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New Century Scholars from Jackson, Macon and Swain counties were recently inducted during a ceremony on Southwestern Community College’s Jackson Campus.

The New Century Scholars Program began in 1995 and is a collaborative educational effort among the public schools in Macon, Jackson and Swain counties and Southwestern Community College. The program targets “high potential” students at the end of sixth grade and provides extra support to those students through their middle school and high school years and while they attend Southwestern Community College.


A $65,000 Early Childhood Development Focus Area Grant to the North Carolina Partnership for Children (NCPC) will develop Champions for Children teams among business and community leaders to advocate for public and private funding for early child care and education in Western North Carolina.

The project supports the Foundation’s vision of helping every child realize his or her full potential. Specifically, it focuses on the strategy to raise awareness of the importance of investing in early childhood development.

The effort has the potential to affect more than 56,000 children, birth to five, living in the Foundation’s 18-county service area. The funding allows NCPC to hire a consultant to work with a Community Relations Coordinator, employed through a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, to expand the Champions for Children effort to 16 Western North Carolina counties.


For Asheville resident Crystal O’Dell, access to Western Carolina University’s graduate degree programs at Biltmore Park has made it possible for her to pursue her dream of becoming a family nurse practitioner while holding down a full-time job as a registered nurse.

For Jonathan Rich, a former newspaper reporter and editor living in Brevard, WCU’s new instructional site located between Asheville and Hendersonville is allowing him to change careers and become an educator.


Inmates tell stories of the perils of substance abuse.

Students at Macon Middle School recently got a reality check. As part of a program for Macon County Schools, the sixth and seventh grade students listened to a presentation about the scourge of drugs and alcohol known as “Reality Check 101.” In total, all 590 students at Macon Middle School were given the presentation.

In the middle school gymnasium, four chairs sat facing a bleacher stand full of students; in the chairs sat three inmates from the Macon County Detention Center, a fourth was left empty as the former inmate who frequented the program died of a drug overdose.


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