ATCB Alumni, UVA-Wise, MECC Announce New Scholarship


Left to Right: Melvin McWilliams, ATCB Alumni Association Treasurer; Valerie Lawson, UVA Wise Vice Chancellor of Advancement & Alumni Engagement; Dr. Amy Greear, MECC Vice President of Institutional Advancement; Maurice Gover, ATCB Alumni Association Executive Vice President

Mountain Empire Community College and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise are pleased to announce the creation of the ATCB Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship benefiting students in Southwest Virginia. 

The ATCB Alumni Association Scholarship Fund was established by the Alumni Association of the former Appalachia Training School, Central High School, and James Bland Schools. The organization is a 501©3 organization that endeavors to keep alive the ideals of the schools that served the alumni body. 

The ATCB Alumni Association celebrates its history and heritage in the communities of Wise and Lee Counties, and the City of Norton, Virginia. The ATCB Alumni Association organizes the ATCB School Reunion biennially and other events that raises funds to support scholarships that will benefit deserving high school and vocational students in the area, planning to or currently attending college or institutions of higher learning. 

The newly created scholarship at MECC and UVA-Wise will provide need-based awards to students who are worthy and deserving, with preference given to students who are descendants and/or relatives of students who attended Appalachia Training School, Central High School, the James Bland Schools, or other high schools in Southwest Virginia that have served student populations that were historically underrepresented in college admissions. If no student meets this criterion, the donor prefers but does not require, that scholarships be awarded to students whose gender, race, ethnicity, cultural, educational, financial, and/or national background contribute to the diversity of the student body. Scholarships are renewable. 

Representatives of MECC and UVA-Wise Foundations were on hand to announce the scholarship creation at the recent ATCB reunion event held at The Wise Inn on August 11. 

“On behalf of UVA-Wise, we extend a heartfelt thanks to the ATCB Alumni Association for investing in student potential. Once fully endowed this scholarship will assist students who might not otherwise be able to pursue a college education with priority for relatives of those who attended the ATCB schools,” said Valerie Lawson, Vice Chancellor for Advancement & Alumni Engagement. 

 “We are grateful to the ATCB Alumni organization for their support of MECC and to their commitment to removing financial barriers to obtaining a higher education for students in our region,” added Dr. Amy Greear, Executive Director of the MECC Foundation.

Pauline Martin Adams, ATCB Alumni Association President, also extended her appreciation to UVA Wise and MECC for their assistance, and to the leadership of the ATCB Legacy Committee.  “We thank UVA-Wise and MECC and the ATCB Legacy Committee led by the late Diane Brickey for all their hard work to help establish the scholarships.”  She also adds, “The ATCB Alumni Association likewise gives a huge thank you to the ATCB alums, their families, friends and supporters, whose donations and encouragement will help make the endowed scholarships a reality.”  

Gifts to the ATCB Alumni Association Scholarship at UVA Wise should be directed to the UVA-Wise Foundation, ATCB Alumni Association Scholarship or make gifts online at, noting in the “in honor of field” the ATCB Alumni Association. 

To donate to the ATCB Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship at MECC, visit the MECC Foundation webpage, Gifts may also be mailed to MECC Foundation, 3441 Mountain Empire Road, Big Stone Gap, Virginia 24219. Please note in the memo section that the funds are for the ATCB Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship.