Pictured (from left) are Dennis Cowardin, Cortney Frasier and De’Layla Overcash.

Special to Iredell Free News

A recent Statesville High School graduate has been awarded a $10,000 scholarship by the Falconer Foundation, a Mooresville-based nonprofit organization serving Iredell County.

The scholarship was awarded to De’Layla Overcash, who is currently attending UNC-Charlotte, where she is majoring in dance and exercise science.

Overcash has attended Betty’s School of Dance since she was three years old, igniting her passion for dance, the arts, and ballet. At Statesville High, she was an active participant in the Fine Arts Magnet program, a member of the National Beta Club, and the National Honors Society of Arts, along with taking on the role of president of the all-girls service club, Fellowship In Youth. These endeavors allowed her to lead efforts in creating donation opportunities for numerous local organizations, including Rainbow Kids, Toys for Tots, multiple homeless shelters, nursing homes, animal shelters, and the Field of Flags for U.S. veterans.

“I undoubtedly feel that my action in arts and service has had a major impact on the future and those around me. My participation in arts has granted me the opportunity to gain knowledge from so many different people which I intend on sharing with as many individuals as I can someday,” Overcash said.

“Receiving this scholarship has inspired me to continue fulfilling and pursuing my passions and to hopefully one day be able to make a difference in someone’s life as has been done to mine.”

The Foundation, established in 2020, awards scholarships on an annual basis to high school seniors enrolled in either Iredell-Statesville Schools or the Mooresville Graded School district. The scholarships may be used for higher education opportunities or the pursuit of a certified trade.

Made possible by both sponsors and individual donations, as well as the consistent grassroots efforts of the Foundation’s Board, the first $10,000 scholarship was bestowed in 2022 to Lyric Contarino, a graduate from North Iredell High School, who is currently attending Brevard College.

“Rewarding local students immersed in the arts community who have also made it their mission to serve is so crucial,” said Falconer Foundation Director Cortney Frasier. “Taking on such a positive path, per their own initiative, at such a young age is remarkable. These young people deserve every advantage we can provide them.”

Semi-annual benefit concerts beginning in 2021, held in April and October of each year, helped with building the initial base of funding.

“The community support has been phenomenal,” said Dennis Cowardin, chairman of the Falconer Foundation. “We cannot begin to express the gratitude toward the many local businesses and individual donors that have helped make this worthy venture possible.”

The next benefit concert for the Foundation is scheduled for October 21 from 3 to 6 p.m. at College Street Studios in Downtown Mooresville. The event features live music by Coddle Creek and food and drinks for purchase by local entrepreneurs. The event is free and open to the public; donations are encouraged, and 100 percent tax-deductible. Learn more at https://www.falconerfoundation.org/.

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