Dozens of Amherst County High School seniors received scholarships from clubs, organizations and groups across the area at the school’s annual senior awards ceremony last week.
One batch of scholarships in particular this year came from retired Richmond police officer and Amherst native Glenwood Burley, who gave $2,000 apiece to five members of the class of 2019.
Burley gave the awards in honor of his local heroes, the late Harold Huston Higgins and the late Haney “Bobby” Mottley.
Mottley, the first Amherst Town Police Chief who inspired Burley to become a law enforcement officer, died in 2017 at age 88. Higgins was a vocational agricultural teacher in Amherst County Public Schools for more than 40 years and taught Burley. He died in 2012 at age 94.
Burley, who also had lunch with the five students, said he deeply enjoyed presenting the awards.
“That’s a most impressive hour and a half,” Burley said in a later interview. “It continues to be a blessing. These children are amazingly smart.”
He also gave another $1,000 to the high school’s Future Farmers of America chapter in the memory of his father.
“I’m getting far more out of this than I’ve given,” Burley said. “I’m just humbled by this whole experience.”
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Amherst presented a scholarship in honor of Louise Cash, a parishioner who recently celebrated her 100th birthday, according to Melissa Sutherland, who presented it. “She is one great lady,” Sutherland said.
The University of Lynchburg awarded scholarships to nine students and Sweet Briar College awarded four scholarships. Randolph College also gave scholarship awards.
Ronald Tomlin, chaplain of the Amherst/Monroe Ruritan Club, presented a scholarship in honor of the late Jack Kent, who founded the club. The organization awarded two scholarships overall.
“I have never seen so many smart, involved students,” Tomlin said.
Elon Ruritan Club also presented scholarships to three students. Sandra Schjonning, speaking on behalf of the club, said an EF-3 category tornado in April 2018 that devastated much of the Elon community and damaged the club’s former building to the extent it had to be torn down last October. The club is marching forward in its rebuilding efforts, she said.
“We poured some of the flooring in our basement today,” Schjonning said to applause from gatherers.
The Brittni Coffey Memorial Scholarship, named in the memory of an ACHS student who died from a vehicle crash in 2012 in her senior year, also was awarded.
Other organizations and groups awarding scholarships included the Woman’s Club of Lynchburg, Bank of the James, the Amherst Woman’s Club, the Amherst County Retired Teachers Association, the Amherst NAACP chapter, the Amherst Association for Family and Education, Grief, Amherst Glebe Arts Response’ Rotary Club of Amherst, the Amherst County Lions Club and the Pedlar, Madison Heights, Clifford and Temperance Ruritan clubs.
Mary Kay McCrea, a counselor at the high school, said last Thursday’s program is tangible evidence of the students’ hard work and success and thanked all of the donors for their generosity and investment.
“We are humbled by what you do for our students,” McCrea said.
ACHS’s graduation is at 7 p.m. May 24 at Liberty University’s Vines Center.