Melissa Watson, a Bowling Green Rotary Club member, has pledged to match the first $10,000 donated to the Adopt-A-Class Scholarship Fund.
The Bowling Green Rotary Club began the Adopt-A-Class Scholarship Fund in 1991 with a suggestion from loyal Rotarian Charles Hardcastle. His idea was simple–to adopt a single class in an elementary school with a high percentage of free and reduced lunch and give them the hope of a college education. More than just providing an opportunity for these young students to attain a college degree, the club members also mentor the students they select. Club members take students on trips, regularly meet with them, and keep in contact after they graduate high school.
The first class selected in 1991 was Dishman McGinnis Elementary School’s sixth-grade class. Through private support, the BG Rotary Club raised funds to provide any student in that class a college education if they wanted one. The program was so successful, the BG Rotary Club repeated the program and adopted another class in 2000. A sixth-grade class from Warren Elementary was selected and referred to as the Millennium Adopt-A-Class. The BG Rotary Club is now supporting its third class, a fifth-grade class at Parker-Bennett-Curry. This newest class is referred to as the Charles and Carolyn Hardcastle Giving Hope Adopt-A-Class Scholarship Fund to honor a $100,000 contribution the Hardcastles made to this scholarship fund.
This spirit of giving has continued in the local club as it was announced on February 1, 2017, at the weekly Bowling Green Rotary Club meeting that Rotarian Melissa Watson and her husband Wade pledged a significant challenge gift in support of the scholarship fund. Mr. and Mrs. Watson have pledged a matching challenge gift of $10,000 for this project, and have encouraged fellow BG Rotarians to contribute to meet the challenge. Give now to be part of the matching gift challenge and help support students in need achieve their dream of a college education.
Thad Jones received a college education through the BG Rotary Club adopt-a-class program. Now a BG Rotarian himself, he said of the program “Adopt-a-class is an opportunity. It takes you from an impoverished elementary school and gives you a chance you might not otherwise have through mentorship wisdom that builds character. It is neat to be part of it as an adult and pay it forward.”
“Being a mentor for this class for the past 6 years has been so rewarding. Having had one mentee for the first 5 years, then picking up another mentee last year, has given me the opportunity to work with two special young ladies. Knowing that Rotary can make a difference in the future for this group is so rewarding and watching them grow from children to young adults is amazing. We’ve seen their personalities develop. I am proud to be a part of this group.”