11th Annual
Coal Creek
Scholars Day!

at Briceville School in
Coal Creek

with visit from Santa's helpers

20 December 2012

Coal Creek Scholars
Front L to R:
Jessica (Kyle's friend), Megan Dugger, Sarah Byrge, Samantha Randolph, & Kaleasha Welch
Back L to R:
Tyler Vandergriff, Kyle Leinart, Jonathan Towe, Ryan Vandergriff & Seth Taylor

Coal Creek Scholars
Link Page

Coal Creek Scholars with Briceville School
4th and 5th graders

"I can remember when I sat in this classroom in fourth grade and the
Coal Creek Scholars, including my cousin Amy, came to speak to our class
just like we are speaking to you today.  I thought college was a long way off in the
future and I didn't need to worry about it when I was in the fourth grade.
Well, time flies and I discovered you DO need to start thinking about your future
as soon as you can!",
Megan Dugger, current college student.

Nine former Briceville students delivered that message to encourage fourth and fifth graders at Briceville School to follow in their footsteps and go to college.  The Coal Creek Scholars in attendance ranged from an engineering student, nursing students, future doctors and psychologists, and a culinary specialist. 

The college students led a panel discussion and took questions about starting early to prepare for college, their choices for college and careers, how they are learning a variety of ways to succeed in college, and what a difference it is making in their lives. 

The scholars all agreed that EVERYONE can attend college no matter what your financial circumstances.  You just have to put in the work and find something you enjoy and in which you can find a good job.  This can come through obtaining technical training or a college degree.

Briceville 4th & 5th graders listen
to presentation from Coal Creek Scholars

Future scholars

Two weeks earlier, Dr. Eirug Davies, from Harvard University visited the Briceville fourth and fifth graders for the first time since his visit in 2004.  Much has transpired since then.  Eirug has finished his book, The Welsh of Tennessee, while many of the students he met in 2004 have finished high school.  Nine of them were awarded Nantglo Scholarships and most were in attendance today.

Eirug also encouraged current 4th and 5th graders to continue their education and maybe someday they can attend Harvard University.

We think this is the most valuable day of the year at Briceville School!  Let's see how many of the current Briceville students can finish high school, earn a Coal Creek Nantglo scholarship, and attend college!

Santa sent a few early goodies!


Barry Thacker, PE, President of the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, presents a framed article about the Scholars Program featuring engineering major Kyle Leinart that was published in the national magazine Engineering News Record in October 2012


Coal Creek Watershed Foundation President Barry Thacker, PE, speaks to class
before Scholars discuss why a good education is important

After our visit to Briceville School, Barry Thacker made a presentation about the rich history of Coal Creek to the 7th graders at Lake City Middle School.

Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank joined us and the students got to meet a real mayor for the first time.  Mayor Frank has a Welsh surname -- Phillips -- and her family may have been related to the early immigrant Welsh miners who settled Coal Creek.

Mayor Frank said, "Barry has a way of presenting the information in an exciting way that makes history come alive for young people."

One of the Welsh miners who is described in "The Welsh of Tennessee" is Thomas Phillips.  He was born in Dowlais, Wales, and buried in Oliver Springs' Cemetery.


Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank (6th from R on front row) with the
Lake City Middle School 7th graders

Santa's early gifts!

The Scholars then played Santa's helpers and delivered gifts to each class
in the school from Headstart (Pre-K) to Fifth grade.  Gifts included knit hats,
books, Silly Putty, jump ropes, puzzles, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and candy.
Lots of smiles, hugs, thanks, and fun!!


Sarah Byrge

Megan Dugger

Kyle Leinart

Samantha Randolph

Seth Taylor

Jonathan Towe

Ryan Vandergriff

Tyler Vandergriff

Kaleasha Welch

Thank you to
Kris & Fulton John DDS
for donating
toothbrushes for
each student!


Milly Cavender, with the Girl Scouts of America, spoke to the
students about her college education and what doors it can open
for them if they continue their education



Thank you to the staff of Geo/Environmental Associates, Inc.
for contributions made towards Santa's gifts!

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