Jessica Downie receiving the Rotary of Avery County Scholarship

GED Graduate Scholarships



Danielle Elizabeth Grindstaff was presented with the Linda Butch Woody Scholarship. Grindstaff, a resident of Bakersville and honor graduate of Mayland’s 2011 Fall GED class, maintains a 4.0 GPA in the Business Administration curriculum at Mayland. She has been married nine years to Adam, also a MCC student, and is the proud mother to their two young sons, Connor and Cole. Grindstaff and her family enjoy spending time outdoors, helping in their community, and tending to their goats. Her love of animals is why she volunteers at the Mitchell Humane Society where she grooms pets to help them get adopted. Grindstaff has been twice awarded the “People Helping People” award and dreams of earning her college degree with the highest of honors. In addition to keeping great grades, Grindstaff works in Mayland’s Work Study Program where she serves as an assistant in Mayland’s Sciences and Arts department. 

Austin Shane Wheeler was presented the Lighthouse and John Wes Sides III Scholarship. Wheeler, lifetime resident of Spruce Pine, describes himself as a driven individual who takes his education very seriously.  Wheeler was an honor student and the valedictorian of his GED graduating class in the spring of 2012. Wheeler is currently in Mayland’s Associates in Arts Program and plans to transfer to NC State and Campbell University to major in business.  Wheeler especially enjoys his college algebra class at Mayland with instructor Larry Shook. Wheeler is an active member of Freedom Baptist Church, and takes leadership roles in mission trips to War, West Virginia.  He is also a certified political campaign treasurer.  Wheeler says he enjoys working in his family’s vegetable garden and views his gardening experience as an example of how hard work and patience can really pay off.  

Jessica Renee Downie was presented with the Rotary of Avery County Scholarship. A resident of Avery County, Downie enjoys spending quality outdoor time camping with her husband Andy and their two children, ages 9 and 16. Currently, Downie maintains a 4.0 GPA in Mayland’s Associates in Nursing Program, is President of her ADN nursing class, and is also the secretary for Mayland’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Downie’s immediate plans include the RN program from which she’ll gradate next May and then intends to peruse employment in the obstetricians department at Memorial Mission Hospital in Asheville. Downie has traveled to 11 different countries across the globe and says she loves experiencing firsthand the different ways of life all over the world.


Pictured walking on stage is Austin Shane Wheeler, who was presented the Lighthouse and John Wes Sides III Scholarship. Seen in the background is Mayland’s Dean of the Adult Education Program Steve Gunter.



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