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‘Ducks on the Tuck’ sets record in Swain debut

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Ducks overflow the launching box before the start of “Ducks on the Tuck” May 24 in Bryson City. The event is the primary fundraiser each year for New Century Scholars, a program that guarantees last-dollar tuition assistance and extra support to help deserving students attend Southwestern Community College.
The launching box overflows with rubber ducks, and five duck-filled bags wait to get dropped into the Tuckasegee River for the “Ducks on the Tuck” fundraiser May 24 in Bryson City.
Volunteers release rubber ducks into the Tuckaseegee River at the start of “Ducks on the Tuck” in Bryson City.
 Volunteers release rubber ducks into the Tuckaseegee River at the start of “Ducks on the Tuck” in Bryson City
“Ducks on the Tuck,” which was held in Bryson City this year, is the primary fundraiser for New Century Scholars, a program that guarantees last-dollar tuition assistance and extra support to help deserving students attend Southwestern Community College.
Volunteers scoop ducks out of the Tuckasegee River at the finish line of the May 24 “Ducks on the Tuck” fundraiser for Southwestern Community College’s New Century Scholars program.
Amanda Cochran (not present) won the grand prize of a 50-inch flat screen television from (left to right) at the May 24 “Ducks on the Tuck” Fundraiser for Southwestern Community College’s New Century Scholars program. Cochran’s son Britt is a New Century Scholar. The grand prize was donated by, from left: Ken, Melissa and Tyler Cook representing Custom Sound and Security of Franklin.

Thirteen previous “Ducks on the Tuck” races helped guarantee a Southwestern Community College education for hundreds of deserving students, but the 14th event broke new ground.

For the first time in the history of New Century Scholars’ primary fundraiser, supporters adopted so many ducks that they wouldn’t all fit in the launching box. So five duck-filled bags were emptied into the river at the same time as the other rubber birds were released into the Tuckasegee River on Saturday, May 24, during Swain County’s Heritage Days festival.

A duck adopted by Amanda Cochran of Franklin crossed the finish line first, yielding Cochran the grand prize of a 50-inch flat screen television, but Mary Selzer of the SCC Foundation said the biggest winners were the rising seventh-graders who’ll make up the next crop of New Century Scholars in Jackson, Macon and Swain Counties.

Cochran’s son Britt is a New Century Scholar.

“We are blown away by the generosity of everyone in our service area,” Selzer said. “It was amazing to see the ducks overflowing out of the launching box. Because donations are still flowing in, we won’t have finalized numbers until later this summer. But we are excited and feel confident that the community will provide strong financial support for this program, and that means a lot of deserving students are going to get the help they need to gain a college education.”

This was the first year the event was held outside Jackson County.

Altogether, 60 prizes were donated by local businesses.

New Century Scholars was established in 1995 by Dr. Charles McConnell, former Jackson County superintendent, and then-SCC president Dr. Barry Russell to help high-potential, deserving students achieve a college education. The program provides last-dollar tuition assistance and extra support such as dedicated advising as part of its goal to improve academic readiness, bolster student persistence toward high school graduation and increase the college going-rate of local students. 

For more information about the New Century Scholars program, contact Pamela Judson at 828.339.4477 orpjudson@southwesterncc.edu.