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Connestee Falls Scholarship Winner Chris Norton Plans For The Future

Chris Norton is a man of many talents. After his 2002 graduation from Brevard High School, he worked in construction as a laborer, then a carpenter’s helper and then a carpenter. Next, he obtained his contractor’s license, moved to Durham, N.C., and started his own construction business. Due to the downturn in construction, he sold his business in 2008 and returned to Brevard in 2009, where he worked as a subcontractor.

While Norton was working to develop his company in Durham, he and his partner invested in a relationship with an organization that taught them how to build their business. They attended lectures and had projects that gave them personal experience with a variety of business problems and solutions. One particular exercise he recounted was cold calling prospective customers. Norton described this as eye-opening in terms of identifying his own strengths and weaknesses.

During these years of exploring possibilities, Norton always wanted to get into a field where his hard work would be rewarded; now he thinks he has found that field. He is in his second year in the transfer program at Blue Ridge Community College, with a major in mechanical engineering and a minor in mathematics. He expects to graduate with an associate’s degree in engineering and then transfer to a four-year institution, probably Western Carolina University. He is particularly interested in nuclear engineering and clean energy and is hoping to land a summer internship at the Duke nuclear plant in Seneca, S.C.

Norton received a Connestee Falls scholarship for the 2017-2018 school year. He had not previously investigated scholarships but was pushed to do so by Rob Rhodes, Student Services Coordinator at Blue Ridge Community College. At the time, Norton was already getting financial aid, but he wondered whether other people might need the scholarship funds more than he did. Rhodes convinced him that applying for the Connestee Falls scholarship was the right thing to do. Norton is glad he did. In his view, the scholarship “helps support one’s faith in humanity because it shows that people are willing to invest in young people. Young people are still our future.” In his spare time, Norton coaches Brevard Youth Football, works two jobs, and helps take care of his three children – one of whom, his 6-year-old daughter, recently informed him that she wants to be an engineer, too. In addition, he has recently taken up competition barbeque – at which he has excelled. He won a competition that he had entered to support his nephew’s football program at Brevard High School.

Norton is proud that the Norton family has been in and around Brevard for generations. The daughter of one of Norton’s ancestors, Barak Norton, was Susan Zachary, the first non-native person born in Whiteside Cove near Cashiers. Norton appreciates his family’s long history in Brevard and wants to stay here. Indeed, he hopes to become involved in local government at some point because he cares about the city and the area.

Clearly, Norton is living his motto, “never quit – on the field, in the classroom or in life.”

For more information about the scholarship program, or to donate securely online, visit

Barak Norton plaque

Church in Whiteside Cove that was used as school as well as church.

Grave of Barak and Mary Norton- Founders of the norton Family in Whiteside Cove.

Graves in the Norton Cemetery in Whiteside Cove.

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