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Gate City student receives more than $100K in scholarships from Tusculum

Staff Report • Apr 28, 2019 at 8:00 PM

GATE CITY — With her signature, a local student sealed the deal on a scholarship package that will exceed $100,000 and put her on the path toward a high-quality degree from Tusculum University.

Vayda Darnell, a senior at Gate City High School, earned the Trustee Honor Scholarship from Tusculum, which will cover all of her tuition as an undergraduate. Included in this scholarship is the Appalachian Regional Community Scholarship from the university.

Dr. James Hurley, Tusculum’s president, joined Darnell; her family; John Ferguson, superintendent of Scott County Public Schools; and Mike Lane, Gate City High’s principal, at a signing ceremony on Wednesday at the school.

Ferguson received a bachelor of arts in mathematics from Tusculum in 1991, the same year Lane received his master’s degree in education from the institution.

“Vayda has distinguished herself in the classroom and was highly recommended for the prestigious Trustee’s Scholarship by her school,” Hurley said. “Tusculum is proud to have served this region throughout its 225-year history, and we are pleased a local student will be able to attend our university with the extensive financial support we bring to the table. It’s another way we have continued to be focused on developing the talent that is abundant in Central Appalachia.”

Tusculum has awarded two Trustee Scholarships for the upcoming academic year, with a student from North Carolina being the other recipient. To earn the scholarship, a student must have a grade-point average of at least 3.5 and at least a 25 on the ACT.

Darnell, who plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, said she was impressed with the Meen Center, a 100,000-square-foot facility and Tusculum’s newest building.

She visited Tusculum on Nettie Day, when students, faculty and staff jointly perform civic engagement and outreach activities. That struck a chord with her because she is a strong advocate for community service.

“When I went for my visit, I noticed Tusculum was a community,” Darnell said. “It feels like home. Everyone was super nice. I am looking forward to attending Tusculum and taking the next step in my life.”

Darnell is the daughter of Leanna and Rickey Darnell of Church Hill and the granddaughter of Nancy and Donnie Bays of Weber City and Patsy and James Darnell of Gate City.