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Shelli Parker/Staff

The Athens Oddfellows gave scholarships to seniors from local high schools on Thursday to attend Trinity Valley Community College. From the left are: Haley Wilson, Athens High School: Joyce Hornsby, Cross Roads; Tucker Reeve, Eustace; James Curtis; Barbara Curtis; Jo Jo Griffey;  Greg Griffey; Skyler Droke; Trent Barley, Mabank; and Joseph Prnka, Malakoff. Not pictured is scholarship winner Whitney Jane Berryhill of LaPoynor.

The Athens chapter of the Oddfellows gave scholarships on Thursday to seven area students who plan to attend Trinity Valley Community College in the fall.

The Oddfellows, a fraternal organization, has a tradition of giving $500 scholarships to one student at each high school campus in Henderson County, according to lodge official James Curtis.

“I'm glad we can do this,” James Curtis said. “We have since 1992 and we brought in enough at the fish fry Saturday to pay for two of the scholarships next year.”

Members of the Oddfellows organization review and choose each recipient.

The students who apply have to maintain a certain grade point average to qualify. Exceptions are made for lower income students who had to work during their high school years.

“Students need to please be sure and follow instructions on the application,” Curtis said. “We grade them on this.”

TVCC matches the Oddfellows contribution to the scholarship to reach the $500 total.

“TVCC is honored to have such a fantastic partnership with the Oddfellows and Rebekahs,” Kristen Bennett, vice president of institutional advancement and executive director of the TVCC Foundation said. “We could not make the impact we do without civic groups like the Oddfellows and Rebeccas. Together we help students achieve their academic dreams.”

The Oddfellows Lodge is located at 1301 Cayuga Dr. on the southwest side of Athens. The lodge has been active in Athens for 102 years.

The organization got its start in the United States in Baltimore in 1819. Earlier Oddfellows groups started in England in the 1700s.

The Rebekah Lodges were founded in September 1851. Formerly only men could be Oddfellows and women were only eligible for membership in the Rebekahs. Curtis said women can now hold membership in both the Rebekahs and the Oddfellows.