Golden LEAF awards 215 scholarships each year to help rural high school or community college transfer students attend a North Carolina college or university. The scholarship provides funding for undergraduate students for up to four years of study at a participating North Carolina college or university.
In October 2021, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors increased the scholarship amount from $3,000 per year to $3,500 per year starting in the fall of 2022, with both new and current scholarship recipients receiving the increased award amount
Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer Scott T. Hamilton has made it a priority to meet with Golden LEAF Scholarship recipients at their college or university to help connect them with the Golden LEAF Foundation, the leadership of the college or university they are attending, and their fellow scholars.
Since August 2021, Scott and Golden LEAF Board and staff members have visited Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, Western Carolina University, and Campbell University.
“It is a huge honor for the 215 scholars who receive the scholarship each year,” said Scott. “We had more than 1,500 students across the state apply for the Golden LEAF Scholarship in 2021. Our scholars also have opportunities to participate in a paid internship in a rural community as well as gain valuable leadership training.”
Although each college visit is unique, Golden LEAF Scholars are all given the opportunity to learn more about the Golden LEAF Foundation, the Golden LEAF Scholarship Program and other opportunities available only to Golden LEAF Scholars.
“At each visit, we hear compelling stories of what the Golden LEAF Scholarship has meant to the recipients,” said Scott. “Each student we hear from has mentioned the scholarship as being a critical factor for them to attend a four-year college or university. Many are first generation students. The goal is to have our scholars come back to live and work in rural North Carolina communities. We know that with each Golden LEAF Scholarship, we have a success story to tell.”
On September 10, 2021, Scott was joined by Chair of the Golden LEAF Board of Directors Bo Biggs and Golden LEAF staff at Fayetteville State University to meet with three scholars. The Golden LEAF Scholarship reception was hosted by Chancellor Darrell Allison and members of the FSU leadership.
Golden LEAF Scholar Joseph Brake of Nash County attended the reception. Brake is a senior at FSU, majoring in social work and wants to give back to his community through teaching and mentoring.
“This scholarship has helped me to focus on my academics without having to worry about having to pay for my education,” said Brake. “After college, I plan to attend graduate school to study social work and then return to Nash County and teach social work classes at a two-year college. I also want to manage a chapter of the Made Men Mentoring Program.”
On September 17, 2021, Scott and Golden LEAF staff met with 14 Golden LEAF Scholars at Western Carolina University. Chancellor Kelli Brown and members of the WCU leadership hosted the Golden LEAF Scholars brunch.
Golden LEAF Scholar Carlos Pena-Magos of Catawba County attended the brunch. Pena-Magos is a senior at WCU, majoring in Emergency Medical Care and minoring in Chemistry. He is interested in working in the healthcare field.
“I want to work as a paramedic for two or three years before applying to medical school,” said Pena-Magos. “I want to become a medical doctor in Internal Medicine. I plan to help my community with more affordable health clinics that help people with physical and mental health needs. I plan to contribute to my community by utilizing the skills I obtain from my education to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities in western North Carolina.”
Elizabeth City State University Chancellor Karrie Dixon and members of the ECSU leadership hosted a reception for Golden LEAF Scholars on September 28, 2021. Three Golden LEAF Scholars and Golden LEAF staff attended the reception.
Golden LEAF Scholar Alexus Elliott of Wayne County attended the event. She is a senior at ECSU, majoring in Biology with a concentration in Pre-dentistry and a minor in Chemistry. She wants to become a dentist.
“After becoming a dentist, I hope to one day specialize in Orthodontics and use my education to give back to my community,” said Elliott. “The Golden LEAF Scholarship gave me the opportunity to further my education and chase my dreams. The gratitude I have is immeasurable.”
On November 3, 2021, Campbell University held a luncheon to honor 10 Golden LEAF Scholars. Campbell University Chancellor Jerry Wallace and members of the CU leadership hosted the scholars and Golden LEAF staff.
Golden LEAF Scholar Madelyn Hall of Sampson County attended the luncheon. Hall is a freshman at CU, majoring in Elementary Education and minoring in Spanish. She plans to become a teacher.
“I have always loved my rural community in Sampson County,” said Hall. “After I graduate, my dream job would be an educator. I want to provide a safe place for children to learn and grow, and a place where they feel loved and accepted for who they are.”
To learn more about the Golden LEAF Scholarship, visit www.goldenleaf.org/scholarships.