Wilkes Community College congratulates the following 2022-2023 Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship recipients Kimberly Ailon-Ailon, Millers Creek; Jonathan Anderson, Trap Hill; Christel Benge, Ferguson; Dylan Black, Ronda; Logan Bowlin, Moravian Falls; Victoria Crews, Millers Creek; Mason Foster, Purlear; Helen Huezo, Wilkesboro; McKenzie Johnson, North Wilkesboro; Gabriela Limon-Davalos, Wilkesboro; Heather May, North Wilkesboro; Sierra Mullis, Jefferson; Katherine Nichols, Boomer; Natalia Perez-Brasil, Millers Creek; Amber Pruitt, Hays; Miranda Ramirez, Crumpler; Janielis Robles Alvarado, Wilkesboro; Emma Shue, Laurel Springs; Jessica Snider, Wilkesboro; Denise Torres, North Wilkesboro; and Dawn Winebarger, Fleetwood.

From Boone, N.C., Chris Austin worked as a sideman for Ricky Skaggs for three years, singing and playing guitar, banjo, mandolin, and fiddle. During that time, he was discovered by executives at Warner Brothers, Nashville who offered him a recording contract. While releasing singles, Austin also developed his songwriting skills. On March 16, 1991, his life was cut tragically short, when the private plane carrying him and six other members of Reba McEntire’s band, as well as her tour managers, crashed near the mountains near San Diego. The Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship was established in 1993 by Trisha L. Austin Stanley. To date, the scholarship has helped 130 students with a total of $60,600 awarded.

For more information on scholarships or donating to the WCC Foundation, contact the WCC Foundation at 336-838-6491.

Front row l-r: Natalia Perez-Brasil, Christel Benge, and Janielis Robles Alvarado
Back row l-r: Dr. Jeff Cox, WCC president, Dylan Black, Logan Bowlin, Wesley Whitson, Festival director.
Not pictured: Kimberly Ailon-Ailon, Jonathan Anderson, Victoria Crews, Mason Foster, Helen Huezo, McKenzie Johnson, Gabriela Limon-Savalos, Heather May, Sierra Mullis, Katherine Nichols, Amber Pruitt, Miranda Ramirez, Emma Shue, Jessica Snider, Denise Torres, and Dawn Winebarger.