By Christopher Smith
CHATSWORTH — To some, an extra $500 may not be a lot.
To several college students, an extra $500 can make or break a college bookstore budget, said Spencer Gazaway, principal of Bagley Middle School.
That’s why Bagley staff annually give $500 away to students who went through Bagley and are seniors at North Murray High School preparing for college. But in hard economic times, when government funding for schools is tight, $500 doesn’t just present itself.
Toby Westmoreland, curriculum and instruction facilitator at Bagley, said the school system needs public support and donations for the scholarship. To that end, school officials will host the Old-Timey Gospel Singing event set for Saturday, Jan. 25, starting at 6 p.m.
The event is free to the public and will be held in the North Murray High theater. As group acts and soloists sing gospel music throughout the night, donations will be requested, Westmoreland said.
“This is for our scholarship fund,” he said. “Bagley Middle School, every year, chooses a Mr. and Mrs. Bagley who leave for high school. If they come to North Murray High School, finish their four years there, are a successful student and show honor to Bagley then they get the scholarship.”
Gazaway said the scholarship is modest compared to big national scholarships, but important to students because it comes from the “hometown.”
“It’s just a way to recognize them,” he said. “To recognize that they maintained a high standard; that when you get to the senior year and do well you’re rewarded.”
Westmoreland said the scholarship also reiterates that Murray County Schools staff don’t forget about their students after they leave primary school. He added he hopes students return the favor and bring their post-grad talents back to the community when they’re done with college.
“We would love any public support and help we can get for these scholarships,” he said.
For more information on the event or on different ways to donate, call Westmoreland at (706) 695-1115.
Language Arts night
A separate event school officials want to highlight is the Language Arts Night set for Tuesday, Jan. 28, from 5 to 7 p.m.
“Highlights of the night will be author Faye Gibbons who writes about growing up in Murray County’s Carter’s Quarters,” Westmoreland said. “Becky Whaley, a retired educator and current Board of Education member, will be sharing the spooky story of the ‘Cisco Ghost.’ There will be snacks and some very exciting door prizes to share, including free books and gift baskets.”
Westmoreland said the open house event is an “excellent time” for parents and community members to see how students are thriving at Bagley.