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Scholarship fund created for vaccinated students

Prince Edward County students who receive the COVID-19 vaccine will now be eligible for a drawing to receive a $1,000 scholarship.

The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors approved the plan put forth by County Administrator Doug Stanley and Assistant County Administrator and Emergency Management Director Sarah Puckett during a joint meeting with the Farmville Town Council Wednesday, June 2 at the Prince Edward Farmville Youth Association Gymnasium.

The supervisors committed $5,000 toward the scholarship fund that will provide an opportunity for students between the ages of 12 and 18 who receive a COVID-19 vaccine before August 1.

Stanley said the county is working with potential community partners on the proposal and expects to be able to grow the scholarship fund well beyond the $5,000 approved by the supervisors.

“I feel real comfortable that we are going to be in the $15,000 to $20,000 range by the time we are done,” Stanley said. “Our students have had a tough time the last couple years with zoom classes, then in-person wearing masks and missing events….We are trying to offer a way to get out and get their education before they join the workforce.”

Stanley said the plan is to offer multiple $1,000 scholarships to students that can be applied to trade schools, community colleges or universities.

The drawing for the scholarships will be held Monday, Aug. 2.

The scholarship incentive comes as Prince Edward County works to improve its percentage of citizens who are fully vaccinated. Currently, 29.3% of Prince Edward County citizens count themselves as fully vaccinated. That is the sixth lowest total in the state. Overall, 44.6% of Virginians have been fully vaccinated.

The two board were also challenged by Patsy Watson of Farmville Cares to help provide volunteers to help operate the ongoing vaccination clinics at the PEFYA gym each Wednesday.

“We are constantly trying to find new volunteers,” Watson told the boards. “We’ve lost a lot of our volunteers who were students and we are blessed in this community to have Longwood and Hampden-Sydney students who were very helpful with us.”

Each member of the Board of Supervisors and Town Council were given the challenge of recruiting volunteers to help Farmville Cares in the vaccination effort.  The board who gets the most volunteers will win the challenge. Watson said Farmville Cares needs seven volunteers to cover each three-hour shift for the vaccination clinics.

“My heart is so lifted to see the two groups here together,” Watson said. “If there’s something good that comes out of the pandemic, then I think the way we have learned how to do things and the way we have really learned how to treat each other.”