Three Haywood Community College students recently received scholarships from the P.E.O. International. These awards totaled $4900. Nursing students Sharon Browning and Deborah Smith, and Forest Management student Iris Love were the recipients of the P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education scholarship.
This scholarship was established in 1973 to provide need-based grants to women in the US and Canada whose education has been interrupted and who find it necessary to return to school to support themselves and/or their families. This project has paid more than $22,300,000 in small grants to more than 24,700 women.
After raising two families, Smith completed GED requirements in Georgia and decided to pursue mission work possibly in the United States. "There is a great need here," she said. "The mining towns and other areas in the United States are places people seem to forget about."
Browning works in a dialysis unit. "I do a nurse's job, so it's time I get a nurse's pay. I love being with people so it's a good fit."
Iris Love has spent 15 years in the landscaping field and has been homeschooling her daughter. She is now pursuing her childhood dream of working in forestry and fish and wildlife. She would eventually like to study marine biology.
The P.E.O. is a philanthropic educational organization that is one of the pioneer societies for women. It was founded in 1869 by seven students at Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Today, the P.E.O. has grown to almost a quarter of a million members in chapters in the US and Canada. Headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, its mission is to promote educational opportunities for women. The organization strives to be a source of encouragement and support for women to realize their potential in whatever worthwhile endeavor they choose. There are 5,909 local chapters in the US and Canada with 250,583 active members.