WEST COLUMBIA, SC – Tommy Long never went to college, but he emphasized the importance of an education with his own family members, wishing that college was more widely available to everyone.
The Lexington County resident didn’t just wish it, though – he took steps to help make it happen.
Thursday night, Lexington Two received a donation of $28,502.57 from the estate of Long, who passed away in 2018. Long’s directive was to establish the Tommy Long Class of ‘57 Scholarship, with funds to be awarded to outstanding Lexington Two high school students who maintain an A average. Long directed that the same amount of money be given to Lexington One, where he attended high school.
In Lexington Two, the donation is being divided equally between the Airport High School Education Foundation and Brookland-Cayce High School Education Foundation, both of which support their schools’ students through scholarships and other activities. Donny Burkett and Nanette Wooton, who head the Airport and Brookland-Cayce foundations, respectively, were on hand Thursday to receive checks.
Barry Bolen, who was first notified of the donation as the district's acting superintendent in late spring, called the gift an affirmation of the outstanding work being done by Lexington Two students and educators.
Long’s niece, Shelia Zorn, attended Thursday's check presentation, which was held during a meeting of the Lexington Two Board of Trustees. Zorn, an Airport High School graduate, said the event would have made her uncle proud.
“Uncle Tommy would be honored to have the opportunity to help a young person further their education,” Zorn said, “and to give them a good start in life.”