One of the focus areas of the Bent Tree Foundation is recognition of student achievement and the promotion of student interest and learning in the classroom by funding innovative proposals submitted by teachers to enhance their classroom teaching efforts. For the past seven years the Bent Tree Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3), has awarded $152,332 in student scholarships and teacher/school grants. This figure represents scholarship awards to 122 students and 46 teacher/school grants to the Pickens County educational system. Scholarship recipients, their parents and friends were honored at a reception on Sunday, April 23, at Club Tamarack where the Bent Tree Foundation awarded nineteen scholarships and seven teacher/school grants totaling $26,259 for the 2016-2017 academic year. The Foundation funds for these programs come from community donations, tennis tournaments, golf tournaments, wine tasting events and FATZ pancake breakfasts. Special guests included Dr. Charles Webb, Interim Superintendent of Pickens County Schools; Marjorie Poss and Kathy Harrell, Pickens High School Counselors; Dale Morrissey, Reinhardt University.
Nineteen Foundation Scholarships of $1000 each were awarded by Jesse Hunter, Chairman of the Bent Tree Foundation, to graduates of Pickens High School: Ashlynn Collum, University of West Georgia; Sierra Stanfield, Berry College; Megan Pruett, Reinhardt University, Samantha Cruzado, University of Georgia; and India Gleason, LaGrange College. A designated scholarship to the University of North Georgia, sponsored and funded by Martha B. Stephens in honor of her sister, Linda Brown August, was awarded to McKenna Kemp. Another designated scholarship to 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 Taylor Wigington. Three scholarships to the Georgia Institute of Technology, 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 Roman Tapia, Avery Luke, and Mary Zuidema. A designated scholarship to the University of Georgia was sponsored and funded by Roberta Sarchet to Jackson Melton. The Foundation also awarded a scholarship funded by the Bent Tree community in honor of Wayne and Vicki Wilson for all of their work in the development of the Foundation Scholarship and Grant program and for their many volunteer efforts for our Bent Tree Community during their residence. This special scholarship was awarded to Emily McNair, Paul Mitchell School of Esani, granddaughter of Bill and Sue Bapst. Bill was remembered as one of the Founders of the Foundation, and Sue continues to support and volunteer on behalf of the Foundation.
The Bent Tree Tennis Community partnered with the Foundation to award six $1000 scholarships to the following students: Grady Pearson, Kennesaw State University; Samuel Barber, University of Georgia; Stephen Jordan, Georgia Southern University; Dillon Shelton, University of Georgia; Skyler Denton, University of Georgia; and Sarah Prather, Berry College.
The Bent Tree Golf Community Lady Niners Association partnered with the Foundation to award one $1000 scholarship to Calista Odum, University of North Georgia.
The Bent Tree Foundation Teacher/School Grant program awarded seven grants totaling $7,259 to four Pickens County schools. Pickens County Middle School received two grants: Thomas M. Brooks was awarded a $2000 grant for his project entitled Engineering Design & Problem Solving with VEX Robotics”; Sue Watters was awarded $479 for her grant entitled “Subatomic Particle Inquiry Project”. Pickens High School received three grants: Sharon McCoy was awarded $1632 for her grant “Physics Program Update”; Leslie F. Zuidema received $1000 in funding for her grant “CPR Update- Healthcare Science-2016 and Beyond”; Valerie Boehm was awarded $500 for her drama and chorus grant “Take on the Big Apple”. Hill City Elementary teacher, Kristi Buchanan, received $688 in funding for her grant “Mini PADS for Lifelong Learning”; and Tate Elementary teacher, Denise Salter, received funds totaling $960 for her grant “i-READY”.
The Bent Tree Foundation, Inc. would like to thank all of the volunteers and donors who enabled the Foundation to continue to provide educational opportunities to Pickens County schools, teachers and students. For more information about our foundation and how you might join with us in this effort, please visit our website benttreefoundation.org.