Elaine Strader and Annagrace Cornell, daughters of Mary and Gene Smith, proudly hold a picture of their parents.

Mary and Gene Smith, both natives of Ritchie County, instilled a love for education in each of their eight children and in their many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. To honor the Smith’s commitment to education, their family created the O. Eugene and Mary Scott Smith Memorial Fund in 2010. This Fund supports professional development or post-graduate studies (coursework beyond an undergraduate degree) for Ritchie County educators as well as academic school improvement needs within Ritchie County schools.

Focused on enhancing educational opportunities for students and educators, grants awarded from the O. Eugene and Mary Scott Smith Memorial Fund have supported numerous programs on an annual basis. Since its establishment, the fund has awarded over $3,900 to important community projects, including a $1,000 grant awarded to Ritchie County High School (RCHS) in spring 2016 which helped to develop and equip a video production lab at the school.

“As a result of this grant, students at RCHS are gaining real-world video production skills and now routinely publish video content,” said Robert McPeak, teacher at RCHS. “Video Journalism has become very popular at the school. In addition, several students are now pursuing video production related careers as a result of their success in the course.”

This memorial fund ensures that the Smith family’s belief in the value of education will continue to benefit Ritchie County students both now and in the future.