Byrd Higher Ed Center announces 10th anniversary scholarship win - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Byrd Higher Ed Center announces 10th anniversary scholarship winners

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RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVVA) -

For ten years, the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center has been helping make it possible for a segment of the student population to get their degrees.

And now, the collaborative learning center is looking toward the next decade of serving students.

Students, family and administrators gathered in front of the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center in Beaver to celebrate ten years of serving students.

A time capsule, filled with messages of hope and thoughts of what the future may hold, was buried as part of a ceremony that awarded 30 students with $1,000 scholarships.

"It's just so helpful because I didn't attend public school, and that put me out of a lot of scholarships for the Beckley area,” Concord sophomore Michaela Conelly said.

Concord students like Conelly and Matthew Bolen say access to the Erma Byrd Center makes life a little easier by allowing them to do their studies closer to home.

“Going down to Athens would be an hour probably every day or every other day,” Conelly said. “Gas money, travel expenses, that's just a lot. “So having this up here, I'm just extremely grateful for it."

“A thousand dollars goes along way, especially when you make minimum wage,” Concord junior Matthew Bolen said.

"Between having the support system of still being able to stay close to home instead of about an hour out of the way,” Bolen said. “In addition to the sheer monetary aspect of not having to pay room and board."

“Our commuter students often are juggling jobs, they're juggling families,” Bluefield State College interim provost Dr. Angela Lambert said. “And that goes for Concord and for Bluefield State students, because they aren't living in your traditional dormitory settings.”

As for the time capsule, it won't be unearthed until 2027; just in time for the center's 20th anniversary.

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