FORT MILL — For Fort Mill Future Farmers of America alumni, an annual dinner has become a tradition to honor a couple that has influenced several generations of Fort Mill students.
Fort Mill FFA alumni gather each year to honor the late Harold M. Mac McCallum, a Fort Mill High School agriculture teacher and FFA advisor, and his wife of 66 years, Phoebe McCallum, who taught business at Fort Mill High School for many years.
Mac McCallum died in 2008 at age 88, but the McCallum presence survives; Phoebe McCallum, a Rock Hill resident, is actively involved in the Fort Mill community.
The McCallum Recognition Dinner will 6 p.m. Jan. 28 at Captain Steves, 1975 Highway 21 Bypass in Fort Mill. The dinner benefits the Harold M. and Phoebe B. McCallum Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to Fort Mill students.
The McCallums touched many students lives with their dedication to educational excellence in the Fort Mill area, said Pinckney Purcell, one of Mac McCallums former students.
Mr. Mac had a big influence on (our) lives, he said. He was very important to all of us.
McCallum helped Purcell obtain a James F. Byrnes Foundation Scholarship in his senior year at Fort Mill High School, said Purcell, who graduated in 1959.
He was instrumental in helping me get a scholarship and go to college, Purcell said. He said the McCallums were hands-on as teachers.
To honor the McCallums contributions to education in Fort Mill, Purcell helped establish the McCallum Scholarship Fund. I would have not been able to go to college if I hadnt received a scholarship, Purcell said. Every little bit counts.
The first scholarship was awarded in 1993 to Fort Mill graduate Shannon Giles.
The scholarship awards $2,000 to a graduating senior from Fort Mill High School and one from Nation Ford High school each year, said Caryn Scroggs, executive director for the Foundation for Fort Mill Schools.
While any student can apply, preference is given to those pursuing careers in agriculture, education or business, Scroggs said. Applicants also are expected to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and must have been accepted to a two- or four-year institution of higher education.
The McCallum Recognition Dinner is the biggest fundraiser for the scholarship fund, Scroggs said. So many people that were impacted by the McCallums come back every year for this dinner, she said. Its a really good opportunity to help keep the scholarship going.
FFA alumni started the dinner more than 25 years ago to bring together FFA members in a time to reflect on their high school days, share fishing stories and hear FFA updates, said Fort Mill FFA alumnus Murray White.
White, a former student of McCallum, said the dinner has grown to include current Fort Mill and Nation Ford FFA classes and community members.
Its a great evening, he said. Everybody seems to enjoy it.
The dinner also provides the FFA members a chance to learn about what the organization is doing both on a state and national level, said Kristen Reinhardt, agricultural teacher and FFA advisor at Fort Mill High School.
Its important to raise awareness for students going into agriculture majors, she said. FFA is a great organization for students to get involved in. Its a strong organization in Fort Mill.
There are more than 500,000 FFA members nationwide, according to the FFA website.
South Carolina FFA Vice President Savannah Vickery will update the alumni and current FFA members on what is happening on the state level at the dinner. Attendees also will hear from local FFA officers.
Applications for Harold M. and Phoebe B. McCallum Scholarships can be found at www.ffms.org. Applications are due April 1. Those wishing to donate to the scholarship fund also may visit the website.
For information on Fort Mills FFA, go to Fortmillffa.wix.com/blueandgold.