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Mother, son receive Connestee Falls scholarships

By Debbie Loeb Aug 8, 2022

Since it started in 1987 the Connestee Falls Student Scholarship Program has raised over $1.2 million dollars and awarded over 700 scholarships. This year is the first time a mother and son have both received scholarships. Sherry Pressley and her son, Avery McCarson, will be attending Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC) this fall. Pressley is enrolled in the accounting and finance program and McCarson is enrolled in the college transfer program.

Pressley was born in Henderson County but has lived in Transylvania County her entire life. She attended Brevard High School, graduating in 1994. Her first job was at Winn-Dixie groceries. After having two sons, she worked many jobs, including Brevard Davidson River Presbyterian Church’s PreSchool as a teacher assistant for five years and is currently working at Rockbrook Camp in the housekeeping department.

One of the first things one notices about Pressley is her love for her family and life itself. Pressley’s family lives on a farm off Rich Mountain Road next door to her parents who also farm. Her eyes twinkle as she says, “We are a close-knit family caring for goats, chickens, and horses.” She always enjoys the month of February when the goats are birthing. Pressley also thrives on gardening and her eyes lit up again while showing pictures of dahlias and vegetables she and her husband, Jason, are growing.

“Playing in the dirt makes me happy,” she said.

So why accounting and finance? Pressley admitted she has always loved math and numbers. She plans to complete the two-year program and work from home. She cannot just abandon all the animals and the family.

“Being awarded a Connestee Falls scholarship means I can focus on schooling starting this year,” she said. “I am so grateful.”

McCarson strikes one as a very mature 20-year-old. He has lived in Cedar Mountain all his life on the family farm, which he also loves. In 2020 McCarson graduated from Brevard High School where he played left tackle on the football team. He attended Brevard College for a short time and decided to transfer to BRCC. He will be working on college transfer courses this fall and has been accepted to Western Carolina University as a junior in 2023 in the criminal justice program. His goal is to attend law school.

He currently is working as a cart attendant at Connestee Falls. McCarson has also worked at Rockbrook Camp and loves horses. He enjoys hiking in his free time, walking out the back of the farm and being in DuPont in minutes.

McCarson is an avid reader and discussed a recent book he just finished about sustainable agriculture practices and is very interested in healthy eating habits. He describes himself as “easy-going” and “kind.”

He also enjoys spending time with his high school friends. McCarson is thankful to get his second Connestee Falls scholarship and grateful to all the donors who are allowing him to attend school this year.

Pressley and McCarson epitomize a dynamic duo in the outstanding grades they have received. Pressley began some classes at BRCC this year and has maintained all As. McCarson reported that he has all As in his previous college work.

Both volunteer in the community. Pressley is currently in a training program at Cedar Mountain Fire Department with her other son Kenley. With a heart for missions, both Pressley and McCarson visited an elementary school in Wise, Virginia, this spring as volunteers for field day.

Both attend First Baptist Church in Brevard. Pressley shared that “you can’t just take, take, take, but must give back in this world.”

Talking with this dynamic mother and son duo is so inspirational.

Pressley said, “Avery inspires me. He will be a first generation college graduate in our family. I want to do well in my schooling so I can be a good example for Avery.” She thanks the Connestee Falls Scholarship Program for enabling them both to attend school at the same time.

There is an old saying that children and mothers never truly part. How special for this duo to attend BRCC together this fall and continue their dreams for the future.

For those interested in learning more about the scholarship fund and fundraising activities, visit the CFSSP website at

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