Johnston County Students Selected For $12,000 Golden Leaf Foundation Scholarships

ROCKY MOUNT – The Golden LEAF Foundation announced that 215 rural North Carolina students were selected to receive up to a $12,000 Golden LEAF Scholarship, including seven in Johnston County.

Students will receive a $3,000 scholarship each year for up to four years of undergraduate study at a participating four-year North Carolina college or university. Recipients from rural and tobacco-dependent or economically distressed North Carolina counties are selected based on career and educational goals, a review of school and community service activities, academic performance, length of residence in the county and expressed intent to contribute to the state’s rural communities upon graduation from college.

The Golden LEAF Foundation established the Golden LEAF Scholarship Program to broaden educational opportunities and provide support to students from rural counties with the goal  that after graduation recipients will return and contribute back to rural communities. The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA) administers the program and selects students for awards.

“We are proud to award scholarships to hardworking and bright students with deep roots in their rural communities,” said Scott T. Hamilton, Golden LEAF Foundation President, Chief Executive Officer. “These students were selected out of a pool of more than 1,500 applicants. We look forward to the future success of these scholarship recipients as they follow their education pursuits and develop into North Carolina’s next generation of rural leaders.”

“I always love hearing about young people who strive for greatness,” said Senator Brent Jackson. “I hope you all will build on all you have been recognized for and already accomplished. You have represented your schools and your fellow citizens admirably. Again, I want to congratulate you all for your hard work and for being recipients of this deserving honor.”

“I’m very excited to hear that we have seven students from Johnston County receiving the Golden LEAF Scholarship,” said Representative John Bell. “This is a tremendous honor and opportunity for these students. We will all benefit from the knowledge and skills that they will bring back to rural North Carolina communities.”

“I’m so excited to hear that we have 7 students from Johnston County receiving the Golden LEAF Scholarship,” said Senator Lisa Barnes “This is a tremendous honor. We will all benefit from the knowledge and skills these students will bring back to rural North Carolina communities. I wish all of them the very best in their future endeavors.”

“Congratulations to the Class of 2021 and each student that has received this prestigious scholarship,” said Representative Larry Strickland. “Earning this award is a testament to your hard work and dedication that you have displayed throughout your educational career. I am especially proud of the students from Johnston County that have shown tremendous focus and have stayed on track to further their education at the collegiate level. I wish you the best in your future endeavors and hope that you do not hesitate to reach out to my office if I can ever be of any assistance.”

“Golden LEAF Scholarship winners represent all things that make rural North Carolina great,” said Representative Donna White. “They are selected on academic excellence, strength of character and commitment to serving their home communities which helps all of North Carolina prosper. The Golden LEAF Foundation supports young scholars with not only educational opportunities but also with leadership and professional training that helps ensure their success. Congratulations to the scholarship recipients and their families.”

The newly selected 2021-22 Golden LEAF Scholarship recipients are as follows:

NameHigh School/
Community College
William ByrdSouth Johnston HighCampbell University
Paige CramerJohnston County Early College AcademyUniversity of North Carolina at Wilmington
Jessica HarkerCleveland HighAppalachian State University
Isabella InsignaresWest Johnston HighNorth Carolina State University
Gracelyn MasseyPrinceton HighBarton College
Victoria TuggleSouth Johnston HighNorth Carolina State University
Messiah WilliamsJohnston Community CollegeUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

About Golden LEAF Foundation:

The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to receive a portion of North Carolina’s funding from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers. For 20 years, Golden LEAF has worked to increase economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities through leadership in grantmaking, collaboration, innovation, and stewardship as an independent and perpetual foundation.

The Foundation has provided lasting impact to tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and rural areas of the state by helping create 65,000 jobs, over half a billion dollars in new payrolls and more than 85,000 workers trained or retrained for higher wages.

For more information about Golden LEAF and our programs, please visit our website at


  1. Thank you joco school board for reversing mask decision. Shows leadership over emotion ,let’s do the scientific hard work to eradicate this virus. Our children are neither Democrat or Republican, they are our charges, we can make a better world for them, with common sense decisions. Joco strong and negative people please don’t respond. Put our children first

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