Karena Mason of Franklin won the grand prize of a full-year scholarship at Southwestern Community College’s 50th anniversary open house celebration and scholarship scavenger hunt Friday, April 10, at SCC’s Jackson Campus.
Among the roughly 500 people who attended the event, 96 participated in the scavenger hunt. Each participant had to visit three separate program presentations, each at a different building. Upon successfully completing the hunt, participants’ names were placed in a drawing that evening in the Burrell Conference Center.
Karena Mason’s parents – LaRessie and Mark Mason – graduated from SCC in the mid-1990s.
“This is an answered prayer,” LaRessie Mason said. “The whole idea of being able to win a scholarship was great. But when I heard the faculty and staff gave so much of the money, it made it even more special because it’s from their hearts.
“It was neat to come back,” she added. “I hadn’t been back in that capacity in years, and it was so neat to see that it’s still the same. And that’s what I wanted Karena to see: that the teachers care about their students.”
Other winners included Taylor Medlin ($1,000 scholarship) of Tuckasegee; William Bateman ($500 scholarship) of Franklin; and Jesica Palacios ($250 scholarship) of Waynesville. Seven gift certificates (three worth $100 each and five worth $50 each) to the SCC bookstore were also awarded.
All prizes were provided through the donations of SCC faculty and staff with support from the SCC Foundation.
“It was heartwarming to see all these people here helping us celebrate Southwestern’s 50th anniversary,” said Dr. Don Tomas, SCC president. “And it was truly gratifying knowing that these scholarships helped out several area families. We’re very pleased to know these students will be attending SCC in the near future, and we hope everyone who participated in the scholarship scavenger hunt now considers Southwestern as their top college of choice.”
Faculty and staff representing a wide variety of SCC’s programs provided demonstrations and answered questions throughout the event, and the Mountain Area Medical Lift (MAMA) helicopter made an appearance.
Representatives from each board of commissioners in SCC’s service area (Jackson, Macon and Swain counties) were present to read a joint resolution. N.C. Senator Jim Davis and Webster Mayor Nick Breedlove also read resolutions.