2022 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Lincoln County Rotary Student Loan Fund.  For thirty years, the Rotary Clubs of Lincoln County have helped graduates of Lincoln County high schools gain their post-high school education dreams.  The clubs created the fund to offer low interest loans to students, while offering area Rotarians the opportunity to put the Service Above Self Rotary Motto into action.  Over the years the Lincoln County Rotary Student Loan Fund has fundraised more than $2.7 million and loaned over $7.2 million to more than 850 students from Lincoln County.  In addition to the Rotary Student Loan Fund, the organization recently launched a new scholarship program, Rotary Rooted, partnering with area high schools to help students gain access to Gaston College classes while attending high school.  The Rotary Rooted program covers fees and book costs for students that need assistance.
The LC Rotary Auction, a mainstay in Lincolnton for over 25 years has served as the primary fundraising event to fund our loan program.  After a hiatus due to Covid-19, a committee formed to find a new method for fundraising.  On Sunday, September 18th, The Lincoln County Rotary Student Loan Fund hosted the 1st Annual Rotary Race to Educate, and it was a huge success.  Over 140 people showed up in one capacity or another to assure the day was fun, safe, and raised money to support the Rotary Student Loan Fund and Rotary Rooted.  Our goal was $50,000, and we exceed that goal between our Century Club donations, Race Teams, and Silent Auction. 
19 Teams participated, racing from Rescue Squad Park in Denver to the finish line at BrickTree in Lincolnton.  Area business and individuals sponsored "Pit Stops" along the way where teams completed challenges and trivia questions to earn points.  Our Pit Stops were schools between Denver and Lincolnton.  Lincoln Charter School, Denver served as our first Pit Stop with Chief Administrator Jonathan Bryant and awesome student volunteers welcoming each team in for a scavenger hunt to successfully locate the six expectations of LCS students.  They left with a bag of "fuel" to get them to their next stop. Two routes were driven to create a little more competitive race, our North Route took racers by Rock Springs Elementary, North Lincoln High while the East Route funneled racers by St. James Elementary and East Lincoln High School.  As racers completed the stops on the eastern end of the county, they traveled into Lincolnton with stops at Asbury Academy, School of Tech, Communities in Schools, GE Massey and ultimately, all routed through the Lincoln campus Gaston College.  Dr. Aaron Allen graciously opened his school sites, not only offering our fundraiser the spaces needed, but integrating some Lincoln County history for participants to learn along the way.  
Student volunteers were paired with Rotarians and school administration at each Pit Stop to help racers complete their challenges such as Cosmetology hair rolling, Pictionary using only feet to draw clues, and mummy wrap, completely wrapping one participant in toilet paper before gaining the clue to the next stop.  Over 165 Student Volunteer Hours were earned Sunday, between students from five high schools.  Race winners were 3rd Place - Hayley, CJ and Savannah Reep, Kali and Liam Richardson 2nd Place - Marth Lidman and Mary Councilman and 1st place - First Federal's racing team including Charlie Reep, Rob Allen and Demery Brewer.  The award for the high school with the most attendance went to Lincolnton High School.
Our community showed up in a big way for this event, and the three Rotary Clubs of Lincoln County are so thankful!
Please visit rotarylinc.org for more information.
Anna B. Mullen
Executive Director, LC Rotary Student Loan Fund