Harpeth Hall honored Beth Porch Scruggs '75 with the alumna Spirit of Service Award for her inspirational work in the Nashville community.
The National Advisory Council (NAC) established the Alumna Spirit of Service Award to recognize and celebrate outstanding service by a Harpeth Hall/Ward-Belmont alumnae. Beth Porch Scruggs '75 was chosen as this year's Spirit of Service Award winner for her work teaching people with special needs about the physical and emotional benefits of swimming. Scruggs has worked in the Nashville community for more than 20 years with the Special Olympics World Games and as the founder and Executive Director of Nashville Dolphins.
Harpeth Hall honored Scruggs on Friday, April 6, at an Upper School assembly. The 2017 Spirit of Service Award recipient, Beth Rather Gorman '90, introduced Beth Porch Scruggs '75 and shared how Scruggs impacted and "vastly improved the lives of those around her" by her meaningful work. Gorman further described Scruggs as one of the most "thoughtful and selfless servant leaders" she had ever encountered. Scruggs joined Gorman on stage thanking her for her kind words and thanking the Harpeth Hall community – giving special recognition to her daughter, Amy Scruggs Adams '01, for nominating her for the award.
Scruggs spoke about her journey to establish the Nashville Dolphins, and how running one swim meet for Special Olympics changed her life. The swimmers she met left a lasting impression, and the reward from her interactions pushed her to give back.
"A few years after that first meet, I was asked by an aunt of a 13 year-old girl with Down Syndrome if I would work with her in the pool. She wanted to compete in Special Olympics, but couldn't make it all the way down the pool by herself. I'd never coached anyone with special needs, but I agreed to help. It turned out to be one of the most rewarding things I've ever done," said Scruggs.
Scruggs recognized a void in the Nashville community for swimming lessons for people with special needs. She also saw the drastic number of accidental deaths by drowning in children with special needs as an indicator this issue needed to be addressed. Scruggs saw this problem in her community, and she jumped in to fix it.
In closing her remarks, Scruggs offered inspirational words of encouragement to our Upper School girls. "My advice to that freshman version of myself, and to all of you, would be to not stress too much about where you will end up in life, but don't be afraid to get out in the world and give yourself as many experiences and opportunities as you can. Volunteer in your community (like perhaps for the Nashville Dolphins), meet new people, get outside of your comfort zone, never stop learning, never stop growing, and find YOUR spark; and when you do, don't be afraid to dive right in, head first."
Beth Porch Scruggs '75 is an inspiring example of going above and beyond expectations to serve her community. We thank her for her contributions and are proud to recognize her as Harpeth Hall's 2018 Spirit of Service Award recipient.