Oct. 25, 2007
By Kylie Roman
A recent gift to Ohio University gives educational television a new meaning.
Sharron Price, BSED '66, of Fairfax, Va., made a gift to the university in 2004, originally intending it to go toward whatever use the university saw fit. A couple of years after making her generous contribution, however, a PBS documentary, "The Appalachians," changed her course.
Watching the program and remembering old family pictures, Price quickly recognized that the people she saw on the screen could have been her own.
"I didn't realize at the time how the documentary would affect me" she said. "This really hit home for me. This was my roots, and I wasn't really aware of it."
Price, a teacher for 26 years in the Washington, D.C. area, decided to redirect her contribution to the Appalachian Scholars Program at Ohio University this year. She personalized her gift so that others who came from the same background would have the advantages she did.
"My hope is that someone will get a chance at a good education and become a leader," she says.
The Appalachian Scholars Program, which began in fall 2006, recruits high school students from Ohio's 29 Appalachian counties to attend Ohio University. The comprehensive program helps students -- many of whom are the first in their families to attend college -- to acclimate and succeed in the university environment.
These students each receive a four-year, renewable scholarship, an annual book stipend and numerous opportunities for success-building programs, including an annual leadership seminar. This year, 10 recipients from a pool of 147 applicants received the scholarships. The hope is that recipients will return to their Appalachian communities after graduation, strengthening the economy and mentoring others who may follow.
Price also hopes anyone benefiting from her gift will gain what she did from attending the university.
"One of the most important attitudes that I came away with while at Ohio University is that 'I can do this, I really can do this,'" she says.
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