Scholarship honors Prospect High School students, teachers


Three members of the Prospect High School Class of 1959 and one of their teachers witnessed the signing of a scholarship in their honor on January 5 at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

 Ken Strickland

Seated from left: Chancellor Jenkins and Ken Strickland. Standing from left: James A. Jones, John Ethan Freeman, Van Locklear and Billy Locklear

Ken Strickland, who established the scholarship, Van Locklear, Billy Locklear and James A. Jones, a teacher and later principal of Prospect High School, met with UNCP student John Ethan Freeman, the first recipient of the Prospect High School Class of 1959 and Faculty International Travel Fund.

Strickland founded the scholarship to honor his classmates and the teachers who encouraged and inspired him. It will go annually to a Robeson County native who graduated from the Robeson County Public Schools and who is committed to teaching in the county upon graduation.

A mathematics education major, Freeman will study at Sweden’s VäxjöUniversity during the spring semester. In his application essay, he explained why he wants to be a teacher.

“I have known for many years that I wanted to be a teacher,” Freeman wrote. “I want to give back part of what I received.

“I was diagnosed with a severe phonological disorder that left my speech essentially unintelligible,” he said. “My first grade teacher worked with me before and after school . . . she always provided me with encouragement and motivation.”

Now a successful college student, Freeman’s ambitions mirror the goals of the scholarship, Strickland said.

“There couldn’t be a better recipient for this scholarship,” Strickland told Freeman. “My hope is that you will teach in this county once you complete your studies. There is no better contribution than to give back to your fellow man,”

 A second scholarship that honors his father, Jepty Patrick Strickland, will go to a student who is majoring in education, business or science.

Chancellor Charles Jenkins said the intent of the two scholarships is admirable.

“Your concept for these scholarships is outstanding in that it combines two great ideas,” Chancellor Jenkins said. “I appreciate your concern of the need for good teachers, and the Prospect Class of 1959 Scholarship recognizes the importance of study abroad,” he said. “I have seen the positive impact of international experiences on our students.”

Freeman said “study abroad will make me a better teacher.” He selected Växjö as a “good fit” after consulting with UNCP’s Office of International Programs.

Strickland, who has traveled extensively, thanked his wife for her support and his classmates and teachers for inspiring him to succeed and making the scholarships possible. Strickland is a businessman and a resident of Mclean, Va.

To learn more about the Prospect High School Class of 1959 & Faculty International Travel Fund, the Jepty Patrick Strickland Endowed Scholarship, or giving to UNCP, please contact the Office for Advancement at 910.521.6252 or