Second Place $10 contribution, and Third Place $50 contribution.

“We have come a long way over the years and this is a giant step in our program to be able to recognize even more children and offer them a wonderful opportunity to continue their education,” shared Dr. Jim Duncan, a longtime Service Above Self Award committee member.

“We are proud to support Service Above Self and the young people who are making our community a better place. Serving others can be just as rewarding for you as the recipient. We encourage young people to learn the importance of service to others and to become role models and future leaders in our community,” said Cliff Ritchie, President and CEO of Carolina Beverage Corporation, a producer and supplier of soft drinks, including its signature beverage, Cheerwine.

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