Concert to benefit Rotary Club of Tryon scholarships May 1

Published 2:30 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gorden Threlfall, chairman of the Rotary Club of Tryon Scholarship Committee, announces that the ticket sales for the Community Chorus Spring Concert benefit the five college scholarships awarded each year. The concert will be given Sunday, May 1 at Polk County High School.

Maggie Fitch

Two of the scholarships, totaling $6,000 ($1,500 per year), are awarded to graduating seniors at Polk County High School who are beginning a four-year college program. Two other scholarships are awarded to Polk County High School seniors beginning a two-year college program. One pays $2,500 ($1,250 per year) and the other pays $1,200 ($600 per year). The Frank Ortiz Service Above Self Award is for $1,000.

Two of the recent scholarship recipients have given an update to let the community know how they are benefitting from the Rotary Club of Tryon scholarships they received in recent years.

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Evan Fitch is the son of Robert and Theresa Fitch and is a student at UNC-Chapel Hill. He received his initial scholarship in 2010 from Rotary Club of Tryon. Evan says he is grateful for the $1,500 scholarship he received. He is currently active in extracurricular activities such as playing intramural soccer and participating in fundraisers such as the UNC Dance Marathon which benefitted UNC Children’s Hospital.

In addition to his studies, Evan has been able to cultivate a love for the arts by attending concerts, art shows, films and plays. He says he looks forward to the day when he can serve in his own local Rotary Club and give scholarships to other young students.

Evan’s sister, Maggie, received her initial scholarship in 2008 and she wrote to give information about some of her interests and accomplishments over the last three years.

Since her arrival at UNC, she has benefitted from the Rotary Club of Tryon’s David A. Wells Memorial Scholarship. She said, “Coming from our small, tight-knit community in Polk County, I have been pleasantly surprised to find myself wholly immersed in a whirling confluence of cultures and communities, the diversity of which surpasses anything I had previously experienced.”

She has been able to participate in one of two women’s club soccer teams on campus (the Heels) since her freshman year. She is now co-president of her team. The Heels compete nearly every weekend against teams from North Carolina and surrounding states.

She has also become involved in the Newman Catholic Student Center. Through her work at the Newman Center she joined her friends in ministering to the mentally handicapped orphans of Jamaica’s Mustard Seed Community (Montego Bay) and the homeless of Washington, D.C.

In the spring of 2010, Maggie took the opportunity to study abroad in Costa Rica. She spent five months living and learning with her now-beloved host family and acquiring a more critical perspective of American culture and ideas in her Spanish-taught classes at the Universidad Nacional in Heredia. After returning from Costa Rica, she began volunteering on a regular basis with a nearby Spanish-speaking community and has added a Spanish major. This spring she will return to Central America (Honduras) as part of a Habitat for Humanity team that will construct houses in a region where extreme poverty bars access to decent living conditions for many families.

In part because of the Rotary Club of Tryon, Maggie says she has been afforded the chance to expand her mind, open herself to transformative relationships with God, friends, classmates and mentors and lead others to begin their own self-discovery and self-growth. Maggie concluded her update with these words:

“I cannot thank you enough. Que Dios les bendiga. (May God bless you.)”

The spring concert will be held on May 1. The concert will be provided by up to 80 singers from Polk and Rutherford counties and Upstate South Carolina while helping provide scholarships for area youth.