Students awarded FRS and WCTEL scholarships

From left are Shannon Sears (WCTEL Director of Commercial Operations), students Maria Olson, Darnell Norman, Ashstan Voyles, and Wes McAllister (WCTEL Board President).

West Carolina Tel is a strong advocate for higher education and the economic, cultural and social well-being of the communities in our service area. To further that mission, West Carolina Tel offers an annual $2,000 scholarship, renewable for up to three additional, consecutive years.

This year, three students were awarded scholarships from the Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) and West Carolina Tel. Out of 1,500 applications received by FRS, only 47 were awarded scholarships nationally. Jessica Golden, FRS Executive Director, said that “West Carolina had so many incredible applications, we selected THREE winners. Each of these students is a superstar and has overcome some very challenging circumstances with a great attitude and appreciation for their community.”

Ashstan Voyles, from Dixie High School, was one of four nationwide to win the $5,000 FRS Staurulakis Family Scholarships. Darnell Norman, from McCormick High School, won a $2,500 FRS Scholarship. Maria Olson, from Emerald High School, also won a $2,500 FRS Scholarship as well as the $2,000 renewable West Carolina Tel Scholarship for a potential total of $10,500. All three winners will be attending Lander University this fall.

These scholarship winners were chosen by a panel of educators in Washington, D.C. selected by FRS Executive Staff to evaluate and choose the scholarship winners nationwide.

“We are very proud of these students and look forward to what they will accomplish with their careers. Lander University is very fortunate to have these three bright students attend their school where they can reach their full potential,” said Jeff T. Wilson, CEO/General Manager of West Carolina Tel.

West Carolina Rural Telephone Cooperative, Inc., a member owned cooperative, was formed in 1952 to provide basic telephone services to the unserved areas of Abbeville and McCormick counties, and the Starr and Iva areas of Anderson County, in South Carolina. Today West Carolina Tel provides landline and wireless voice, high speed Internet, HD TV, security, home automation, and hosted business services over a fiber optic network in a four county area in the upstate of South Carolina. To find out more about West Carolina Tel, visit