WNC Communities has announced the six recipients of the 2023 George H.V. Cecil Journey Scholarship during a special ceremony at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Biltmore Village.
The endowment fund, which is a result of a $3.1 million donation by the estate of George H.V. Cecil, provides renewable four-year scholarships to deserving high school seniors in western North Carolina. Receiving a total of more than $9,000.00 in scholarships in 2023, this year’s recipients include:
- Abigail Przynosch of Beaverdam in Buncombe County
- Irvin Morales-Saldivar of Walnut Creek in Madison County
- Kensley Phillips of Snowbird in Graham County
- Lucy Murray of Little River in Transylvania County
- Zorabella Adrignola of Little River in Transylvania County
- Joanna Cady of Upper Laurel in Madison County
“WNC Communities is honored to administer this scholarship program. One of our greatest joys is to see the youth in our rural communities succeed and have the opportunity to attend higher education,” said Jennifer Ferre, executive director, WNC Communities. “We believe that communities make a difference in our everyday lives and these students represent the impressive home-grown talent that is cultivated in our mountain region.”
The 2023 recipients exemplify some of the best and brightest future leaders emerging from western North Carolina. Each student was evaluated based on their character, academic potential, dedication to community service, and leadership. Across all six recipients, accolades include positions on their student government, participation in a wide range of school clubs, and extracurricular roles and volunteer work aimed at improving their communities.
Morales-Saldivar is this year’s recipient of the Premier scholarship, the highest award level, which is given to a student who strongly embodies the core values of good character, academic potential, dedication to community service, and leadership. Przynosch is this year’s recipient of the Pat Brinkley Shumlison Memorial scholarship, which is an additional one-time award given to a student for exceptional leadership.
The scholarship program continues the storied legacy of George H.V. Cecil and his family, who were dedicated to supporting the rural communities of western North Carolina. One of the founders of the WNC Honors program, Mr. Cecil served the program for 71 years, remaining an active member of the scholarship committee throughout his lifetime. The $3.1 million contribution extends his long-time commitment to improving the lives of youth in the region’s rural communities, funding the scholarship program in perpetuity.
“Giving back to those living in western North Carolina was important to my father, and it’s an honor to continue his legacy through this program,” said Edie Cecil, WNC Communities’ Board of Directors member and George H.V. Cecil’s daughter. “This year’s recipients embody his beliefs, including the importance of being engaged and giving back to your community. We look forward to watching these students flourish as they enter a new chapter of their lives.”
The 2024 George H.V. Cecil Journey Scholarship will open for applications in early 2024. To learn more about the scholarship program or WNC Communities, please visit wnccommunities.org.