Tom Smith Scholarship Recipients Attend Luncheon with Benefactor at Catawba College
October 3, 2008
Thirty-three Catawba College students, all recipients of Tom Smith Scholarships at the institution, were honored at a September 25 luncheon held in the Hurley Room of the Cannon Student Center.
Christopher S. Beal, a student from Goldston, N.C., expressed the collective appreciation of the group to Tom and Martha Smith who attended the luncheon. He called it "an honor to be a Tom Smith Scholarship recipient" and noted how much "the direction of my life has changed" since he first began the process of selecting a college to attend. He shared the story of those changes with the group.
"My senior year in high school," Beal said, "I admittedly had one thing on my mind ... that one thing being football ... I had a strong junior and senior year on the football field and had a desire to continue to play the sport in college. Once I visited Catawba, I was quickly attracted to the football program here and soon committed to the College.
"I truly believe God had his hand in this arrangement because without football I never would have discovered Catawba ... Well ... After the first few days of football camp, I quickly determined that playing a sport on the college level was not for me. The decision to quit football was one of the hardest I have ever made. Part of what made the decision so difficult was that with it ... came another decision. Did it make any sense for me to stay at Catawba and my parents pay much more for my education than they would have had to pay some where else. With football not longer in the picture, was there any reason for me to stay at Catawba?"
Beal noted that his father had worked to put himself through community college and that when he quit the football team, he felt he was "letting him down and that he was wasting his money by sending me to such a fine school… when I was no longer taking advantage of the major thing that had drawn me here. I wanted to do all that I could to prevent my college tuition from being such a financial burden on my family."
That financial concern about what Catawba was costing his parents, coupled with the fact that his freshman year started out with difficulty caused Beal great concern. It all began to change the second semester of his freshman year, "when I enrolled in a management class and found that I really enjoyed studying the material. I discovered learning could actually be fun and worthwhile…. and with this discovery came a new direction.
"Entering my second year at Catawba, I finally knew that I was on the right track. I was enjoying my classes, I committed to majoring in business administration, I was inducted into the Philomathean Society (a men’s service organization) and I began to associate with fellow students who were also committed to being successful and taking the college education seriously," he said.
"I now realize that there was great value to the extra cost of Catawba education. It was because I was at Catawba that I had support of persons in finding a direction for my life. Because there was an organization like the Philomathean Society available to me, I was given new incentive and encouragement to be successful."
Beal said that being named as a recipient of the Tom Smith Scholarship "was another boost and incentive to continue on the upward path I had found. It also made it possible for me to call my parents with the news that there was going to be some relief in their efforts to financially provide for my education. I now could feel that I was doing something to deserve the opportunity they had worked to give me and was deserving of the pride in which they felt in me."
Beal told the Smiths that "your scholarships have value that goes far beyond just the money they provide. They provide incentive and encouragement as we seek to find our path in life and to be successful."
In addition to Beal, other Tom Smith Scholarship recipients include Mayra I. Arroyo of Kannapolis; Kelsey E. Babos of Uniontown, Ohio; Chelsea M. Binder of Woodstock, Md.; Joseph K. Carrigan of Harrisburg, N.C.; Garrett R. Carter of Oak Ridge; Rebecca L. Chinnis of Charlotte; Elizabeth C. Fields of Thomasville; Kirby M. Freeland of Charlotte; Derek Freeze of China Grove; Neil E. Gonsalves of Greenville; Melissa Griffith of Williamsburg, Va.; Kevin D. Hamaker of Beaufort, S.C.; Tyler M. Held of Virginia Beach, Va.; William R. Huneycutt of Locust; Nick Kalogeromitros of Rockwell; Blake A. Ketner of Davidson; Cassondra L. Markham of New Port Richey, Fla.; Caitlyn M. Masingo of Mount Ulla; Bryson S. Nesbitt of China Grove; Patrick J. Novak of Bethlehem, Pa.; Bradford D. Paschal of Summerfield; Thomas A. Readling of Salisbury; Timothy J. Readling of Salisbury; Samantha J. Ritchie of Mt. Pleasant; Bradley A. Ross of Freeland, Md.; Laura W. Sale of Yadkinville; Eric S. Schmehl of Shamong, N.J.; David C. Sinnott of Phenix, Va.; Shahin (Sean) Soltan Mohammadi of Gothenburg, Sweden; Ryan A. Taccarino of Marmora, N.J.; Vang Neng Thao of Spencer; and K. Ross Willard of Jacksonville, N.C.