DiAnne Crisp has worked tirelessly for the past 4 years to help send youth in our community to college. Each year she volunteers months of her time and money to a fundraising effort called “Ducks on the Tuck”. “Ducks on the Tuck” is a ducky derby held on the Tuckasegee River in Jackson County, North Carolina. DiAnne, her husband Mitch and daughter Katie came up with the fundraising idea to benefit the local college access program called New Century Scholars.
New Century Scholars is a unique program that provides deserving students in grades 7-12 college preparatory support and a local scholarship guarantee. Each year approximately 60 students are selected as rising 7th graders to become New Century Scholars. When a New Century Scholar reaches toe 12th grade and upon satisfactory completion of program requirements, they are awarded a tuition scholarship to our local community college and university.
In 1995 the former public school superintendent and the former community college president recognized the need to harness the untapped potential of middle grade students in the community and direct them on the path to college. The New Century Scholars program is designed to improve academic readiness, bolster student persistence toward high school graduation and increase the college-going rate. The program benefits the community by increasing the educational level of the workforce and fostering a sense of community ownership in the youth. This sense of ownership is achieved through the many volunteer hours the students participate in while in the program. The program is funded through the contributions of individuals, businesses, churches, civic groups and the fundraiser “Ducks on the Tuck”. For each student who is selected to be in the program, $500 must be raised. This money is invested through the community college foundation to meet the student’s future educational needs.
DiAnne has served as chairperson of the “Ducks on the Tuck” steering committee for the past 4 years. She has donated funds to support the purchase of derby ducks and other supplies on a yearly basis. Through her efforts “Ducks on the Tuck” has become an annual community event. Each year the event raises approximately $12,000 to benefit the New Century Scholars program. Twelve thousand dollars will allow twenty-four students the opportunity to become New Century Scholars and receive a tuition guarantee to the local community college and university. Over the past 4 years approximately 96 students have been given the opportunity the attend college because of DiAnne’s vision and leadership of the “Ducks on the Tuck” event. She has led her volunteers by example as she has done everything from selling duck tickets to dressing up as “Tucker Duck” at school events.
When DiAnne is not organizing the duck race she is volunteering for the high school booster club, mentoring students with senior projects, volunteering at church and helping out wherever there is a need.