Western Carolina University


Image: Amanda Roach Image: Amanda Roach works hands-on with a Catamount football player
WCU student Amanda Roach, who is majoring in athletic training, helps Catamount football players. Roach is the first recipient of a new WCU Alumni Association scholarship.

Amanda Roach, a senior athletic training major at Western Carolina University from Fairview, is the first recipient of Western Carolina University's new Alumni Association scholarship.

The scholarship is designed to help Western students who have financial need and who have close family ties to Catamount alumni or whose parents work at the university. Roach received $1,600 for the academic year.

“The No. 1 reason people give for dropping out is a lack of money,” said David Andrew, president-elect of the alumni association and chairman of its financial affairs committee. “We are very pleased now to be able to award the first scholarship.”

Both of Roach's parents graduated from Western, and she said the scholarship could not have come at a better time as her family faces unexpected emergency medical bills.

“Every little bit helps,” said Roach, who chose to attend WCU in order to study athletic training. As the daughter of an A.C. Reynolds High School teacher who also coached sports, she attended her first high school football game when just 2 months old. The avid sports fan also participated in sports such as golf and cheerleading, and it was actually an athletic trainer who helped her recover from an injury that inspired her to pursue a career path incorporating her love of sports and desire to work in physical therapy. “Sports are a big part of my life, and I did not want to leave them,” she said.

At Western, Roach has worked on hands-on with athletics teams and completed a research project about a Catamount baseball player who has Horner's Syndrome. She has been invited to present her research findings at every major athletic training conference on the East Coast last year.

Roach is the daughter of Judy Davis Roach and Leon Roach of Fairview and is a graduate of A.C. Reynolds High School.

Juanita Proffitt, a member of Western's Alumni Association board of directors, said supporting the Alumni Association Scholarship is important. She remembers wondering how she would afford college when the “bank burst” in 1929 and an aunt who raised her had terminal cancer. There was simply “no money, no anything,” said Proffitt, a resident of Marshall.

“My mother finally raised $6 – that was a lot of money then – and that got me started at Western.” Proffitt was able to work her way through the teacher education program, taking jobs such as grading papers for professors. “Most of the time, I had enough money to pay my way, but I realized children with potential need help,” she said. “I have really tried through the years to help. I think about them, and I empathize.”

Donations to the Alumni Scholarship Fund can be directed to the Office of Alumni Affairs, 440 H.F. Robinson Administration Building, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, N.C. 28723.

For more information on the Alumni Scholarship Fund, contact Brett Woods, director of annual and special gifts, at (828) 227-7124.

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Last modified: Thursday, September 14, 2006
Copyright 2006 by Western Carolina University