Say Hello to Sarah Jo Campbell, Appalachian Connection Scholar 2022!

The team at Appalachian Connection is happy to share the great news! In April, we chose the 2022 Appalachian Connection scholarship recipient. Sarah Jo Campbell is a senior at Hazard High School. Sarah plans to attend Transylvania University this Fall. Her focus will be on science! When she graduates, her plan is to go to medical school and possibly become a cardiovascular surgeon one day. Sarah is passionate about the mountains and wants to contribute her talents and skills to improve health care in Eastern Kentucky!!

Sarah Jo Campbell

Sarah states: “I am truly honored to be the recipient of this prestigious scholarship. Knowing that it comes from fellow Hazard natives (as well as a fellow West Virginian) makes it even more meaningful. I hope to continue their tradition of excellence and one day give back to my community as they have. Because of this Appalachian Connection Scholarship, I will be able to further my education and pursue my dreams. Again, I would like to thank the Appalachian Connection Board for believing in me.”
Appalachian Connection was established in 2015. Its mission is to ease the financial burden of higher education for deserving students in Appalachian schools. Appalachian Connection is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization that provides scholarships to four year colleges. The scholarships have a value of $10,000 ($2,500 per year) and are awarded to applicants who demonstrate academic achievement, impact in the community, and a desire to utilize their education to help further our Appalachian region.

Meet Jarrett Napier, Appalachian Connection’s 2021 Scholar

Appalachian Connection is pleased to announce the recipient of its 2021 scholarship.  Jarrett Napier, a senior at Hazard High School, was awarded the scholarship. Jarrett is the son of Scott and Kim Napier of Hazard.

Jarrett Napier

In March 2021, high school seniors in Perry County and Knott County were invited by Appalachian Connection to submit applications for the scholarship.  Out of fourteen applicants, six students were chosen to participate in interviews with the Appalachian Connection Board of Directors on April 21st.  Once the Directors made their decision, Jarrett was contacted by Appalachian Connection Board President, John Cornett. Jarrett will receive a grant in the amount of $10,000 to be used towards his higher education. He plans to begin his studies at Lindsey Wilson College this Fall.

John Cornett states, “Reviewing these applications and meeting these kids is such a wonderful experience.  There are so many impressive students that are going to do great things for themselves, their families, and our region.  Jarrett definitely falls into this category.  He is a leader, not just in academics and athletics but also in the community.  He is very involved with city government today and plans to be in the future.  He has a well defined plan on how to accomplish his future goals and is already starting to save for law school.  We are happy to help alleviate some of his college expenses and provide support as he progresses throughout his career.”

 Jarrett is planning to pursue a degree in accounting and eventually attend law school.  In addition to his academic pursuits, Jarrett is a 2021 City of Hazard Civic Fellow and a talented athlete. He is an avid golfer, a hobby he took up during Covid-19, as well as a member of the Hazard High School varsity basketball and baseball teams.  Jarrett stressed that he wants to use the scholarship to assist with his education so he can return to Hazard and help improve the  community as well as have an impact on the lives of others. 

When asked how he feels about receiving the 2021-2022 Appalachian Connection Scholarship, Jarrett stated, “I am extremely grateful to be the 2021 Appalachian Connection scholar. This connection will help me strive toward fulfilling my goals and improving my education. I am thankful for the opportunities provided by this scholarship and the blessing of having the support of everyone at Appalachian Connection. I am excited to move forward in this process with the help of the Appalachian Connection scholarship.”

Appalachian Connection was established in 2015. Its mission is to ease the financial burden of higher education for deserving students in Appalachian schools. Appalachian Connection is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization that provides scholarships to four year colleges. The scholarships have a value of $10,000 ($2,500 per year) and are awarded to applicants who demonstrate academic achievement, impact in the community, and a desire to utilize their education to help further our Appalachian region.

Support Our Appalachian Scholars Now

Seasons Greeting!

It’s been a challenging year and we hope that you and your loved ones have persevered through this difficult time. Our Appalachian Connection scholars have had a very different college experience this year. Stacie, Danika, Kellie and Brysen have all been very successful this semester despite having to take classes online as well as foregoing the traditional college experience.   These students embody the characteristics of Appalachia, which includes strength, determination and humility.

We remain in contact with our scholars to make sure they are doing well and receiving the support they need from our board. We meet with them virtually and have even started a quarterly program to expose them to successful entrepreneurs and role models in our region. We kicked off our first meeting this October with Joey McKenney, the founder and owner of Appalachian Apparel.

As always our mission is to support the young people in our region and their future success.

Learn how your support of Appalachian Connection is making a difference in the life of our 2020 Appalachian Connection Scholar, Brysen Honeycutt of Knott County, a freshman at the University of Kentucky. Brysen shares his experience below.

“Hello! My name is Brysen Honeycutt and I am the 2020 recipient of the Appalachian Connection Scholarship. I just completed my first semester of college at the University of Kentucky in the College of Engineering. Being online for the majority of my courses due to the pandemic created some challenges, but it was also very exciting to get my time in college underway. I look forward to starting back in the spring, and I cannot thank everyone at Appalachian Connection enough for supporting me on my way!” 

Let us move forward together in 2021 and continue to support our Appalachian students. Make your contribution to Appalachian Connection.

Thank you so much! We hope 2021 will bring health, safety and more opportunities to gather together for us all.


 Appalachian Connection Board of Directors

Brysen Honeycutt – his first day at the University of Kentucky in August


2017 Appalachian Connection Scholarship Winner, Stacie Fugate Writes about her Heroes

The following was written by our 2017 scholarship recipient, Stacie Fugate. 


There are countless stories of people who have made the world a better place. Microbiologist Maurice Hilleman developed over thirty-six vaccines and saved more lives than any other medical scientist in the twentieth century. J.K. Rowling inspired a new generation of readers. Lilly Ledbetter fought for equal pay. Rick Rescorla organized a 9/11 evacuation despite being ordered otherwise. Rosa Parks simply said “no.” The list of unsung heroes goes on and on. Their acts of bravery, courage, and determination may have just been “doing the right thing” at the time, but the aftereffects changed history as we know it.

One could say that the same acts are being carried out by an organization called Appalachian Connection. This nonprofit gives high school seniors in Perry County, Kentucky not only a major scholarship opportunity, but also another way to defy stereotypes of our region.

Stacie, on her first day at UK

Being from Southeastern Kentucky is no small feat. People from our region are often ridiculed for things that aren’t completely accurate. We are plagued by negative stigmas brought on by national news sources. In fact, if I were to ask an outsider about our area, a black and white photo of Lyndon B. Johnson promoting the War on Poverty while squatting on a front porch in Inez, Kentucky would probably come to mind. Those not from here may reference ‘A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains’ when trying to picture what we’re actually like. The truth is, yes, Appalachia has its problems like anywhere else, but there is so much more to us than what is portrayed, which is why I’m thankful that I got to meet the 100 Days in Appalachia crew at the New Story 2017 conference. They inspired me with their grit and motivation to change the idea that many people have of Appalachia.

After meeting with the people of 100 days and gushing to my peers about the awesome work they’re doing, we felt as though it was our job to also challenge stereotypes that doubted our intelligence, mocked our culture, and were downright silly. (News flash: we DO wear shoes!) We broke school records for highest test scores, a few of us were nationally competitive in speech and debate, and community involvement was at an all-time high with my graduating class. Finally, we decided to put these accomplishments to good use and apply for the next step in our lives: college.

The Hazard High School Class of 2017 collectively earned over one million dollars in scholarships. Most of us were accepted to the school of our dreams. Now, we’re about to move into our dorms and make waves in the rest of the country’s idea of our region. I and so many others are able to do this simply because individuals in our community believed in us. People that we looked up to. Our heroes.

The group of people at Appalachian Connection are some of my own personal heroes. They want to enrich our community all the while believing that our students will surely garner a positive return.

I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to attend my dream school, the University of Kentucky, completely debt free. For me, and many others to come, the Appalachian Connection Scholarship is a blessing not only monetarily speaking, but also because I have such a solid support system. I never go without reassurance that I can accomplish anything that I set my mind to, even at a huge school such as UK.

Acts of bravery, kindness, and even determination, no matter how big or small, just might make one person someone else’s hero. Kyle Carpenter is the youngest living soldier to ever receive the Medal of Honor. Stephen Hawking defied every boundary possible in his lifetime. Candy Lightner successfully organized and promoted the danger of driving under the influence. The people of Appalachian Connection are changing lives of Eastern Kentucky students, one scholarship and word of encouragement at a time. What a bunch of heroes. I am forever grateful that I get to work with them.