RALEIGH — The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority announced 215 rural North Carolina students who will receive a Golden LEAF Scholarship valued at up to $12,000 each, including four students from Ashe County.

Students in Ashe County who received the scholarships included Maegan Adolph of Jefferson, Chloe Parker of West Jefferson, Brooklyn Pruitt of Fleetwood and Alec Roland of West Jefferson. Both Parker and Roland will be attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Adolph will attend Appalachian State University, and Pruitt will be attending Wingate University.

Each student will receive a $3,000 scholarship each year for up to four years as they attend a participating North Carolina college or university. Recipients of the scholarships are from rural counties that are tobacco-dependent and/or economically distressed.

Students are selected based on career and educational goals, a review of school and community service activities, academic performance, length of residence in the county and expressed intent to contribute to the state’s rural communities upon graduation from college.

The Golden LEAF Foundation created the scholarship program to broaden educational opportunities and provide support to students from rural counties with the hope that, after graduation, recipients will contribute to those communities.

This year marked the 20th year of awarding scholarships for the Golden LEAF Foundation. Out of more than 2,000 applicants, 215 were awarded scholarships.

Students who receive Golden LEAF Scholarships are also eligible to participate in the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program. The optional program provides leadership training at the Center for Creative Leadership, paid internship opportunities in rural North Carolina communities and stipends in addition to Golden LEAF Scholarship funding.

“We are proud to support their educational pursuits as they develop into North Carolina’s next generation of rural leaders,” said Ted Lord, acting president of the Golden LEAF Foundation.

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