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Local family donates $1.5 million to Haywood County Schools Foundation

Local family donates $1.5 million to Haywood County Schools Foundation

Students at Pisgah High School will have greater opportunities for higher education funding, after a new $1.5 million scholarship was presented at the April 4 board of education meeting. 

“Haywood County Schools Foundation is so excited tonight to be able to announce a tremendous scholarship opportunity for our students,” said Haywood County School Foundation Director Jenny Wood in a presentation to the school board. “For years, we’ve awarded a scholarship of a similar amount at Tuscola, and now we are thrilled to be able to do that at Pisgah.”

The Haywood County Schools Foundation has grown to over $8 million in assets over the past few years. According to Wood, this is largely due to the work of Attorney Pat Smathers and his efforts in estate planning. Smathers has been working as the school board attorney for the last 37 years. 

In 2002, Grace and Wayne Plott began working with Smathers to figure out what the couple could do to help their family and their community. Around the same time, Wayne’s sister, Doris Plott began working with Smathers for the same purpose. 

Last week, Carolyn Plott Nettles and Sheila Tallent Fouts, administrators for the estates of their aunts and uncle, presented a check of $1.5 million to the Haywood County Schools Foundation for needs-based scholarships at Pisgah High School. 

“The Wayne and Grace Plott scholarship and the Doris Eugenia Plott scholarship are a tribute to all the early settlers from whom the history of this area was made,” said Nettles. “Each of these families helped settle this part of Western North Carolina. It is most appropriate as a legacy scholarship since Doris never married and Grace and Wayne had no children. It was important for them to know that the students of their beloved Bethel Canton area would have the advantage of obtaining a college education. Grace, Wayne and Doris were proud of their mountain heritage just as Sheila and I are proud of them. We are both humble and honored to be able to present to the Haywood County Schools Foundation a check in the amount of $1,500,700.”

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This is a permanently endowed scholarship and will assist graduating seniors at Pisgah High School in perpetuity. On behalf of the board of education, Chairman Chuck Francis expressed his gratitude to the Plott family. 

“We are so proud and so honored,” said Francis. “We know our students at Pisgah are going to use this money and do lots of great things.”

“I trust you will understand this is a clarion call to the students of Pisgah High School now, and forever more,” said Smathers. “It is a clarion call to the administration at Pisgah. It is a clarion call to the teachers at Pisgah.”

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