Avery County High School graduate and resident Brooke Ingham is a recipient of a Golden LEAF Scholarship to pursue her studies at Lees-McRae College to be a nurse practitioner.

BANNER ELK — Lees-McRae College freshman Brooke Ingham, 2020 graduate of Avery High School, is part of an elite group of students chosen to receive a Golden LEAF Scholarship. Ingham was one of just 215 students selected to receive the scholarship out of a pool of more than 2,200 applicants.

The Golden LEAF Scholarship Program was established 20 years ago as a way to encourage students from rural counties to return to a rural community after college graduation.

As part of the application process, students must explain their intent to return to live and work in a rural North Carolina community. A graduate of Avery High School, Ingham has plans to give back close to home.

“Even though I live in a rural community, there are still many people that need help that I hope I can give to them,” said Ingham.

Centered in the Appalachian Mountains, the rural-focused health care programs at Lees-McRae will help Ingham reach her ultimate goal.

“I want to become a nurse practitioner because it will give me a great opportunity to show love and care to some people who have never received that before,” said Ingham.

Ingham will receive $3,000 each year for up to four years of study at Lees-McRae. Ingham chose the college because she loves being in the mountains.

“I also chose Lees-McRae because I had been to many events on the campus before I came to college, and loved the environment and the excitement I felt when on campus.”

She is excited about the start of the school year.

“I am most looking forward to all of the new experiences that college brings and getting to start the next chapter of my life,” Ingham said.

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