06/15/17 — Golfing for students

View Archive

Golfing for students

By Melinda Harrell
Published in News on June 15, 2017 7:03 AM

Full Size


Joe Democko, left, looks at a golf ball as Ross Zacharzuk and John Seegars watch during the Foundation of Wayne Community College 2017 Scholarship Invitational Wednesday morning at the Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course.

Full Size


Scott McConnaughey hits a ball as Tommy Lane looks on during the 2017 Scholarship Invitational at the Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course.

Michelle Rogers and Debra Curl sit at the entrance of the Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course Wednesday morning, having a friendly conversation.

When their golf cart becomes available, the women don't strap their clubs to the back and drive off. Instead they load it up with refreshments for the golfers already on the course.

The Foundation of Wayne Community College 2017 Scholarship Invitational is a huge event for the college that raises money for student scholarships.

Rogers and Curl were once on the receiving end of the benefits of the invitational -- now in its 25th year -- both earning degrees from WCC.

More than a decade ago, Rogers was laid off from her job and had to go back to school.

With a scholarship funded by the invitational, she was able to change her career path.

"I love Wayne," she said. "I can't ever imagine leaving."

Rogers, who works in the public safety division at the college, graduated from WCC and then went on to Barton College and then Kaplin and finally Grand Canyon University.

"I am about to get my Ph.D., 12 years later," she said.

"It doesn't matter how long the journey," Curl affirmed.

"We'll be calling you Dr. Michelle or Dr. Rogers soon."

Curl, a self-described "transplant" from New Jersey, enrolled at WCC in 2004 as a recipient of one of the scholarships, and graduated in 2006.

She went on to Texas A&M and came back to WCC to work as a continuing education instructor.

Curl said a lot of effort goes into organizing the fundraiser each year, including getting sponsors and donations for auction items.

"There is a lot of work that goes into it," she said.

"All the work leading up to this -- contacting vendors and getting sponsors and donations, the hands that go into this event, it takes a community -- Wayne community."

Students who received a scholarship this year or in the years past come to the invitational to volunteer in an effort to show their support and appreciation, said Curl.

"One young man without transportation took the Gateway bus," Curl said.

"The effort they take to give back. It is touching, because we have both been in their shoes."

Over the last 25 years, the Foundation of Wayne Community College Scholarship Invitational has raised $1.6 million with 100 percent of the net proceeds going to student scholarships, said Adrienne Northington, executive director of the foundation.

Northington said the goal is to raise a net of $180,000 this year. And though the numbers are still out on the total from the golf tournament itself, the auction held on Tuesday and pre-registered sponsorships have already amounted to $157,000.

This year, nearly 225 attended the auction Tuesday night at Walnut Creek where 18 items were donated for the live auction and 79 were donated for the silent auction.

The invitational had 27 golf teams, which amounted to 108 players on the course.

Wilson Raynor, with Life Inc., said representatives from the company have been participants in the tournament since it was created in 1993.

"Our founder, Bea Lamb, has been a huge supporter of Wayne Community College," he said.

"And we have played in the tournament since its inception."

Raynor said that Lamb, who passed in March, won the 50/50 drawing one year and handed the check back to the foundation.

She also served on the board of trustees at WCC.

Emily Byrd of the foundation said even during the tough times of the recession when people were getting laid off and downsizes were abundant, the support for the fundraiser never declined.

"It shows how much compassion is in this community," Byrd said.