Endowed Scholarship Created in Memory of Will Hughes at SCC
Pictured is Will Hughes.
The memory and aspirations of the late Will Hughes will live on in the outreach of a Heritage Endowed Scholarship at Stanly Community College (SCC). The $15,000 gift will provide scholarship assistance to Stanly Community College students with financial needs in the program areas of Advanced Manufacturing and Industrial Technology.
“Stanly Community College is grateful to the Hughes family for this endowment. In their desire to honor Will’s memory and make a positive impact on others, they also serve as a powerful example in our community of strength and compassion. Many lives will forever be changed by their generosity,” said Christy Bogle, Director of SCC Foundation.
This scholarship, established by Will’s family and friends, is a way to inspire and provide for “another student, someone like Will who was more interested in an opportunity to develop a skill than pursuing a four year degree.” His parents, Doug and Martha Hughes fondly recall that Will “learned best by hands-on experience and listening,” as opposed to a traditional lecture classroom setting. With the Electrical Lineman program, he enjoyed on-the-job training outdoors – an ideal learning environment for Will.
An eager high school graduate, Will began taking general college courses at SCC with a plan to eventually transfer to East Carolina University but quickly realized that a four-year college degree was not the right fit for him. He also realized that the classroom setting, regardless of the subject, was not for him. He was unsure of what direction to take to find a job that would allow him to become independent.
Dawn Allen, a family friend, mentioned the new Electrical Lineman program at SCC. Will was eager to learn more and soon realized that it was this type of training that could lead to a great career path. It was the Electrical Lineman program that marked the beginning of Will’s new career, which he soon developed into a passion.
Randy Smith leads the Electrical Lineman program at SCC and remembers Will as “the funniest and most outgoing student he has ever taught. Will was the first to volunteer at a new skill and the first to laugh at himself when things didn’t go as planned. What Will didn’t realize was that his humor and actions took pressure away from more reserved students. He was a natural leader and displayed that leadership during our morning exercise time. He would give each exercise a crazy name and we still remember Will each morning during our warm-ups.”
After completion of the program, Will gained employment with PIKE, one of the largest providers of Energy Solutions in the United States, and began his career as a professional lineman. Les McBride, Will’s supervisor at PIKE recalls that “Will was meant for lineman work. He was an extremely hard worker and a fast learner. In 22 years of working in this industry, I have come across many people but Will stood out and will be remembered for his positive personality, strong work ethic and eagerness to learn on-the-job.”
Will’s brother Stuart, shares his families desire to honor Will’s memory and impact the lives of others that follow a similar career path, “Will was a perfect example of a dedicated, hardworking, blue-collar American who loved his line of work as a professional electrical lineman. His ability to learn, retain, and excel in his career came not from four years of college stuck in a classroom or library all day but out in the field with hands- on job training and seeing firsthand the knowledge and characteristics it takes to be a professional lineman. As he would always tell me, “Stuart, what did you do today?! I provided power to the people!” This state needs more citizens like Will and that’s why my family and I have decided to start the Will Hughes Scholarship. We hope this scholarship will provide an opportunity to other young ambitious students who have a passion to develop a rewarding career path but unfortunately do not have the means or capabilities to pay for an education. The energy sector will play an extremely significant role in our state’s economy for generations to come and it is imperative that we provide a dedicated, hardworking, knowledgeable workforce to meet our state’s growing energy demands. ”
Circumstances have the potential to change our course, and many times, we never know when the circumstance of any given moment will catch us by surprise and change our course permanently. In an effort to inspire others like Will, and keep his memory alive, and those that remember his smile, his family and friends have joined together to support the drive and the passion Will finally found in the Advanced Manufacturing and Industrial Skilled Trade program at SCC. Their love for Will is demonstrated through the establishment of the scholarship in his name. For more information about the Will Hughes Scholarship, please contact Christy Bogle, Stanly Community College Foundation at 704-991-0370.