Appalachian Community Scholarship

I am fortunate enough to be in a position to give back. One way I try to is with the Appalachian Community Scholarship, a $1,000 scholarship for students at Lee County Middle High School.

The scholarship is open to seniors who have at least a 3.0 GPA and are attending a 4-year college or university in the fall after graduation. There's a short essay with the following prompt: How will going to college help you help your community in the future?

I have two goals with this scholarship.

I want to help with the financial burdens of going to college. I've experienced how life-changing a high-quality education can be, but I've also experienced what it is like to worry about money constantly. I realize $1,000 is only a tiny portion of what it costs to attend college, but I hope it can provide at least a little relief.

After college, I also want to encourage students to contribute back to Beattyville and the surrounding community. There are many ways to give back, and I enjoy reading all the different ideas. Last year, there was a consistent theme of entrepreneurship, helping to bring more money into the area and increasing local tax revenue.

In the future, I might add the requirement that students apply for at least one out-of-state college or university to be eligible. While there are plenty of high-quality institutions in Kentucky, I believe attending college farther away is a great way to expand your worldview. It also introduces others outside of Appalachia to people from the region.

While growing up, it was not always apparent that going out of state was even a viable option. A student wouldn't have to attend college out of state to receive this; I just want students to consider it.

I hope to make this a yearly tradition. If you have any questions or comments, I'd love to hear them via email at justin (AT) justincaustin (DOT) com.