- Gardner Park Elementary School
Senior receives Paul Fuller mentoring scholarship
Stuart W. Cramer student receives Paul Fuller scholarship for mentoring
Writing and sending letters is not a new trend, but for student D’Myah Matthews and her mentor, Wendy Bradley, it has been a good way to keep in touch.
“It’s a lost art form, but D’Myah and I became pen pals,” said Bradley, who began mentoring Matthews when she was six years old. “I would drop a letter off in the school office and pick her letter up.”
In addition to writing letters, the two found a way to communicate virtually when the pandemic hit.
“Wendy was gracious and willing to meet with D’Myah virtually,” said Stuart W. Cramer High School counselor Jenny MacDonald. “We set up Google Meet appointments to help bridge the gap between remote learning and learning five days a week at school.”
The mentor-mentee partnership between Matthews and Bradley goes back way before the pandemic. The two have enjoyed a friendship for more than 11 years.
“I met Wendy shortly after my mother passed away when I was in kindergarten,” said Matthews. “She helped me see that life isn’t all about sadness and grieving and that my mother would want me to live life to the fullest.”
When they were not talking about life, the two played board games such as Monopoly and Yahtzee. “I always won,” laughed Matthews. “But in all seriousness, Wendy played a huge role in my life.”
Matthews added, “Through the mentoring program, I found a mentor who cared and helped me whenever I needed it. Mentoring influenced my life for the better and made me realize that I have more to accomplish.”
The Stuart W. Cramer High School graduate is the Class of 2022 recipient of the Paul Fuller Mentoring Scholarship, which is given annually to an outstanding student who has been involved in the school district’s mentoring program. The $1,000 scholarship is renewable for up to four years.
“I am overwhelmed and proud of her,” said Bradley. “I have watched her grow from a shy kindergartener into a beautiful, mature, intelligent young adult.”
The scholarship was created in memory of Paul Fuller, who was one of the first mentors in Gaston County Schools and was an avid supporter of mentoring. The program began 30 years ago in 1992 with just 10 mentors at Mount Holly Junior High School.
Fuller believed strongly in the benefit of a dedicated volunteer mentor, who offers time to a deserving student to build a caring relationship and guide a student toward the student’s future goals. Through the scholarship, Fuller’s vision of assisting high school graduates with post-secondary training and education has led to mentored students obtaining college degrees and beginning careers in their chosen field.
“D’Myah is deserving of this award as she has participated in the Gaston County Schools mentoring program for her entire school career,” said Valerie Yatko, director of business and community partnerships and coordinator of the mentoring program. “D’Myah and her mentor are a perfect example of a successful mentoring relationship.”
Matthews will attend the University of North Carolina at Charlotte this fall to pursue a career in the medical field.
Congratulations to D’Myah Matthews, the Class of 2022 Paul Fuller Scholarship recipient for Gaston County Schools!