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  • Diana Matthews

CCCA graduate receives Golden LEAF scholarship

Columbus Career and College Academy graduated 57 members of the class of 2018 Tuesday in commencement exercises held at West Columbus High School.

Of those graduates, 38 plan to attend a four-year college, a community college or a trade school in the fall, said school counselor Kim Gore. “Quite a few are going into the military, and the rest are going into the work force.”

Ward recognized

Chloe Ward, the 18-year-old daughter of Archie and Christy Ward, received her high school diploma at the same time as associate degrees in both arts and sciences. She plans to enter Wingate University in the fall to study pharmacy. Ward received a Golden LEAF Scholarship, which will provide $3,000 per year toward her tuition. LEAF stands for Long-Term Economic Advancement Foundation; scholarships and grants are among the ways that Golden LEAF works to revitalize the rural economy, the group’s president, Dan Gerlach, said.

CCCA principal Nicky Hobbs publicly announced Ward’s scholarship Thursday, May 17, sharing the following statement from the tobacco settlement-funded organization: “The Foundation hopes that, through this scholarship, Chloe Ward will be able to gain valuable knowledge and skills and come back to her hometown or another rural area to help our communities prosper. We need students like Chloe Ward to help make our communities thrive.” Gerlach later visited CCCA and presented Ward with a plaque.

A leader in a strong class

Ward was a member of the Phi Theta kappa honor society at SCC and a winner of a Phi Theta Kappa scholarship and a Belk Scholarship, her counselor said. She was also an SCC marshal, the CCCA chief marshal and an honor graduate.

Ward completed her three degrees in four years. “Really the program is designed for a five-year time frame,” said Gore. But Ward’s accomplishing it in four years was “not unusual for this graduating class,” she said. “We had a really strong 12th-grade class this year.

“We had quite a few get both degrees in four years. We had some go-getters, and (Ward) was one.”

Seven of the 38 graduates heading for further education have received merit-based scholarships that Gore is aware of. “A lot receive scholarships through the universities,” she said, “and I may or may not know about that.”

The foundation

The Golden LEAF Scholarship was established by Golden LEAF to provide opportunities for students from rural, tobacco-dependent and economically distressed North Carolina communities to attend college. The four-year scholarship, totaling $12,000, is open to students from qualifying counties that are planning to attend a participating North Carolina college or university. There is a separate scholarship for students aiming for two- or three-year degrees.

This year the foundation awarded 215 scholarships from an applicant pool of more than 2,600 students.

Applicants must fill out forms provided through the N.C. College Foundation. They may visit the group’s website,, or call (866) 866-CFNC to obtain forms and other details.

Selection criteria include the student’s financial need, grade point average, length of residence in an eligible county and commitment to returning to a rural and economically distressed area after graduation.

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