By Judy Ferring
McCray L. Sawyers, 2020 graduate of Patrick County High School, has been named winner of the Patrick County Master Gardeners’ 7th annual Cobbler Scholarship of $1,000. Sawyers, who ranked 21st among PCHS’s 138 graduates with a 4.0 GPA, plans to pursue a degree in environmental science at Emory and Henry College, a private liberal arts college located in Emory, VA.
The scholarship is named in honor of Christopher N. Cobbler, an architect and landscape architect who graduated from PCHS in 1992 and from the University of Tennessee in 1999. Cobbler, the son of Marion and Glenda Cobbler, died in March 2012. Mrs. Cobbler is a member of the local Master Gardeners association.
Sawyers, an avid outdoorsman who prefers to spend his free time hunting and fishing, hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps to become a forester. “I help my dad out at work sometimes,” he wrote in his scholarship application, “I like some of the stuff he does.” His father, Clay Sawyers is forestry research manager at the Reynolds Homestead Forest Center in Critz.
But it’s neither hunting and fishing nor baseball (his other passion) that Sawyers says has been most significant event in his life thus far. It’s getting his driver’s license. First, that has allowed him to work as a stocker at Lowes Foods. “Being on time, working after a long day at school, and then doing homework after work was a task,” he admits, “but it prepared me for my adult life.” Second, it has also meant that he is often called on to drive his younger brother to activities and appointments. “It’s a lot of responsibility and hard on a mom’s nerves,” Sawyers observes, but “it shows that my mom trusts me and knows I’m responsible enough to do so.”
Sawyers’ collegiate career will begin at Emory College on Aug. 17. The fall semester will be divided into two 7-week terms, and conclude on November 24, prior to Thanksgiving. The amended schedule has been set so that students will receive a full semester of instruction in accordance with state Department of Education directives, but will not have to travel and return to campus after the holiday, avoiding the concerns over a resurgence of the coronavirus in the late fall.