FRAA Betty Ann Darby Scholarships told
The Florence Regional Arts Alliance awarded three Florence County high school students the Betty Ann Darby Scholarship, a competitive $1,000 scholarship for graduating seniors who will be pursuing advanced academic or professional degrees in an arts discipline or in arts education. This year’s recipients are South Florence High School senior Kathleen Covington, Wilson High School senior Gillian Skipper and West Florence High School senior Molly Watkins.
Covington plans to attend Coker College and major in music with a concentration in vocal performance. Covington said that she has been involved with the arts since childhood. During high school, she has been involved with such performance groups as the Masterworks Choir, Chorus and Choraliers. Covington hopes to continue her passion for performance by pursuing it as a career.
“In all honesty, nothing makes me happier than music and theater and I cannot imagine myself doing anything else,” Covington said. In the fall, Skipper plans to attend the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and study film. Skipper initially became interested in directing film as a freshman in high school. Since then, she has directed personal film projects, interned at the Florence Little Theatre and been involved with school and community productions as both an actor and director.
“I believe there is something incredibly special about being able to see someone else’s vision for a story they want to share with the world and being able to make it come to life,” Skipper said. “Film is an incredible way to accomplish this goal, and it’s ever changing and evolving as an art form.” Watkins said that through the years music has been a comfort to her because it is a way she can express her emotions.
Among other high school activities, Watkins has acted in musicals at the Florence Little Theatre and at IMPACT Christian Theatre and has been involved in her school’s show choir. As she pursues a degree in Music Education at Anderson University, Watkins said she hopes to deepen her knowledge of music and is excited to one day teach. “I want the students I teach to come into my classroom and feel like they can express themselves in whatever way they want,” Watkins said.
“Another goal I have is to show my students that music is not just a few notes and rhythms, but it is a feeling. It is an outlet for whatever struggles they may be facing, and they can turn to music to express their emotions.” Since 1997, the Florence Regional Arts Alliance has awarded 32 Florence County students with the Betty Ann Darby Scholarship. The Betty Ann Darby Scholarship Program is named in honor of one of South Carolina’s most distinguished music educators.
A member of the South Carolina Music Educator’s Hall of Fame, Ms. Darby served Florence Public School District One for 39 years as a much beloved and highly revered music administrator and music teacher. To be considered for the scholarship, seniors must reside in Florence County or be graduating from a Florence County public or private high school.