The Crook County School District will start a college scholarship fund after receiving a $826,979.11 financial donation from an alumnus.
Before he passed away in 2012, Byron Wayne Meadows, a 1955 graduate of Crook County High School, created a trust that named the school district as the beneficiary.
In 1994, Meadows informed the district of the trust’s existence and met in person with representatives in 2007.
The trust consisted of a real property asset in San Diego which was to be used as a residence for the remainder of the life of the caretaker. After the caretaker passed away in December of 2018, the property was sold, and the proceeds, after expenses, were to be donated to the district.
Meadow’s nephew Jerry Culpepper, of Prineville, is the trustee and has been in contact with the district since the caretaker’s passing.
Crook County School District Director of Business and Finance Anna Logan said the district received the money Dec. 30 and has deposited the funds into a new, special investment account that is separate from regular district funds.
The district will form a Byron Wayne Meadows Memorial Scholarship Committee and hopes to award Crook County High School seniors this spring.
The five-member committee will include two school board members, two district employees, and one community member. The board will annually appoint the committee members.
Once the committee forms, they will recommend to the board the scholarship criteria as well as the dollar amount and number of scholarships they will award.
In his Oct. 30, 1994, letter to the the district, Meadows said he received the Ochoco Scholarship during his studies at the University of Oregon and at the University of Vienna.
“Without your financial assistance it would have been very difficult for me to complete college,” he wrote. “I promised Mr. Burgess who was then the high school principal that I would eventually pay back the money which the good citizens of Prineville gave to me for my education. I am fulfilling that promise by making you the primary beneficiary of my living trust.”
After graduating from Crook County High School, Meadows was drafted into the Army. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 1960 and studied abroad in Vienna, Austria, majoring in music, German and French.
Meadows worked for the City of Los Angeles, where he received training to become a computer programmer. He then worked as a computer software developer. He enjoyed music and fine arts.
“Crook County School District leaders believe every student should pursue post-high school education, whether that’s college, trade school or an associate’s degree,” said CCSD Board Chair Scott Cooper. “Unfortunately, access to additional education is a stretch for many students, for a variety of reasons. A community scholarship helps knock down barriers and sends a message to a graduating senior, ‘We believe in you, so we’re investing in you.’”