Skip to main content

WNC Business

HCEF’s Newest Scholarship Completes Successful First Year

Sep 19, 2022 10:06AM ● By WNC Business

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 14,  2022) – Before becoming the first person to receive a scholarship from the new Grow Our Own Educational Assistance Fund to further diversity in the Henderson County education workforce, Josh Strickland said that emotionally speaking, he wasn’t in the greatest place.

“I was living in Charlotte, and attending another high school,” said the 2022 graduate of West Henderson High School.

His challenges were many. “I was hanging around the wrong people, letting their behavior affect mine and I wasn’t really into school, as I was barely passing my classes and unable to focus.”

Even through those challenges, Josh said he knew he wanted a change for himself, something better. Thanks to his grandparents and his faith, Josh said he realized that the path to that betterment began with a good education.

At West Henderson, he excelled. He played varsity basketball, did volunteer work with Word of God Ministries, and achieved a 4.5 GPA in the final semester of his senior year.

Upon hearing the news that he had been awarded the first ever Grow our Own Scholarship, he said. “I feel blessed; with this scholarship, I hope to use this as a resource to navigate through school in hopes of pursuing my future career.” 

In close partnership with a community coalition, the Henderson County Education Foundation developed the Grow Our Own Educational Assistance Fund in 2021 to recruit Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) students (current and former) interested in a teaching career, to train, develop and prepare to return to Henderson County to join the education workforce.

The coalition members include the Henderson County NAACP, El Centro – Latino Advocacy Center, local churches, HCPS Teaching as a Profession teachers, private citizens, and individual and corporate donors. 

It also aims to recruit current HCPS staff to train, develop and remain in Henderson County and serve in the education workforce. This includes teaching assistants and support personnel who are interested in pursuing a career in education, school counseling or social work. 

The scholarship re-opened over the summer specifically to current HCPS staff who want to further their education and seek a career as an educator/teacher, school counselor, or social worker and remain in Henderson County to serve our students.

Four scholarships were awarded to current HCPS staff:

  • Evelyn Angeles Alarcon – pursuing a degree in school social work. Evelyn aspires to be a school social worker.
  • Chris Wilson – pursuing a degree in educational leadership. Chris aspires to be a principal.
  • Liliana Martinez-Salgado – Pursuing a degree in education. Liliana aspires to be an ESL teacher.
  • Johanna Bosch-Diaz – pursuing a degree in elementary education. Johanna aspires to be an ESL teacher.

In total, the scholarship has awarded $15,000  in its first year.

“We’re pleased that this scholarship and this community effort to strengthen diversity in our educational system and our workforce is off to such a great start,” said Peggy Marshall, Executive Director for the Henderson County Education Foundation.

The scholarship will re-open in mid-December.

To learn more about how to support the Grow our Own Scholarship, visit.