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Gaston grad attended Duke University on a full scholarship

Jerome Mack Butler III

Jerome Mack Butler III

A Gaston County graduate will head to Durham this fall, where he will attend Duke University on a full scholarship after being accepted into the BN Duke Scholarship program.

The scholarship is awarded to students who demonstrate a commitment to civic engagement and community service, according to Duke’s website.

Jerome Butler III, a recent graduate of Highland School of Technology, said the scholarship was the perfect opportunity to bring together his passion for community service and a lifelong dream of attending Duke University.

“My mother went to Duke, and I always wanted to follow in her footsteps,” Butler said. “My dad went to Wake (Forest University), and it was always kind of a divisive thing, but Duke was definitely the right direction for me.”

The BN Duke program is named after Benjamin N. Duke, who funded scholarships, “to equip North and South Carolina students to ‘think for themselves and become leaders in the highest and best things in life,'” according to Duke’s website.

Each summer during the program, Butler has the opportunity to further develop skills in civic engagement and community service through community projects.

In recent years, Butler has played basketball, golf and football, in addition to track and field and cross country, at Highland, where he was enrolled in the school’s dental channel.

In his community service, Butler combined his training in the dental program with his years of volunteer work with Cancer Services of Gaston County.

“I noticed at Cancer Services that there was a need for dental hygiene aids such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and mouthwash, so I set up a project to create dental kits,” he said.

After some trial and error in his efforts to fund the project, Butler received nearly $300 from CaroMont Health and $600 from Teens Changing Gaston County to create 150 dental hygiene care packages that were distributed to Cancer Services clients.

Since the initial projects, CaroMont has committed an additional $5,000 and TCGC has pledged an additional $700 to support Butler in creating an additional 1,000 kits, a project that is currently underway.

“I want to share what I have learned and the skills I have developed over time with others and use them in a positive way,” Butler said.

At Duke, he plans to major in evolutionary anthropology and minor in global health.

This article originally appeared in The Gaston Gazette: Gaston grad attended Duke University on a full scholarship

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