13th Annual
Coal Creek Scholars Day
& goodies from Santa

18 December 2014

A Coal Creek Christmas!!

"Living with integrity while
treating people
with love and respect"



Smiles all around when Santa's goodie bags were opened

The quote above  is scholar Ricky Bailey’s definition of success.  Scholar Jonathan Sharp defines success as achieving a position that allows you to give something back to your community.  One Briceville fifth grader says success is achieving a goal and feeling happy about it.  By any definition, the 13th annual Coal Creek Scholars Day Event at Briceville School was a success with 14 current and recently- graduated college students from Briceville in attendance. 

The Coal Creek Scholars program began in 2002 as a dream for an unbroken circle where Briceville students can participate in K-12 community service projects to celebrate their heritage and qualify for college scholarships.  Upon becoming college students, they would return to motivate Briceville fourth and fifth graders to continue that tradition.

The unbroken circle was on display today when college students and graduates challenged the fourth and fifth graders to follow in their footsteps and go to college.  Coal Creek Scholars in attendance were future nurses, doctors, engineers, teachers, social workers, business leaders, as well as medical/computer/culinary specialists. We even have a future minister in our ranks. 

Coal Creek Scholars who attended today's 13th annual Scholars Day

Front Row (L to R):  Sarah Byrge, Ryan Vandergriff, Victoria Wright, Krystina Long, Samantha Randolph, Lyndsay Phillips, April Byge, Seth Taylor
Back Row (L to R):  Tyler Vandergriff, Kyle Leinart, Jonathan Sharp, Jonathan Towe, Ricky Bailey,
Director of Anderson County Schools - Larry Foster, and Emily Patton

Afterwards, the Coal Creek Scholars served as Santa’s helpers in delivering toys to all the good little boys and girls at Briceville School, plus a few naughty boys who promised to improve their behavior from now on.

Funding for the gifts was provided by staff members of Geo/Environmental Associates, Inc., a Schnabel Engineering Company

April Byrge, a graduate of Maryville College, is now a park ranger at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  She was a star today because she brought animal pelts for students to identify. She will be working with Briceville students in April 2015 as part of her thesis research to earn a Master of Science in environmental education from Montreat College in North Carolina.


Scholar April Byrge educated the students about the
animal pelts she brought as part of her job as
a Park Ranger with the Great Smoky Mountains

Tyler Vandergriff told of his love of cooking, which prompted him to study culinary arts at Sullivan University in Lexington, KY.  He brought frosted gingerbread cookies with him to share with students.  The night before Scholars Day, he posted this on his Facebook page, It's time to frost 65 cookies for the fifth graders tomorrow!!!  Gonna be awesome filling their little bellies with sugar and their little hearts and minds with hopes of a college education. It totally makes it all worth it!"

Scholar Tyler Vandergriff offers scholar
Jonathan Sharp a taste of his homemade
gingerbread cookies he brought for all
the students to show off his culinary school skills


4th and 5th graders pictured with the fourteen scholars who spoke to them about higher education

Sampling of the goodies from Santa!

New hats!

Kyle Leinart attended Coal Creek Engineering and Science Summer Camp at UT when he was in middle school.  From that day, he knew he wanted to attend engineering school at UT.  He explained how he saved his CCWF scholarship money so he could study abroad in London for one semester.

Jonathan Towe told how he had to go to then-Principal Tom Braden’s office for disciplining when he attended Briceville School, which taught him an important lesson about the boundaries of social behavior.  Jonathan will be entering medical school and said, “After I graduate, I plan on starting a free clinic in the community.”

Carol Moore with scholars Victoria Wright,
and Sarah and April Byrge

Scholars acting as Santa's helpers

The success of today's event will be judged by how many of these current
Briceville students finish high school, earn a
 Coal Creek Nantglo Scholarship, and attend college!


Barry Thacker entered each classroom and asked who was the most
likely student to be on Santa's naughty list.... This poor little guy was
thrown under the bus by his classmates as they immediately
answered Barry's question by pointing!

Scholar selfie using Jonathan's long arm!

Sweetness is a handmade
Christmas card presented by
Coal Creek Scholar
Victoria Wright!

Scholars studying the animal pelts that scholar April Byrge uses in her student education
classes as part of her job as a Park Ranger with the Great Smoky Mountain National Park




Geo/Environmental Associates, Inc.

A Schnabel Engineering Company