Casino Aspire event raises funds for college scholarships

Posted at 5:24 PM on Jan 28, 2019


012819 Aspire.jpgBY KARISSA MILLER

Local residents can have some casino-style fun this weekend and help send local students to college.

The annual Iredell County Crosby Scholars Aspire fundraiser has been rescheduled and will take place on Saturday, February 2, in Mooresville. This is the event’s second year.

Proceeds from Saturday’s event will help provide funding to students who still have financial need after they’ve received all other available aid, according to Suzanne Wegmiller, executive director of Crosby Scholars.

“We also would like to offer more scholarships to help families who may not qualify for a lot of need-based funding, but struggle to pay college costs without incurring burdensome loans for students, parents or both,” Wegmiller said.

In 2018, more than $20,000 was awarded through scholarships and Last Dollar grants.

Crosby Scholars is a free college-access program with a mission to see that every public-school student who wants to attend college has the opportunity to do so.

“Crosby Scholars has helped me a lot,” said senior Albert Bryce. “I was able to do campus visits, academies, test prep and community service.”

The nonprofit offers education services for all public-school students. Crosby Scholars provides resources for students and encourages parental involvement so everyone could be informed about what to expect after high school.

Participants must be drug-free and perform community service. Students have contributed over 11,000 community service hours during the 2017-18 school year.

Meet the Scholars

More than 180 seniors are on track to complete the program this spring.

The senior class has tutored students in math, volunteered with the Habitat for Humanity Restore, worked camps, helped animals and learned about Iredell County and surrounding areas.

Community service helps assimilate students into the culture of service. It’s also an opportunity for them to work with local groups and organizations that they may later want to become more closely involved with down the road.

“My community has given me so much and I saw this opportunity to give back,” said Emory Keel, a senior at Pine Lake Prep. She combined her hobby and passion for competitive swimming with her passion for learning other languages as she ran the swim program for Caterpillar Ministries.

“I found that low-income populations have significantly higher drowning rates than any other groups due to them not having sufficient access to swim programs. Learning this, I felt that I needed to bring awareness of this issue to our community,” she explained.

Keel earned community service hours with Crosby Scholars while working towards her Girl Scout Gold award.

“I knew it would be the perfect fit … before I was unaware of the Hispanic group in my community and this shed light on our community’s diversity,” Keel said.

Joshua Rhodebeck, a Lake Norman senior, has volunteered regularly at the Habitat Restore. He said he thinks it’s really good to give back to the community.

He recently found out that he has been accepted into the U.S. Military Academy.

“My grandfather was born in the Philippines and that let him move to America. Also, both of my uncles were both Marines. They have inspired me to originally want to join the military,” Rhodebeck said.

Rhodebeck mentioned that individuals in the military face challenges financially and cannot work other jobs as they are serving their country. He’s hoping to receive a scholarship so that he can earmark that money for graduate school.

About the Event

This year’s Casino Aspire will include professional gaming tables and dealers and offer participants a chance to play blackjack, roulette, craps and poker.

The event starts at 6 p.m. Saturday in the Lakefront Ballroom, located at 120 Trump Square in Mooresville. Tickets cost $100. The cost includes $300 in play money to play the games for fun and heavy hours d’oeuvres. There’s also a silent auction, music, dancing and a chance to win prizes.

Dress is black-tie optional.

Among the silent auction items are: a chance to help crew America's Yacht during a several-day stay in San Diego, not-available-to-the-public Napa Valley experience, a weekend in New York City with Hamilton tickets, and much more.
Tickets are available online at, through a link on the website at, or by calling 704-873-5005, Ext. 1408.

Join the VIP Readers' Club!

Creating an account entitles you to the following perks:

Already a member?


Subscribe to SVL Free News Email Alerts

* indicates required