Wrightsville Beach restaurant supports surf scholarship

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While they may be keeping an on the surf report and squeezing in sessions between classes, it doesn’t mean that Wilmington’s surfing students aren’t staying on top of their schoolwork. And for the twelfth straight year, a handful of these students are getting some help from a Wrightsville Beach business owner and an anonymous donor in the form of a surfing scholarship.
The Tower 7/WBLivesurf Scholarship Fund, which started as a single scholarship more than a decade ago, has now grown into a $60,000 fund that will give 12 students each a $5,000 scholarship, split between two semesters. Several of these recipients were at K-Bueno Mexi-Q Grill on Wednesday, Nov. 7, for a dinner honoring them for their accomplishments.
Now a graduate student, it’s Paul Cole’s second time winning the scholarship, which he said has proved helpful as he works to complete his graduate degree in data science.
“The surfing community supports education,” Cole said. “They encourage you, they push you, they make you who you are. It’s a good group of people from all backgrounds.”
While a solid grade point average is one of the criteria for the scholarship, applicants also had to describe how they have been involved in the surfing community. Many of them are members of the University of North Carolina Wilmington surfing club, just like Tower 7 owner Joshua Vach, one of two donors who support the scholarship.
One of the 12 scholarship recipients, computer science and finance major Britton Deets, said the funds are key after his rental house was flooded in Hurricane Florence.
“It’s awesome to get the encouragement and support from the surfing community,” said Deets, the current president of the UNCW surfing club. “From Carolina Beach all the way to Surf City, we’re willing to support each other.”
Brian Tracy, who along with Vach was a past president of the UNCW surfing club, helps manage the scholarship, which he said is expected to continue to grow.
“Thanks to our generous donors, the scholarship has been growing and it will continue to grow,” Tracy said.
This year’s scholarship winners include Paul Cole, Alicya Simmons, Britton Deets, Conner Lester, Miles Abernathy, Erik Paulson, Justin Lor, Haley Kubinak, Joshua Jones, Cole Mulholland, Katy Nickel and Willow Rae.

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