Lunch, networking and aiding an area woman in furthering her education, expanding opportunities

For the 12th year, The Daily Herald is doing what it can to help Roanoke Valley women wanting to return to school and further their education. To help women with their goal, the Women in Business Scholarship Program was created.

Linda Foster, classified advertising manager and coordinator of the program, said the scholarship is for women returning to school after a divorce, seeking a career change or dealing with other life issues who want to attend Halifax Community College.

“We wanted to have a scholarship for women returning to school,” she said. The scholarship is handled through the Halifax Community College Foundation. Previous recipients have included Brenda Sanders, Cynthia Easter, Geneva Clemmons, Judy Oglesby and Teresa Roberts, all of Roanoke Rapids, Doris Lynch, of Hollister, Qiana Mann, of Murfreesboro, and Carol Whitaker, of Enfield.

Sheila Powell was the 2010-11 recipient and is an early childhood education major at Halifax Community College.

In order to raise funds for the scholarship, a Women in Business luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 21 at Kirkwood Adams Community Center.

Foster said buying tickets, which are $10 each, contributes to the scholarship fund. The goal is to give a $1,000 scholarship each year.

She added usually 150 to 200 people attend the luncheon.

“It is a good networking opportunity,” Foster said.

The guest speaker for this year’s event will be state auditor Beth Wood. Wood is the first woman elected to the position of state auditor in North Carolina. She is instrumental in bringing the state’s compliance supplements up to federal standards and ensuring federal grants are being used as intended.

Foster said Herald Publisher Titus Workman heard Wood speak during the 2010 Legislative Day in Raleigh. He felt like she would be a good speaker for the luncheon. To keep the ticket price reasonable, Foster said The Daily Herald reaches out to businesses in the Roanoke Valley to help sponsor the event.

Last year, about $2,000 was donated from sponsors, which is used to pay for the meal, so that all the money from ticket sales can go toward the scholarship. Door prizes and flowers for the tables are donated by local businesses. “We couldn’t do it without area businesses,” Foster said.

As the 2008-09 Women in Business Scholarship recipient, Carol Whitaker, of Enfield, used the money to help her achieve her goal of becoming a first grade teacher.

“For a long time, I have dreamed of being a teacher,” she said. “I just hate that I waited so long to pursue it. But it is never too late.”

With a goal to graduate in December of this year, Whitaker is an elementary education major at Elizabeth City University. She admitted to being surprised when she was named recipient of the scholarship. “I was really shocked and happy,” she said. “The scholarship helped me with my goal.”

Her advice to future recipients is simple. “Never give up on life and your education,” Whitaker said.

“You can do anything if you put your mind to it.”.

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