Ducks on the Tuck is truly a team effort and Shay Gentry used this theme in her winning Tshirt design for this year’s annual New Century Scholars fundraiser.
Gentry, a graduate of the New Century Scholars program, depicts three enthusiastic ducks with their thumbs up as they race together in a lifeboat down the Tuckaseigee River. She said the three ducks represent the partnership among Southwestern Community College, Western Carolina University and the public schools.
This year’s Ducks on the Tuck race is slated for 3 p.m. May 1.
Gentry came up with the design after brainstorming with her mom, Teresa Shular of Cullowhee, about what the program represents.
“The boat represents the lifeboat that NCS gives to students,” said Gentry. “I can speak for myself; if I had not been selected to be a New Century Scholar I probably would not have gone to Southwestern Community College.”
As one of three children, Gentry said it was a big help for her parents when she became a New Century Scholar and eligible for a college education without the worry of tuition.
“My parents always made sure I kept my grades up,” said Gentry. To meet NCS requirements, she volunteered at nursing homes, cleaned homes for the elderly and helped clear the place for the pond at Cullowhee Valley School.
New Century Scholars is a community initiative to provide programming and opportunities for youth, starting in the seventh grade and serving them throughout middle school, high school and post-secondary education. Students who successfully complete the program have the opportunity to attend SCC for five semesters without the cost of tuition and fees. After SCC, NCS students may go on to Western Carolina University for two years with this same guarantee.
For Gentry, New Century Scholars was “a rewarding experience that opened doors for me that otherwise might have been closed.”
Gentry credits her graphic arts degree for landing her a job right out of college with Gooder Grafix in Franklin, where she has been employed since 2004.
She enjoys working in this position because it utilizes her training and “we do so many different things and it is never boring.”
Her T-shirt design exhibits her graphic arts creativity, as well as her enthusiasm for NCS.
“I think the New Century Scholars program is God sent. So many kids would love to have the opportunity to go to school and better themselves but they never get that chance. I got it and appreciate it every day,” she said.