During its six years of existence, Bent Tree Foundation, Inc. has awarded over $126,074 in student scholarships and teacher grants. This represents a total of 103 scholarships and 39 grants given to Pickens County students and teachers. Bent Tree Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization formed by a small group of Pickens County residents interested in having a positive impact on the Pickens community. A major focus of the Foundation is to recognize student achievement and promote student interest and involvement by funding innovative proposals submitted by our teachers through the grant program. Funds used to support this effort come from donations, tennis tournaments, golf tournaments, wine tasting events and Fatz pancake breakfasts.
Scholarship recipients, accompanied by their parents and friends were honored at Club Tamarack on Sunday, April 24. Also present were special guests, Dr. Lula Mae Perry, Superintendent of Pickens County Schools, Dr. Chris LeMieux, Principal of Pickens High School, Lynda Wallace, Principal of Harmony Elementary School and Heather Whitfield, Senior Counselor at Pickens High School.
Fifteen Foundation scholarships of $1000 each were awarded by Jesse Hunter, Chairman of the Bent Tree Foundation, to the following graduates of Pickens High School: Cansadie Jo Cornett, Georgia Southern University; Lauren Ashley Kettler, Reinhardt University; Meredith Grace Miller, Georgia College and State University; Suzanna Spring Price, Mercer University; Summer Scott Riddle, Georgia Southern University; Abigail Greighlin Sawyer, University of Georgia; Bailey Pauline Smith-Faulkner, Berry College; Angela Hope Walker, University of Missouri. A designated scholarship requiring attendance at the University of North Georgia, sponsored and funded by Martha B. Stephens in honor of her sister, Linda Brown August, was awarded to Brookin Jo Lyon. Another designated scholarship requiring attendance at the University of North Georgia, sponsored and funded by Colin and Sheila Thompson in honor of their two sons, Christopher C. Thompson and Stephen W. Thompson, both alumni of the University of North Georgia, was awarded to Lesley Vega. Two scholarships sponsored and funded by Nancy Davis in honor and memory of Dr. Monte Davis, Professor Emeritus at the Georgia Institute of Technology, highly respected nuclear physicist and engineer, research scientist and consultant were awarded to Christopher Larry Densmore, Georgia Tech and Maverick Dakota Pierce, Auburn University.
The Bent Tree Tennis Community partnered with the Foundation to award three $1000 scholarships to the following students: William Kyle Baker, Kennesaw State University; Ginny Rebekah Morris, University of Georgia; and Wesley E. Shelton, Kennesaw State University.
The Bent Tree Saddle Club partnered with the Foundation to award scholarships to Ava Cox, presently a student at Shorter University majoring in psychology and planning to work helping others through therapy animals, and Brigitte Gravitt, a fourth year student at the University of Georgia School of Veterinary Medicine.
Grants totaling over $37,000 have been awarded teachers over the past five years. The mission of the Bent Tree Foundation Teacher/School Grant and Student Scholarship Program is “to enhance the learning environment and education of both students and teachers in the Pickens County School Cluster by providing resources that enrich and extend educational opportunities and, in turn, contribute to student success in the future”.
Educational opportunities for over 1800 students were expanded this past year by implementation of the twelve proposals from our fourteen grant recipients. The total grant value exceeds $12,000.
Harmony Elementary School received two grants. Jennifer Valeriana received $1,360 for her project titled “Writing Right in Kindergarten” and Stacia Walker received $450 for her project “Wireless Wonders”.
Hill City Elementary School received one grant for a proposal by Diane Kinzer and Ginny Perren providing $1,261 for consumable and non-consumable items for the S.T.E.M. lab. This grant was funded by Nancy Davis in memory and honor of her husband Dr. Monte Davis, Professor Emeritus, Georgia Tech. S.T.E.M. stands for science, technology, engineering and math.
Jasper Elementary School received one grant for a proposal from Traci Buckingham. Ms. Buckingham was awarded $410 for her proposal “21st Century Literacy”.
Pickens County Middle School was awarded four grants totaling $3,931. Claire Eubanks received $1,555 for her project “The ROPES classes at PCMS are hanging from a threadbare ROPE!” Funds were to be used for maintenance, upkeep, training of instructors and equipment replacement. Karen Gurty and Patti Spedale received $1,047 for their proposal “Ultimate Chess”, a life size chess set to be constructed outside. Charlene Stirewalt received $709 for her project “Art of Cooking” and Courtney Smith received $620 for her project “Broadcast News and Design”.
Pickens High School received two grants totaling $3,207. Sharon McCoy received $998 for her project to purchase needed chemistry lab equipment. This grant was funded by Nancy Davis in memory and honor of Dr. Monte Davis. Patricia Barnard received $2,209 for her project “Reading Ahead of the Curve. Ms. Barnard explained that the purpose of her project was to meet students’ individual interests, motivate them, and increase their reading through technology means by placing NOOK e-books in their hands.
Tate Elementary School received two grants totaling $1,395. Clara Pantazopoulos was awarded $1095 for her proposal to purchase two Orff glockenspiels and one Orff Bass
Xylophone. Nancy Teague received $300 for her proposal “Hands-On Projects for Gifted Students”.
Bent Tree Foundation, Inc. invites you to visit our website, benttreefoundation.org to learn more about us and how you might join with us in expanding educational opportunities for Pickens County Schools, teachers and students.