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Latest New Century Scholars inducted

Jackson County students inducted into the New Century Scholars program on May 26 included, bottom row from left: Yamilex Rojas, Mariyah McFarland. Top row from left: Carmen Anderson, Gracie-Lee Irons, Tommy Valdez, and Sawyer Sumner. Not pictured: Ian Beck, Adrianna Ellenburg, Sarah Martinez, and McKenzie Woods.

Most academic ceremonies at Southwestern Community College pay tribute to what current students have already accomplished in their pursuit of higher education. 

The New Century Scholars inductions instead celebrate the bright futures of several area middle schoolers. Three of these events were held in person on the Jackson campus, allowing the students to walk across the stage at their future alma mater.

Thirty seventh graders from Jackson, Swain, and Macon Counties received their certificates on May 26, May 27, and June 3 respectively. These awards signify the promise of last-dollar tuition assistance for an SCC education after students complete high school.

“We are so proud of our New Century Scholars’ hard work and accomplishments, especially during this challenging year,” said Freya Kinner, SCC’s New Century Scholars coordinator.

Caleb Sullivan, a graduate of the program, made a virtual appearance as the featured speaker. He encouraged this year’s inductees to make genuine friends and take advantage of their opportunities.

More than 2,400 students have been inducted as New Century Scholars since it was established in 1995. The program provides resources and support to students as they navigate middle and high school – preparing them for a successful experience in college without worrying about the financial aspect.

New Century Scholars is celebrating its twenty-fifth year, being supported entirely by private donations and providing last-dollar tuition assistance.

In addition to working toward their high school diplomas, New Century Scholars are required to participate in community service activities that encourage leadership skills and explore potential future career options.

Macon County students inducted into the New Century Scholars program on June 3 included, bottom row from left: Andrick Romero, Ashlee Hernandez, Lydia Cabe, Elizabeth Cruz-Rios, Hunter Bryant, and Jasmine Cruz. Top row from left: Delaney McLean, Jessica Hernandez, and Kayla Lopez-Cruz. Not pictured: Melaina Worrell. Swain County students inducted into the New Century Scholars program on May 27 included, bottom row from left: Cerenity Stephens, Elliana Norton, Kaylan Cochran, Jayden Smiley, and Elaynah Cogdill. Top row from left: Stephanie Dyer, Brice Rogers, Angelina Lomeli, and Wessen Baines. Not pictured: Rylee Rawls.

To support this program, donations may be made at or by check to New Century Scholars and sent to the SCC Foundation, 447 College Drive, Sylva, NC 28779.

For more information about New Century Scholars, contact Kinner at or 828.339.4477.



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