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The Grace Sheer Foundation is nearing its goal of an endowment
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Grace Sheer Foundation members Alexis Bagley (R), Karmen Pharris (C) and David Yenerall (L). - photo by Rio White

“She really was loved by everybody.”

Over the past four-plus years, the Grace Sheer Foundation has garnered immense support from the Dawson County community. Because of that support, the foundation recently put together what may be the fifth and final iteration of its Race for Grace 5K.

With the foundation nearly gathering enough funds to make its annual scholarship part of an endowment, last Saturday’s race marked a special milestone for the continued remembrance of former Dawson County High School student Grace Sheer and her lasting impact.

“The support we’ve received has just been tremendous,” foundation vice president Karmen Pharris said. “It means everything because Grace was such a great part of this community and so well-loved. It’s a great tribute to her and her parents.”

Faces from Dawson County’s past and present alike attended the race, with strong support from the local Rotary Club chapter.

Whether a former classmate of Sheer’s, a parent of one of her classmates or someone who knew of her tangentially, scores of local runners came out to honor her memory and extend her legacy.

For Alexis Bagley, a close friend of Sheer’s, the race turnout and the scholarship achievement serve as evidence of the community’s support.

“Seeing everybody who still comes out really goes to show how much of a legacy she has,” Bagley said. “Ask anybody who’s from here that knew her, they’ll tell you. They love her.”

As for the scholarship itself, there is more than one layer when it comes to what attributes are sought for a prospective recipient.

While the qualifications include being a female student-athlete planning on going to college with some amount of community service experience, there are also character traits that are important to consider. 

“Somebody kind [and] always going out of their way to do something good for another person,” Bagley said. “That’s what Grace always did.”

The most recent recipient was Emma Pelfrey, a former DCHS volleyball player currently attending Reinhardt University. 

Now that the endowment goal is nearing, Bagley is joyous that her close friend’s legacy will be passed down to DCHS students for many years to come. 

“It means that her memory — the memory of my friend — is going to live on,” Bagley. “Something good is coming from it. She would love that.”