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Furr’s legacy continues through scholarships

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To turn a tragic event into something positive can be a catharsis. Sharon Furr knows. April 4, 2009, was a tragic day for Furr and her family.
Furr’s sister, Cindy Furr, and her 2-year-old niece, McAllister “Mackie” Furr, were on their way to church when one of two vehicles racing on S.C. 49 in the Lake Wylie community crashed into Furr’s car. Furr died on impact and Mackie not long after. Also killed was 13-year-old Hunter Holt, a passenger in the car that crashed into Furr’s vehicle.
The senseless deaths not only rocked the Furr family, but the community as well. Cindy Furr was a well-known and beloved literature professor at Winthrop University and minister of music at Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church in Lake Wylie.
Sharon Furr, who lives on a farm in Chester and writes columns for the Chester News & Reporter, said her sister was more than just a teacher. She was someone who could capture her students’ imaginations and make literature come alive.
The CindyMackie Foundation Scholarship was set up two years ago to honor Cindy Furr and her daughter. The $1,000 scholarships are awarded to students and teachers who excel in English, literature, arts and music, in keeping with Cindy Furr’s passion.
There were six awards given out last year. This year, there were nine, including two students from Lancaster County – Andrew Jackson High School seniors Wendy Winn and Sydney Phillips.
Students are selected for the CindyMackie scholarships based on their academic accomplishments and involvement in the schools and community. Wendy and Sydney fit the bill. Both girls have been longtime members of the school’s award-winning choral program, are officers on student council and are ranked among the school’s top five students academically.
“Every student should do the best in school they can do, find an extracurricular activity to be involved in and contribute to the community and school,” said Andrew Jackson High School Principal Mary Barry. “And both of these girls do that. Any principal would be in heaven if they had a school full of students like these.”
Sharon Furr said Cindy was a mentor who would be proud of Wendy and Sydney receiving the scholarships named after her.
“I didn’t have anything to do with choosing any of the recipients; that’s done by a board,” Sharon Furr said about the girls’ award. “But when they showed me these girls and they’d been chosen, I thought they seemed exactly like Cindy in being exceptional way above and beyond. She’d be proud.”
The other awards went to Sydney Zazzaro and Jessica Davies, Clover High; Emily Wenning, a teacher at Holy Trinity School in Charlotte; Kelly Martin, a student at Western Carolina University; Rebekah Kerr, a student at Clemson University; Craig Davis, York Comprehensive High School band director, and Jennifer Cannon, fourth-grade teacher at Lewisville Elementary School.
Sharon Furr and her family had to relive that tragic day during a trial in December and will have to do it again at the next trial. While these senseless deaths weigh heavy on the family and the community, there is a consolation in knowing that Cindy Furr’s legacy continues. It continues through the lives of students and teachers who share Cindy’s passion for life, music and education.
We, along with Wendy, Sydney and the other CindyMackie Foundation Scholarship recipients, express our gratitude to the Furrs for turning this tragic event into something positive. It had to be a difficult decision – one that was sad, yet rewarding. A real catharsis.