Roll out the red carpet: Foundation honors scholars

Published 1:15 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2023

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The red carpet was rolled out for the 2023 high school and college scholars on May 4 at Triple J Manor House in Mocksville

Davie Community Foundaton Board Chair Jennifer Hanes and Vice Chair Brian Nicolay kicked off the evening with a welcome message followed by an introduction of the scholars.

Scholarship donors and foundation board members joined the scholars’ families and friends in cheering as they walked the red carpet.

In honor of the foundation’s 35th anniversary, the board made a one-time investment of $3,500 in a young person who exemplifies commitment to the community, academic excellence, good character, and volunteerism. Madi Rogers, SURF Board Youth Grantmakers President, was selected.

The foundation continues to grow and invest in more students as new scholarship funds are added, said Melissa O’Connor, foundation senior program officer.

The Ashton G. Brown Memorial Scholarship, Davie High Class of 1988 Scholarship, Lori Ann Gonnella Community Scholarship, and Thomas Pennington Blanton Scholarship were awarded for the first time. “What a beautiful legacy these families and classmates are leaving by investing in students,” O’Connor said.

After the scholarships were announced, the recipients were able to mix and mingle with donors for cake and conversation.

“It is very important for our youth to understand the meaning and message behind their scholarship. Looking around the room and seeing donors and students talking and posing for pictures is what the red carpet reception is all about. It is exciting to think of the connections being made,” she said.

“We received 193 very impressive scholarship applications this year. I had several committees share that they wished they could award a scholarship to all their applicants. It is just one of the reasons I love working with our generous donors. They have huge hearts and truly want the best for all our students.

“I love reading our articles on past scholars and look forward to seeing what the future holds for our 2023 scholars. I hope a lot of these scholars return to Davie to share their talents,” O’Connor said.

In 2023, the foundation has awarded $271,772 in scholarships to 91 high school and college students. Graduate and healthcare focused scholarship applications are open at with a deadline of June 1.