A former Ashe County educator and lifelong volunteer, Mary Ruth Payne, was honored by the West Jefferson Woman’s Club during “An Evening for Education,” where a scholarship was officially named for her.
“(An Evening for Education) is an annual event sponsored by the Woman’s Club to raise money for scholarships to help folks continue education,” said Gwynita Steele, member of the West Jefferson Woman’s Club. “We named the scholarship after (Payne). She had been the president of the Woman’s Club for many years and was instrumental in getting lots of things done in the county, especially for young women.”
Payne taught at the former Beaver Creek High School as an economics teacher and served as an advocate for literacy. Payne had served as a volunteer leader for the West Jefferson Woman’s Club for over 50 years.
Steele said the money from the Mary Ruth Payne Scholarship will go to help students from Ashe County attend college. The amount of money given will vary from year-to-year, as will the number of students the West Jefferson Woman’s Club will be able to help.
“All of the money raised goes to supporting those kids and getting them through school,” she said.
“An Evening for Education” was held at Boondocks in West Jefferson in December. Alongside the scholarship recognition, a proclamation was also made in Payne’s honor.
Alongside her accolades in volunteerism and education, Payne served to improve the community in support of conserving the area’s natural resources and dedication to literacy.