In less than a week, Toad Suck Daze will once again take over Downtown Conway, bringing food, fun, entertainment and joy to the faces of Faulkner County residents and outsiders alike. The festival has been a huge success for every one of its 33 years of existence, and even if it were simply to throw a big party, we all would be happy to take part.
But what we should all be reminded of is what a major result of the festival is — scholarship money that will be given out to deserving local students. This year, those students include: Andrea Andrews, Stephanie Battles, Drake Cooper, Treslyn Fletcher, Amanda Glover, Ellen Huckabay, Sarah Lewter, Emily Katherine Lock, Stevie Massey, Haley McKee, Hanah McKee, Nicole Moix, Heather Prowse, Christopher Siler and Anthony Tufu.
The scholarship program was developed by the Toad Suck Daze Committee, and the Toad Suck Daze Community Service Scholarship was established, according to those on the committee, “to foster an opportunity for civic responsibility, education, outreach and community growth among Faulkner County youth.”
As a community grows, so does its responsibility to its residents, especially those who are not yet adults. What is great about a city like Conway, a county like Faulkner County and a festival like Toad Suck Daze is that it teaches the value of maintaining a love of community and a desire to take care of those within it.
Some of these students will continue their education right here in Conway, most likely at one of its three institutions of higher learning. Others will go to schools in Arkansas, and still others will leave for education opportunities elsewhere. But what they can learn from this experience is to cherish the community you are in, whether it is Conway, Arkansas or Seattle, Washington. The Community Service Scholarship has been the perfect way to teach what it means to be a steward of your home.
To date $1.3 million has either been given in the form of a direct scholarship to approximately 221 Faulkner County students or has been endowed with Central Baptist College, Hendrix College, the University of Central Arkansas and the Arkansas Faulkner County Community Foundation.
So when you chow down on that fried gator or take another turn on the ferris wheel, remember that it’s not just fun Conway is promoting with Toad Suck Daze. It is education and community service.
The Log Cabin Democrat editorial board is made up of Publisher Zach Ahrens, Editor Ricky Duke and Reporter Joe Lamb.