Appalachian Impact seeking applicants for the new Russ and Debbie Bush Hope Scholarship

HAMPTON — Appalachian Impact, a local nonprofit committed to building hope for students through mentoring and leadership development, is thrilled to announce the launch of The Russ and Debbie Bush Hope Scholarship offered to two outstanding Buckhannon-Upshur High School seniors graduating in 2024.

This scholarship will offer two $2,500 scholarships to one graduating male and female who clearly exhibit hope and resilience in overcoming adversity. Students are required to be graduating this year and planning to attend a 4-year or 2-year college or trade school.

Russ and Debbie Bush were longtime residents of Buckhannon. Russ taught in West Virginia for 37 years, coached many young athletes and, because of his faith in Christ, poured his heart into serving the local community as well as internationally in Haiti. His wife Debbie, who now resides in Pennsylvania, is also a longtime educator and helped shape the Education department of West Virginia Wesleyan College.

When Appalachian Impact launched its one-to-one mentoring program in 2013, Russ was the very first active mentor, making a difference in the life of a Middle-School student. As Russ faced a severe battle with cancer over the last several years of his life, both he and Debbie deeply demonstrated a posture of hope as a form of resistance in the midst of great adversity.

Their consistent joy, love for others, and willingness to serve embody the heart of who Appalachian Impact strives to be. This is why the organization is so excited to establish the Hope Scholarship in their honor.

“On behalf of Appalachian Impact, I can’t tell you how amazing it is to see this scholarship getting off the ground this year,” Justin Bowers, Director of Appalachian Impact, said. “The lives of Russ and Debbie Bush have impacted hundreds if not thousands, and we’re hopeful this scholarship this year and in coming years can do the same by pouring into the lives of deserving graduates. We have always tried to be an organization that builds hope for students who need it, and this is one more way we think this vision can be accomplished.”

Applications for the Hope Scholarship will be accepted immediately at The deadline for applications is Monday, April 8, 2024. Scholarship recipients will be determined in early May, and the award will be given at the Senior Awards ceremony later that month.

Appalachian Impact will also host its annual fundraising gala on October 19, 2024 at The Outpost & Event Center.

Anyone wishing to support the Russ and Debbie Bush Hope Scholarship or have questions about the scholarship can be directed to Appalachian Impact Director Justin Bowers at

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