Local family, Helping Hands partner to offer scholarship
By RYAN ROGERS Democrat News Staff
Members of the Graves family met recently with members of the Helping Hands Foundation in accordance with the creation of the new James W. Graves Scholarship. Pictured are, from left: Front—Teresa Sain, Barbara Hamilton and Kay Huggins. Back—Pam Bronson, Bill Carter and Ginger Sain.
During his life in Rector, successful community and business leader James W. Graves stressed the importance of hard work. Now, through a joint effort between the Graves family and the Helping Hands Foundation, future Rector students who show their willingness to work hard in an effort to succeed may be given assistance to do so through the newly-formed James W. Graves Memorial Scholarship.
The scholarship, funded by the Graves family, will be given to one worthy student each spring based upon need and merit. Students must submit applications for the scholarship, providing a list of information which includes future aspirations and goals. The process of determining the recipient will be managed by the Helping Hands Foundation, due to that organization’s close working relationship with the school.
The yearly scholarship will be given to the selected student in two increments, paid at the beginning of each of the two semesters which make up a collegiate term. Also, a student who receives the scholarship may, based upon continued compliance with requirements, re-apply each year for the scholarship.
Graves’ daughter Teresa Sain says the scholarship is a way for the family to remember the efforts of her father, while working toward providing a stronger future for a deserving student.
“We’re honored that we’ll be able to present a scholarship to a student in our father’s name. We know he would be proud of having a role in helping a deserving student continue their education. He believed hard work should be rewarded, and that’s what we’re doing with this scholarship.”
Graves will be forever tied into the history of Rector as one of its most successful business owners. He founded Graves Enterprises in 1967 and was instrumental in steering it toward the future. Today, the gin remains a strong part of local industry, operated by son-in-law Gregg Sain.
His business prowess was only outshined by his caring nature and desire to help others. In his lifetime Graves was known to help others during difficult times, assisting area residents with bill payments and, in a foreshadowing of the establishment of the scholarship in his name, college tuition costs.