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Oconeefest raises almost $14K

UNG freshman Jessie Chambers, shown with her parents at Oconeefest, thanked community members for how their donations made her Oconee scholarship possible.

As Jessie Chambers grew up in Oconee County, her family often drove by the University of North Georgia's (UNG) Oconee Campus on the way to the swimming pool. Chambers would mention how she hoped to be a student there one day.

That dream is now a reality, and Chambers said the $1,000 Oconee scholarship she received helps make it possible. She started as a dual enrollment student and needed to find a way to help pay for school once she became a full-time student this year. The first-year student shared her story at the sixth annual Oconeefest scholarship fundraiser Oct. 24.

"I am blessed to be at a University System of Georgia school in my hometown, studying to become a nurse to be able give back to the community that I was raised in," Chambers told community members. "Receiving the scholarship was such a blessing, and my wish is that everyone like me from Oconee who attends UNG could have the opportunity to earn a scholarship just like I did."


The event raised nearly $14,000 for scholarships for students from Oconee County attending any of UNG's five campuses. The $1,000 scholarships may be used for tuition, books, lab fees, study abroad, or other scholarly opportunities. The funds raised at this year's festival will be available for students in spring 2020; students can apply for the scholarships through UNG's Financial Aid Office. Scholarships are renewable for a second year.

"We are so appreciative of these sponsors and for all who attended tonight. We have more than 600 students from Oconee County across all UNG campuses," said Dr. Cyndee Perdue Moore, executive director of UNG's Oconee Campus. "As these numbers continue to increase, the money raised through Oconeefest from sponsorships, donations and our auction are critical in supporting local students."

A live auction was part of the festivities for a second year and raised nearly $4,400.

Presenting sponsors for Oconeefest were Peach State Federal Credit Union and Bulldog 93.3-FM. Platinum sponsors were Piedmont Athens Regional Healthcare and Georgia United Credit Union. The gold sponsor was AmeriPride, silver sponsors were BankSouth and Oconee State Bank, and the Friends sponsors were Athens Ford; Rotary Club of Oconee County; Resource Partners; Ronda Holloway, CPA; Owen & Exley; Terrapin Beer; and Northeast Sales Distributing.

Dr. Richard Oates, vice president of UNG's Gainesville Campus, thanked attendees for their contributions.

"We are thankful for the community and your investment in our students," Oates said.

Those who were unable to attend may donate on the UNG Foundation website.

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