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Howard Bethany and HCC President, Dr. Ervin V. Griffin, Sr.

Halifax Community College (HCC) graduate Howard L. Bethany established the New Life Scholarship recently. The annual award will recognize and promote academic achievement for a full-time student at HCC who is in need of financial assistance. Recipients must maintain a 3.0 grade point average, provide letters of recommendation, demonstrate financial need and community involvement, and display a changed life course.

Bethany explained the motive for establishing the scholarship. “In the early months of 2003, at the age of 44, I finally lost all of my earthly possessions to 25 years of drug addiction,” he said. “On June 6, 2003, I was born again. In July of that same year under the guidance of my Lord and savior Jesus Christ, I enrolled at Halifax Community College.”

With the help of his Lord, wife and family, and the college faculty and staff, Bethany began a new life. He credits Human Services Technology Department Head Paige Cutchin for her belief in him, and he remembered a quote from Psychology/Sociology Instructor Phil Pair, “When you are at the bottom in your life and begin to try to climb back up, it is like trying to climb a ladder—only the first three rungs are as if they were covered with grease. It is almost impossible to make it past those rungs.”

At that moment, Bethany decided he would make it up the ladder. He finished his first two years with a 4.0 grade point average and went on for college transfer courses, eventually earning a 3.97 average at HCC. He is now enrolled at Barton College, working on a Bachelor's in Social Work degree. “I am very satisfied with my position on the ladder of life at this moment,” said Bethany.

Feeling compelled to start the New Life Scholarship, Bethany knows there are many others in the Roanoke Valley who are trying to make those first steps toward a new life, “It is my goal to help as many people as I can during the remainder of my life.” The main condition he placed on the scholarship was that the “recipient display a changed course in life after experiencing setbacks, which normally would have prevented furtherance of education.”

“I have this worded as such to include students recovering from addiction, fleeing domestic violence or recovering from a debilitating illness. It is my goal to increase the amount of this scholarship as my position on the ladder of life increases,” he added.