Marlinton Rotary celebrated its 80th anniversary last Tuesday with a dinner at Mountain Quest Inn at Frost.
Club president Kenny Woods, with the help of member Joe Smith, presented awards to several Rotarians recognizing their service in the club. Along with pins, the members received a book, created by Smith, on the history of Marlinton Rotary.
“With Joe’s time at the library, looking at the ar- chives, he’s put together the eighty-year history of our club,” Woods said. “There’s a chapter from day one up to the present day. It mentions each one of the members that has held office. It’s pretty impressive.”
Receiving recognition at Tuesday night’s dinner were: Kristen Doss, Linda Simmons, Roger Trusler, Roy Gibson, Gene Simmons, Kendall Beverage and Kenny Woods.
As part of the celebration, the club welcomed guest speaker Dr. Bonny Copenhaver, president of New River Community and Technical College, who spoke about the programs offered at the college and the demographics of the students.
“I truly love working in community colleges, and it is something I’ve done my entire career,” she said. “I think – especially in communities like here – we are the only higher education that a lot of people ever know. We get to truly change people’s lives, and we get to see that every day. That is a very special thing.”
Copenhaver said the college has a current enrollment of 922 students at its four campuses, the Advanced Technology Center in Ghent and the One Room University in Marlinton.
“That’s a really great number,” she said. “It’s the first time in several years that the school has had an increase in enrollment, which is absolutely wonderful for us.”
NRCTC is also in the process of starting a dual enrollment program in which students at Pocahontas County High School will be able to attend virtual classes for college credit.
“We received a grant, and we have purchased some distance education equipment that’s going to be installed at the high school, so those students can be a part of another class or join in,” Copenhaver said.
She also shared information on the West Virginia Invests program, which is an additional form of financial aid for West Virginia students.
Joining Copenhaver was New River Foundation executive director Michael Green, who shared information about the scholarships through the foundation, including the Marlinton Rotary funded scholarship.
“We currently manage an endowment of just about two million dollars,” Green said. “Of that two million, about ninety-eight percent of that is restrictive for student scholarships.”
Green said that last year, the foundation awarded 61 scholarships for a total of more than $150,000 to students. Of the 61 scholarships, 58 of them are permanent endowments from individuals, business and corporations.
“We’re very fortunate to have great, generous donors who truly care about their communities and the students that we’re providing services for,” he said.
The Marlinton Rotary Scholarship’s criteria includes: the student must be from Pocahontas County, be in the allied health field, have a minimum GPA of 2.5 and they have to take a minimum of six credit hours.
Also attending the meeting was Rotary assistant district governor Martha Helton, who congratulated the club on 80 years of service and thanked all the members for supporting their communities through the club.