Foundation Awards More Than $400,000 in Scholarships

The Haywood County Schools Foundation awarded 81 Pisgah, Tuscola, and Haywood Early College high school seniors with 121 scholarships totaling $400,500 last week. Scholarship amounts ranged from $500 to $48,000.

Executive Director for the Foundation Jenny Wood, along with Foundation board members, surprised seniors at each high school on May 19 with the good news.

“Our scholarship committee members have read through every one of your applications, and they agreed that everyone in here is deserving of these scholarships,” Wood told Tuscola High School seniors gathered in the school’s media center. “We look forward to hearing about your successes in college and beyond.”

The total amount of scholarship awards was up more than $140,000 from last year thanks to an increase in the Foundation’s investment interest and a $1.5 million endowment from the Plott family that created the Doris Eugenia Plott Memorial Scholarship and the Grace and Wayne Plott Memorial Scholarship.

Each of the 81 high school recipients was awarded at least $1,000 in combined scholarships.

The Foundation also awarded more than $22,000 in renewable scholarships to previous scholarship winners who are currently pursuing college degrees.

“We are beyond thrilled by and impressed with our 2022 scholarship recipients,” Wood said. “These seniors spent half of their high school education learning through the pandemic, and they didn’t let it dampen their academic achievements or pursuit of higher education.”

Pisgah senior Jackson Holland received one of the largest scholarship awards, the newly created Wayne and Grace Plott Memorial Scholarship totaling $40,000.

“This scholarship is going to help my family out a lot by taking a huge burden off of my parents’ shoulders,” Holland said. “I’m extremely thankful to the Plott family and the Haywood County Schools Foundation.”

Holland applied and was accepted to the highly-competitive and prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). MIT is perhaps best known for its programs in engineering and the physical sciences.

This year, MIT admitted 1,337 out of 33,796 applicants for an overall acceptance rate of just four percent.

Holland put MIT at the top of his college list after watching the 2008 film “21.” The film is inspired by the true story of the MIT blackjack team.

“After watching that movie, I was really interested in MIT and began researching the school and how to prepare myself to get in,” Holland explained. “I made it a goal to apply and get accepted.”

After his sophomore year at Pisgah, he began studying for the SATs, even though he wouldn’t take his test until one year later. All his studying paid off. Holland scored a 1590; just 10 points shy of a perfect score.

High SAT scores weren’t the only thing that contributed to Holland’s academic success. At Pisgah, he has taken numerous Advanced Placement (AP) classes, honors classes, and courses at Haywood Community College (HCC) through the school’s dual enrollment program.

Holland is more than a pure academic. He also played football all four years of high school in between working at Riverview Farm and Garden in Canton.

“I credit all my success to everyone who has been so supportive of me and my goals,” Holland said. “My teachers, family, and friends were very supportive. No one told me going to MIT was off the table.”

At MIT, Holland says he will most likely major in electrical engineering, although the field of artificial intelligence has also piqued his interest.

“I don’t know where I’ll end up career wise, but I want to explore options in research or even create my own business,” Holland said. “It would be a dream to intern at a company like Google or OpenAI while I’m in college.”

Morgan Putnam received the second Plott scholarship for Pisgah seniors, the Doris Eugenia Plott Memorial Scholarship, valued at $40,000.

Like Holland, Putnam has also been successful academically at Pisgah. With AP and honors classes at Pisgah and dual enrollment classes at HCC, her high school coarse load has been similar to that of a college student.

“I feel like the advanced classes I’ve taken through school have helped prepare me for college,” Putnam explained. “I have a solid feel for the workload and expectations professors will have in college.”

Upon graduating, Putnam will attend East Tennessee State University (ETSU) in Johnson City, Tenn.

Putnam’s passion for working with children has her torn between majoring in nursing or elementary education.

During her time at Pisgah, Putnam took several health sciences classes, including nursing fundamentals where she received her CNA license.

“That class was definitely one of my favorite classes in high school and opened my eyes to the possibility of becoming a pediatric nurse,” Putnam said. “Ms. Kuykendall is an amazing teacher, and I made a lot of great friends in class.”

Putnam said her goal in life is to help others, which makes elementary education another appealing degree.

No matter which college degree Putnam pursues, she said receiving the Doris Eugenia Plott Memorial Scholarship will allow her to focus on her studies and not on student loan debt.

“My family and I have been praying really hard that God would show me where I need to be and that He would provide a way,” Putnam explained. “This scholarship is such a huge blessing to my family, and a huge financial burden has been removed.”

This year, the James and Betty Scott Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Tuscola senior Hannah Wells. It is the Foundation’s largest scholarship with a total of $48,000.

After successfully completing several AP and honors classes, as well as dual enrollment courses at HCC, Wells is ranked in the top five percent of Tuscola’s 2022 senior class.

“AP Calculus with Mr. Pressley was probably my favorite class I’ve taken,” Wells said. “It’s a yearlong class, so it was fun to be with the same people for an entire year instead of just a semester.”

Wells said taking on a heavy workload at Tuscola has helped her prepare for college the most.

“My work ethic has improved so much over the past few years,” Wells said. “All those classes taught me time management and showed me how to work for the grades I want.”

Outside of academics, Wells excelled on Tuscola’s soccer, volleyball, and swim teams. Wells is also active in a girls youth group that meets once a week for a devotion, time of fellowship, and volunteer work.

Wells was accepted to Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C where she will pursue a dual major in government and international affairs.

“Wofford has always been a part of my life because both my parents and my grandfather went there,” Wells said. “When I visited the campus, it just felt like home to me.”

Although Wells will be less than 100 miles away from home, she has her sights set on overseas travel.

“Wofford has a great study abroad program that I want to be a part of,” Wells explained. “The scholarship from the Foundation will ensure I have the funds to participate in study abroad at least once, and hopefully twice.”

Wells hopes her college classes and future study abroad experiences will assist her in becoming a diplomat or U.S. ambassador.

Currently, the Foundation manages more than 60 scholarships. Scholarships may be endowed or funded annually. Criteria for awarding the scholarship are designed by the donors and the Foundation Board of Directors. Endowed scholarships are generated through the investment of permanently-held principals, so that only the income from the principal is used for scholarship awards.

For more information about donating to a scholarship fund or setting up a scholarship through the Haywood County Schools Foundation, contact Executive Director Jenny Wood at 456-2400 or visit

• Brian Acevedo-Noyola, THS: Charles K. Patterson Memorial
• Ralyn Balance, THS: Waynesville Woman’s Club
• Alexandra Battle, HEC: Smathers Cruso
• Anthony Blazer, PHS: Jack & Louise Sellers Memorial
• Titus Bleckley, PHS: Cruso Friendship Club and Champion Credit Union-Roland Leatherwood
• Azaleah “Azzy” Bradley, HEC: WOW – Lynda Chovan Memorial and Cynthia Shepherd Culbertson Memorial
• Alyssa Bridges, PHS: Haywood Rotary Club
• Olivia Brown, THS: Teresa Kaye Ashe Memorial for Nursing, Scott Sisters, and Cynthia Shepherd Culbertson Memorial
• Ian Bryson, PHS: Haywood Rotary Club
• Wyatt Bucinskas, PHS: Haywood Rotary Club
• Ethan Bumgarner, PHS: Champion Credit Union-Roland Leatherwood
• Hayden Burris, HEC: Frank & Kathryn G. Kirkpatrick Memorial
• Jacob Carver, HEC: Haywood County Schools Foundation
• Peyton Chappell, PHS: Haywood County Schools Foundation
• Hannah Clark, THS: Dr. Mack S. & Beulah Setser Memorial and Elayne Tucker Wadsworth Memorial
• Katherine Clontz, PHS: Reeves Memorial
• Kielynn Cockrell, THS: David Sherrill Memorial
• Lucas Cody, PHS: State Employees Credit Union
• Emma Deaver, PHS: Cruso Friendship Club and Champion Credit Union-Roland Leatherwood
• Presley Denton, PHS: Junaluska Ross-Lance
• Emma Dorgan, THS: Haywood County Schools Foundation
• Aidan East, HEC: Haywood County Schools Foundation
• Evan Easton, PHS: Peggy Melville and United Community Bank
• Ian Enggren, THS: Moses L. Robinson Memorial
• Adam Ensley, HEC: Waynesville Township High School Class of 1961
• Zachary Ensley, HEC: Tommy E. Davis Memorial
• Skylar Fish, THS: Waynesville Township High School Class of 1959
• Ashtyn Frady, PHS: Haywood County Schools Foundation
• Joshua Drake Franklin, PHS: Sportsman’s Club, Altrusa International of Waynesville, and Canopy Realtor Association/Western Region
• Jason Frazier, THS: Junaluska Ross-Lance
• Kinley Gilliam, PHS: Haywood Rotary Club
• James “Tre” Goodman, HEC: Haywood County Schools Foundation
• Jocelyn Green, HEC: State Employees Credit Union
• Macon Haider, PHS: Betty Jean Henson Memorial and James M. & Mary P. Edwards Memorial
• Emerald “Chayse” Hall, HEC: Canton High School Class of 1957 and Clyde Lions Club-Somberg, Mccracken & Hannah
• Julie Harter, HEC: Smathers Cruso
• Joseph Hodge, PHS: Staff Sgt. Michael Parrott Memorial
• Jackson Holland, PHS: Wayne & Grace Plott Memorial
• Emily Ingham, HEC: Quickdraw-Art
• Abigail Jones, THS: Quickdraw-Art and Canopy Realtor Association/Western Region
• Anneke Lam, THS: State Employees Credit Union
• Olivia Masciarelli, THS: Haywood County Democratic Women and Smathers Cruso
• Amanda McCall, THS: Patricia C. Liner, Rn Memorial
• John McCrory, THS: Haywood County Schools Nutrition Association
• Sydney Messer, PHS: PHS Golden Anniversary
• Gracyn Mills, PHS: Champion Credit Union-Roland Leatherwood and QuickDraw-Art
• Zoe Mina, THS: Tuscola Class of 1972
• Tristin Moore, HEC: First Citizens Bank
• Jackson Morgan, PHS: Smathers Cruso
• Isabelle Morris, HEC: Robert E. & Viola Forga and Haywood County Schools Foundation
• Reagan Mulvey, THS: Steve Sutton Memorial, Haywood County Community Band, and Tuscola Class of 1973
• Truongan Nguyen, THS: Haywood Regional Medical Center
• Gabe Nussman, PHS: Haywood Regional Medical Center and Waynesville Township High School Class of 1959
• Jonah Ottie, THS: Haywood Regional Medical Center
• Ephraim Overstreet, HEC: Waynesville Garden Club-Horticulture and Richie’s Alliance
• Xander Parilla, THS: Adeline B. Patrick Memorial, Dr. Charles Isley and Robert A. Campbell Music, Shay Barnes Starnes Memorial, and Haywood County Community Band
• Sara Parrott, PHS: Doris Eugenia Plott Memorial
• John-Paul Pless, PHS: Haywood Regional Medical Center
• Ty Pressel, THS: Haywood County Schools Foundation and QuickDraw-Art
• Morgan Putnam, PHS: Doris Eugenia Plott Memorial and Cynthia Shepherd Culbertson Memorial
• Starr Rathbone, HEC: Machesney Computer Science and Haywood County Democratic Women
• Trinity Reams, THS: Haywood County Fraternal Order of Police, Trooper Anthony Cogdill Memorial, and Waynesville Lions Club-Charles Balentine Sr. Memorial
• Gabbie Reece, THS: Robert E. & Viola Forga
• Ava Rickman, PHS: Haywood County Schools Foundation
• Maria “Josie” Rodriguez, THS: Braden Alcathie Memorial, Haywood County Retired School Personnel, Posey Family, and Altrusa International of Waynesville- Boyd/Ferguson
• Wesley Silveira, THS: United Community Bank and Haywood County Schools Foundation
• Jacob Smith, THS: Haywood County Schools Foundation
• Lawrence Stephenson, HEC: Kinsland Family
• Madison Stewart, PHS: Patricia C. Liner, Rn Memorial
• Stephen Stiles, HEC: Dr. Alan & Rita M. Brown Memorial
• Bailey Stockton, PHS: Reuben B. Robertson Foundation
• Samantha Torres, THS: Waynesville Rotary-Howard Splitt Memorial
• Martin Tox Williams, THS: John C. Howell Memorial
• Natileigh Webb, HEC: Patricia C. Liner, Rn Memorial
• Hannah Wells, THS: James & Betty Scott Memorial and Tuscola Class of 1971
• Logan White, THS: Mark Douglas Parris Memorial and QuickDraw-Art
• Ellie Williams, THS: Waynesville Woman’s Club
• Laken Williams, THS: Scott Sisters
• Luke Wilson, THS: Altrusa International of Waynesville and Tuscola Class of 1973
• Suella Wilson, THS: Waynesville Lions Club-Charles Balentine Sr. Memorial and Scott Sisters
• Bryce Worley, THS: Bill Sease Memorial
• Addison Wyatt, THS: Waynesville Woman’s Club
• Susan Zhang, PHS: Mary Gillis Educational Memorial and Scott Sisters