Cashiers resident celebrates 93rd birthday by thanking scholarship donors

Pat Rowe, a long-time resident of Cashiers, told the rector of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Rob Wood, that all she wanted for her 93rd birthday was to thank the many people who had made donations to the Conkle-Rowe Scholarship Endowment from which she and her committee have been able to send 91 Cashiers students to college over the past 20 years.

Pat Rowe

Rev. Rob Wood asked the Scholarship Committee and the Endowment Board to grant her wish and so they did on Tuesday, June 8, when more than 50 people gathered in a local home to celebrate Pat and her tireless effort on behalf of Cashiers area students. 

The Conkle-Rowe Scholarship cake at Pat’s birthday celebration.

In fact, one of those students, Dawson Bryant, a film student at Western Carolina University and a Conkle-Rowe scholar, made a special trip to attend Pat’s party from his summer internship on a movie set. Bryant’s dream of filmmaking has been supported not only by the four-year scholarship he received but by his work for the church throughout the pandemic, during which he provided technical help broadcasting live services to parishioners all over the country.

About the Conkle-Rowe Scholarship Endowment

Scholarships for post-high school education are awarded annually by the Church of the Good Shepherd for the Conkle-Rowe Scholarship Endowment. Funds for the scholarships come from the proceeds of sales at the in-town Bazaar Barn and an annual auction at the church. They are given for both vocational training and higher education colleges.  The average amount awarded each year for these scholarships is $45,000+. 

Applications are received each spring from graduating seniors. The scholarship committee interviews applicants, and awards are based on academic standing and financial need.  Each applicant must reapply each year, and with acceptable grade averages, will be awarded the scholarship until their degree is completed.

Graduate scholarships are also given for those students who have received past awards during undergraduate studies.  The committee also provides computers to students whose families are unable to afford them. 

Pat Rowe has led the scholarship program for nearly 20 years and it has benefited many grateful students who would not otherwise have been able to continue their education beyond high school.

Famous Pats, Giving Hearts

Although Pat had an opportunity to thank the donors who attended, she was surprised by seven life-sized cutouts of famous “Pats” who greeted her birthday party guests with placards that read, “I’m Pat.  Thank you.” 

Guests were invited to compete to name all the famous Pats saying thank you, from Patrick Swayze to Patti LaBelle. 

Local resident Becky Greene was the winner of the grand prize, $93 dollars, which she promptly donated to the Conkle-Rowe Scholarship Endowment. Getting in the spirit, other guests purchased the cut-outs of their favorite famous Pat for $100, which also was given to the scholarship fund.

Then, Pat and her niece blew out the candles on a four-tiered birthday cake with 91 stars representing each student she had sent to college as the group sang a rousing Happy Birthday.

“Not only has Pat blessed our church community with her service, she has blessed our entire community through her dedication and commitment to getting these children to college,” Rev. Wood. “How lucky we are to have her amongst us. We can’t wait to celebrate 100.”

To learn more about the Conkle-Rowe Scholarship Endowment, click HERE or call 828.743.2359.

Article courtesy of the Church of Good Shepherd.

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