Ashari Arkansas loves snow. She grew up in Brevard, but she loves snow. That is just one of the facts about this 2017 recipient of a Connestee Falls scholarship. Ashari is half Native American on her mother's side, but she was raised here in Brevardby her grandparents on her father's side who, being from an older generation, taught her to be kinder and wiser. Although she has relatives in Cherokee, Ashari said that Brevard has always been her home.
In high school, Ashari participated in track and field and shot put. She also found time to participate in a high school nursing program. After the death of her grandfather, Ashari's world crumbled.
"I started to go down a wrong path," she said. "I hung out with the wrong people. I hit a rough patch and just wanted to be free to do what I liked. There was a month when I think I only went to school for three days."
Ashari's beloved grandmother was worried, but it was Ashari who decided that she had to do something to change the direction of her life. She came to the conclusion that she had to go to Davidson River School.
At Davidson River School, Ashari found smaller classes and the one-on-one attention from teachers that she craved.
"I didn't want to disappoint my grandmother, and my teachers at Davidson River really cared about me," said Ashari. "They encouraged me to go to college because they saw that I had something to offer." When she did not get the first scholarship for which she applied, Ashari was really upset, but when she got her Connestee Falls scholarship, she was more than ready to go to Blue Ridge Community College and to work hard. Her grandmother had taught her that "education has to come first." She was inspired to study nursing by her maternal grandmother, who is a nurse, and she knew that there would always be jobs for people with a CAN. But the scholarship meant that Ashari would have a chance to realize her long-term goals: to go farther with her education and be able to repay her grandmother for taking care of her and teaching her so much, and to honor the memory of her grandfather.
Ashari wants to make sure that donors and potential donors to the Connestee Falls Student Scholarship Program know this: "It's making a bigger difference to kids than you probably understand. It makes a huge difference to them and their families. Donors are investing in students like me. It feels good to know that someone is taking the time and giving the money to help me go somewhere in life.