McDowell Chamber awards $3,000 in scholarships

Black Mountain News

McDowell Chamber of Commerce board chair Eddie Shuford presented six high school students and participants of the chamber's Student LINC program with $3,000 in scholarships on June 6. Recipients included, Danielle Byrd, Carla Cervantes, Hannah Mitchell, Jessica Rodrigues, Amanda Warren, and Jacob Whitson Each won a $500 scholarship to the school of their choosing.

McDowell County Chamber board chair Eddie Shuford, far right, presents LINC students with $500 scholarships - (from left) Danielle Byrd, Carla Cervantes, Hannah Mitchell, Jessica Rodrigues, Amanda Warren and Jacob Whitson.

Scholarships were awarded based on each student’s efforts and participation in the program, which is led by program director Juanita Doggett. Shuford was impressed in the level of enthusiasm and dedication each of these students displayed throughout the program, he said.

“These students showed initiative and were open to learning throughout the program,” he said. “They each gained valuable knowledge about McDowell that will hopefully impact their future career decisions, and eventually impact McDowell County in a positive way.”

LINC stands for Leadership, Involvement, Networking, and Community Knowledge and is McDowell County’s leadership program and offers an adult and two student programs, one for high school students called Student LINC and the other for rising eighth-graders called CARP (Career Awareness Readiness Program). LINC serves to educate residents about the opportunities and advanced offerings that McDowell has through its industry, nonprofits, small businesses, government, and community programs.

Classes are held a full day once a month for 10 months and feature a combination of site tours and presentations. Subjects included in the course are government, economic development, education, health care, business and industry, public services, arts, culture and history.

The student LINC program began in 2010 as a project of the first graduating class of the adult program. The student program is a condensed version of the adult class and involves two weeks of the same topics during the summer.

The program is made possible by the investment of its partners, McDowell Chamber and McDowell Technical Community College and the following sponsors, The City of Marion, Duke Energy, McDowell Co. Schools, and McDowell Co. government. The participating businesses and companies also invest time and staff resources into this program as they host our students and educate them on the exciting things happening here in our county.

For more information about the above-mentioned programs, contact the Chamber at 828.652.4240 or by email at