Donation will support Polk construction students
By: Mike Gavin
Published: March 04, 2022
Dennis and Wanda Gorges are making a significant gift to the Isothermal Polk Foundation to fund a scholarship program for a graduate of Polk County Schools going into the Isothermal Construction Trades program. The couple was on the Spindale campus this week to tour the Construction Trades facility with lead instructor Michael Lyda. Pictured are Joe Crowder (left to right), chair of the Isothermal Polk Foundation; Dr. Thad Harrill, Isothermal's chief development officer; Aaron Greene, superintendent of Polk County Schools; Dennis Gorges; Wanda Gorges; Dr. Margaret Annunziata, president; Leon Godlock, chair of the Isothermal Foundation; Dr. Greg Thomas, vice president of Academic and Student Affairs; and Michael Lyda, Construction Trades lead instructor.
Donation will support Polk construction students SPINDALE (March 2, 2022) – A couple with Polk County roots has made a generous donation to Isothermal Community College to support students headed to the Construction Trades program. Dennis and Wanda Gorges are making a significant gift to the Isothermal Polk Foundation to fund a scholarship program for a graduate of Polk County Schools or a Polk County resident who is going into the Isothermal Construction Trades program. Wanda McCall Gorges was a native of Polk County. When she and Dennis recently tried to hire workers for some repairs and renovations at her family home off N.C. 108 on the edge of Polk County, they were surprised at the lack of availability of people in the construction business. The hope is that this scholarship will help remedy that shortage of workers. "We wanted to hire some local people to work on Dad's place, but we ended up having to hire workers from places like Gaffney and Hendersonville," said Wanda.Each year, a $1,000 scholarship will be made to one student or will be split among multiple students. It is likely that any of the recipients, as Polk County residents, will also be eligible for Powers Promise funding. So, money from the Gorges-McCall Scholarship can be used for supplies, technology, equipment, and other expenses incurred while enrolled in the program. "The hope is that starting with high schoolers in Polk County is that they have a connection to the area so they're more likely to stay," said Dennis. Dr. Thad Harrill, Isothermal’s chief development officer, is excited about the new program. “When we think about workforce development and creating opportunity for our community, the construction trades are a big part of the picture,” said Harrill. “These jobs are in demand; they can pay well; and a motivated individual can make a good living doing something they really enjoy.” Harrill said that the recipients will be selected by administrators at Polk County Schools. Criteria include financial need, recent graduation from PCS, and Polk County residency. Wanda and Dennis were on campus Wednesday for a tour of the Construction Trades area, led by the program's lead instructor, Michael Lyda. The group later toured Polk Central High School, Wanda's alma mater."I really like the fact that the students get so much hands-on experience," said Dennis. "That's the best way for them to discover what they really like. If they haven't done it, they don't really know."For more information or to learn how to support the college, contact Harrill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-395-1624.