BRCO Newsletters On-line

Bethel students who demonstrated academic excellence and winning attitudes were recently recognized by Bethel Rural Community Organization (BRCO).  BRCO's Education Committee annually grants awards to students at Bethel Elementary, Bethel Middle, and Pisgah High School.

BRCO recognized the following students at Bethel Elementary School: Emerie Underwood and Triniti Cornwell for Reading Growth; Jaylon Thomassin for Highest Reading Score; Christian Swilling for Math Growth; and Janee Lancaster for Highest Math Score.

Rosie Burgess - Bethel Middle School David Cuphey Citizenship Award Recipient

BRCO News and Events


The BRCO David Curphey Citizenship Award recipient was chosen by eighth grade teachers at Bethel Middle School based on attitude, behavior, civic-mindedness, and treating others with care and respect.  Eighth grader Rosie Burgess received the Award and $50.


BRCO Scholarship Winner - Lettie Jo Watsonb

BRCO's Education Committee selects the winner of the $1000 BRCO Scholarship from the applications of graduating high school seniors who reside in Bethel community.  Lettie Jo Watson was selected because of her accomplishments in wide-ranging areas of competence.  She earned a cumulative weighted GPA of 4.6111 while actively participating in a variety of school sports and clubs.  Watson learned veterinary techniques and processes at local animal hospitals in preparation for her future studies in veterinary medicine.  She will attend the University of Tennessee and will pursue a degree in animal science with a focus on pre-veterinary medicine.  Watson plans to graduate in eight years as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.  After she completes her studies, she would like to come back to Bethel to start a mobile vet practice.

Lettie Jo Watson - BRCO Scholarship Winner

2023 Pigeon Valley Award for Historic Preservation - Hugh K. Terrell, Jr.

The committee recognized the former Bethel Junior High School teacher and librarian for his oversight of the 1978 student project that resulted in a Foxfire-style documentation of interviews of individuals who had lived at Sunburst Logging Village on the West Fork of the Pigeon River in the early 20th Century.  Sonoma – Valley of the Moon – Sunburst resulted from a year's worth of dedication by Terrell that meant arranging for students to interview former residents in the couple of hours allotted during the school day.  The interviews covered topics such as social activities, community connections, housing, sawmill layout, logging outposts, loggers, sawmillers, families, children, doctors, unique individuals, schools, post office, church, retail establishments, railway companies, rail lines, and Champion Paper & Fibre. Having students collect photographs or draw likenesses of topics for which no pictures were available was also a significant task for Terrell. Returning to school most evenings, Terrell typed, organized, and tended to printing details since, in those days, eighth grade students did not type, and automatic printers were not readily available.

In honor of Terrell's work, BRCO's Historic Preservation Committee has reprinted Sonoma – Valley of the Moon – Sunburst, which is available for purchase in the on-line catalog. Terrell will also be featured with the upcoming oral history documentary produced by BRCO's Historic Preservation Committee: The Historic Schools of Bethel DVD that is scheduled for release in 2024.  

2023 Bethel Rural Community Organization Awards and Scholarships

PICTURED : Historic Preservation Committee members and Terrell Family

Carol Litchfield (seated)

Left to right:  Ted Carr, Bill Terrell (holding Hugh K. Terrell's photo), Carole Terrell, Mike Terrell, Evelyn Coltman, Kaye Riddle, Zac Guy, and Frances Adamson

Hugh K. Terrell, Jr.

BRCO achieved the White Oak level for the second year in a row.  At this top level, communities have significant board training, an annual budget of at least $50,000, active committees with Chairs, a high level of excellence in their program offerings, and have helped another community develop a program or capacity.  BRCO was also recognized as Best in Class and was awarded an additional $2000.  The WNC Communities staff praised BRCO at the luncheon for our collaboration with other Haywood County community clubs to improve broadband access; for our efforts to preserve Sunburst and Canton mill history especially in the wake of the mill closing; and for our special projects including the installation of a storage unit for use by Bethel Middle School FFA students and the steps we took to improve our community pantry.

None of this recognition would have been possible without the many long hours that Evelyn Coltman spent on gathering, organizing, and entering all of the information that was needed to complete the BRCO Honors Award application.

Thank you to Evelyn for preparing the application, and congratulations to everyone who contributed to BRCO's outstanding accomplishments during the past year!

This year's WNC Honors Awards luncheon took place on November 11th in Asheville. Honors Award applications had been submitted from 67 community organizations, including BRCO.  All participating communities received $730 to support their efforts. Additionally, communities were assessed across six different competencies and awarded a designation of Trillium, Mountain Laurel, Redbud, or White Oak level according to their demonstrated capacity to lead and serve.

BRCO Achieves Top Honors for Second Year in a Row