Mary Helen was born in Jackson County, NC and lived there all her life, except for her time in college. She attended UNC Chapel Hill and graduated in 1968 with a teaching degree. That same year, she moved back to Western North Carolina and started teaching at Cherokee High School on the Qualla Boundary, sometimes referred to as the Cherokee Indian Reservation. Mary Helen wanted to teach math, but the only opening at the time was for High School English. Mary Helen enjoyed teaching English so much that she spent the next 39 years doing so. She taught on the Boundary for 14 years. At the end of the 1982 school year, she accepted a position teaching English at Jackson County’s Smoky Mountain High School and taught there for the next 25 years.
Mary Helen was proud of her students. Having taught for so many years and having spent much of her time over the years chaperoning and sponsoring school activities she was recognized widely in Western North Carolina. Mary Helen delayed marriage until after her retirement and spent her last years of life enjoying the fruits of her labor with her loving husband, Reggie.
Reggie created this scholarship to honor Mary Helen and her love for and dedication to her students, especially those who chose to become English teachers. She believed that education offers the opportunity for success in life, and this scholarship continues her work toward that end.
One-time up to $3,000
Number Of Awards
January 22, 2024
Two scholarships will be available to graduating seniors of Smoky Mountain High School in Sylva, NC. There is a preference for students who plan to major in English, Math or General Business at an accreddited non-profit public or private two- or four-year educational institution within the United States.
CFWNC ensures that all scholarship recipients are selected on an objective and nondiscriminatory basis and that selections are based on specific guidelines and criteria for each fund.
Must be a graduating senior of Smoky Mountain High School
Preference for a student with interests in studying English, Math or General Business
To apply, students must complete an application online. The application, with required attachments, must be submitted online on or before the deadline. Award Year 2024 closed.
The scholarship program is administered by The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. Please direct any questions about this scholarship to the Foundation's Scholarship Officer, Lezette Parks, at firstname.lastname@example.org.