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Historic trees give way to scholarships

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Crossroads to Destiny Scholarships --

Recipients of the 2013 Crossroads to Destiny scholarships are pictured with those involved in this year’s large scholarship offering: (front, from left) Mackenzie Watson, Cecilee Dickens, Olivia Simmons, Madison Richey, (back) Willis Mason, Lincoln County Trustee Mary Jane Porter, Ben Massey, County Mayor Peggy Bevels, Diane Buchanan, and Jim Harwell.

Historic white oaks, which once marked the site of Camp Blount here, are contributing to the community in a new way, thanks to the talent of a local craftsman and a vision shared by community leaders.

Wooden bowls fashioned from the oaks by Willis Mason and sold for the benefit of the Crossroads to Destiny Scholarship Fund resulted in five Lincoln County High School graduating seniors each receiving $1,000 academic scholarships this year.

“Normally we present one scholarship each year from the sale of Crossroads to Destiny prints,” said Lincoln County Mayor Peggy Bevels recently, explaining that when the two historic trees marking the Camp Blount site, the trees’ trunks and large branches were preserved in Jim and Rachel Harwell’s barn until decisions could be made about what to do with them.

Ultimately, officials called upon Mason to begin turning bowls from the trees, the sales of which would benefit the scholarship fund this year.

“Even though our hearts were broken that the trees had to come down, we wouldn’t have been able to do this,” said Bevels, noting that sales were so successful, the scholarship committee was able to present five scholarships.

Recipients of the scholarships include Mackenzie Watson, Cecilee Dickens, Olivia Simmons, Madison Richey, and Ben Massey. Altogether, 47 graduating seniors had applied for the scholarships.

“I’m proud of all of you,” said the county mayor while presenting the scholarships recently. “You’ve all done so well in school, and it’s a great honor for us to be able to present these scholarships to you. You hope it’s a great honor, too, for you to receive them.”

Several were on hand for the presentation of the scholarships, including Mason, Jim Harwell, and Lincoln County Trustee Mary Jane Porter and Diane Buchanan, a member of the courthouse staff, both of whom were on the scholarship committee.

“These checks are made to each of you,” said Porter as the scholarships were awarded. “Use them in a way that you think is best with your college education.”

Bevels noted that future sales of items such as bowls made from the trees are being handled by and will benefit Fayetteville Main Street.