Celebrating $50,000 Scholarship to Support Student Access The King-Earp-Ross Memorial Endowed Scholarship Dedicated to a Legacy of Three Alumni Educators

by Haley Arni

A signing ceremony was recently held to acknowledge The King-Earp-Ross Memorial Endowed Scholarship, established in December 2022, by the initial donor, Evans L. King, Jr., to recognize and acknowledge the outstanding accomplishments and life of his father, Evans L. King ’34, as well as those of James E. “Buddy” Earp ’51 and Omar G. Ross ’54. 

The endowed scholarship was established with an initial gift of $50,000 by the King family. The scholarship will help support students from Christiansburg High School (CHS) to attend Emory & Henry College.

“The King-Earp-Ross Memorial Endowed Scholarship recognizes and honors the memories of these three exceptional Emory & Henry graduates who worked for many years in the Montgomery County (Virginia) School System, each serving faithfully as principal of Christiansburg High School at some point in their careers,” said Emory & Henry College President John W. Wells. “This scholarship also acknowledges the loyalty and steadfast commitment over the years of these three outstanding individuals to their beloved alma mater and recognizes the hundreds of students’ lives touched and transformed by the extraordinary love and devotion of these gentlemen. It is the hope that this scholarship will memorialize the remarkable human qualities of these men and their unwavering spirit as community leaders, educators, coaches, and mentors.”

This endowed scholarship is to be awarded to a graduating senior each year from CHS who has been accepted as a full-time student at Emory & Henry College, has a validated financial need, and has demonstrated leadership and integrity through school and volunteer opportunities. The award shall continue with the student selected for four years of matriculation if the recipient maintains at least a 3.00 overall GPA.

“We are honored to have this new opportunity to share these funds with a future student to attend Emory & Henry,” said Jennifer Pearce, Vice President for Enrollment and External Affairs. “This is a touching and meaningful gift that will impact generations of students from Christiansburg. We look forward to the talent these future students will bring to our campus as well as the impact from their experiences during their time with us to take out into the world like these three amazing gentlemen.”

The lives of King, Earp and Ross overlapped and intersected in many ways. They had in common their love for and gratitude to Emory & Henry College, their patriotism and service in the United States military, strong Christian faith, high moral values, and commitment to their community.

The three were strongly connected through CHS, which was not only the launching point of their careers in education but also perhaps the most cherished institution of their working lives. King was an alumnus, teacher, and principal at CHS, serving as principal when Earp was hired as teacher and head football coach after his decorated service in Korea. King later served as county superintendent when Ross was hired as assistant football coach, eventually replacing Earp as head football coach when Earp moved into school administration. Both Earp and Ross went on to serve as principals of CHS during the period when King was superintendent of schools.

For many a school year, from the 1930s through the 1970s, one or more of these three great men turned the lights on and off at CHS and positively impacted many a young person’s life.

Among the legacies left by these three men at CHS are the many Emory & Henry alumni who have coached and taught at CHS, such as Ken Stickley, Tom Spraker, Curtis Campbell, Joe Rusek, Carlis Altizer, Dave White, Mike Griffith, Dean Rowe, Rufus “Buddy” Shull, and Phil Robbins; and the many Blue Demon students who later attended Emory & Henry, including Tommy Barber, Mike Basham, Patty Phillips Robbins, James Pharis, Ryan Pharis, Shannon Pharis, Reginald Rose, Betty Lynn Lawrence, Walter Thompson, Tommy Reed, June Graybeal, Bonnie McCoy, Bruce McCoy, Steve Miller, Larry Epperly, Robert “Butch” Phillips, Ronnie Phillips, and Keith Neeley.

Currently, there are five students attending Emory & Henry from Christiansburg High School and two students who have made deposits to attend starting this fall.

To learn more about Emory & Henry College and its scholarships, visit www.ehc.edu

 

More on the legends behind the scholarship:

EVANS L. KING ’34

Evans L. King was born in 1909 “up a holler” in Pilot, a tiny farming area in Montgomery County, Virginia, the oldest of nine children. His family was among the poorest in a typically poor southern mountain community of the time. His Dad, Charlie, worked at different times at a local mill and as a mechanic and in the coal mines and as a handyman to support the family. The Kings never owned a car and moved into nearby Christiansburg when Evans and a couple of his brothers were old enough to attend high school. He often joked that no one in the area even noticed the Great Depression of the 1930s. Life didn’t change for the King family or their neighbors.

Through the encouragement of their mother, Virgie Mae, a “normal” school teacher (the equivalent of having gone through the 8th grade), all four King boys (a fifth boy, John, died at age two) graduated from college (twin brothers Clyde and Cline graduated from E&H a few years after Evans) and all four King girls were valedictorians of their classes at Christiansburg High. They were all raised with the strong belief that education was the key to a better life and a better world, and as strong Methodists.

Mr. King graduated with a degree in chemistry from Emory & Henry College, a member of the Class of 1934, thanks to the financial support of the Methodist Church in Christiansburg, and by working in the College cafeteria and selling class rings. He was president of his senior class, a member of the Blue Key national leadership fraternity, president of Phi Gamma Phi social fraternity, president of Phi Alpha Epsilon chemistry honorary fraternity, and president of the Hermesian Literary Society. He also developed his love of golf while at Emory.

While aspiring to attend medical school but never having the financial ability to do so, Mr. King became one of the top educators in the Commonwealth during his lifetime. He earned his master’s degree from Teachers College at Columbia University in 1940 and was part of the Montgomery County Public School System from 1934 until his retirement in 1974, with a brief “respite” while serving in Europe in the 8th Air Force during World War II. He was among the first servicemen trained in the operation of the Norden bombsight and became an instructor in its use. He cherished his connection with the “Mighty 8th” for the remainder of his life.

Mr. King married the love of his life, Katie Sue Weaver, also a teacher, in November 1943, shortly before being shipped overseas on the Queen Mary to England during the war. They had one child, Evans Jr., the founder of this scholarship, and two granddaughters, Elizabeth King Schoonover and Laura King Kozlowski.

Mr. King was the principal of Christiansburg High School both before and after the war and then served as Superintendent of Schools for Montgomery County for 11 years. He was widely regarded as one of the most knowledgeable educators in Virginia in the area of public school finance. He successfully led the County through the desegregation of the public schools in the 1960s and through the replacement of many dilapidated and outdated school buildings. He essentially moved the Montgomery County public schools from the time of one-room schoolhouses built in the early 1900s into an era of modern facilities and methods of instruction. He was also a leader in his church and in many other civic and community activities in and around Christiansburg. The football field at Christiansburg High is named in his memory. The monument commemorating the dedication of “Evans King Field” reads in part that, “HIS LIFE WAS DEDICATED TO MAKING CHRISTIANSBURG AN EXCEPTIONAL PLACE TO LIVE, WORK, AND LEARN.”

Mr. King devoted his life to his God, his family, his community, and his country. Among his most passionate affiliations was the one with Emory & Henry College. He was buried wearing his Emory tie.

 

JAMES E. “BUDDY” EARP ’51

James Edward “Buddy” Earp Sr. was a lifelong educator and a retired Colonel in the United States Marine Corps Reserves. He was a guiding star for many educators and students throughout his career. Born in 1927, in Mountain City, Tennessee, he grew up in Bristol, Virginia during the Great Depression where he and his four siblings were raised by his mother, Ruth, and his grandmother, Mary Greer. He attended Virginia High School in Bristol and played football and baseball while also working as a dispatcher at a local cab company.

Mr. Earp attended Emory & Henry College through the generosity of some local E&H graduates. They asked only that he continue to support the College when he was able, something Mr. Earp did throughout his life. He was one of the “Bristol Boys” who played football for Emory & Henry during the Tangerine Bowl Era. Buddy was a team captain, four-year starter, and Little All American Honorable Mention. He is a charter member of the Emory & Henry Sports Hall of Fame. His coach, Conley Snidow, said Mr. Earp was the best all-around football player he ever coached, and he was named All-Smokey Mountain Conference on both offense and defense for several of the years he played. He was always supported by his mother as well as his sisters, Frances and Betty. While at Emory & Henry, he was a member of Phi Gamma Phi fraternity.

Upon graduating from Emory & Henry College in 1951 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Mr. Earp enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served in the Korean War where he was wounded and awarded a Purple Heart. He received a commendation for serving as platoon commander of an anti-aircraft automatic weapons platoon and organizing and training his platoon while in combat. In 1977, he retired as a Colonel from the Marine Corps Reserves. He often spoke of the honor it was to have served his country through his time in the Marines.

In 1954, Mr. Earp and his wife, Jane (“the best thing that ever happened to me”), moved to Christiansburg, Virginia, where Mr. Earp began his career as a teacher and coach at Christiansburg High School. While there, he began the boy’s track and field program, and the team was Virginia track and field state champions in the third year of the program. He also started the driver’s training program at the school. During this time, Mr. Earp completed his master’s degree at the University of Tennessee. After working at both Christiansburg High School as a teacher, coach, and assistant principal and at Montgomery County Schools’ central office as an administrator, Mr. Earp was chosen by his mentor, Superintendent Evans King, to lead Christiansburg High School as principal. He was the principal during the first years of desegregation in Montgomery County.

Mr. Earp’s support of the local community included membership in the Christiansburg Kiwanis Club. As president, he spearheaded the purchase of property which became Kiwanis Park and the foundation of the youth sports programs for the town.

Mr. Earp was active as a member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church where he served several terms as Senior and Junior Warden.

In 1974, Mr. Earp left the Montgomery County Schools to become principal of Marion Senior High School, and he spent the final 10 years of his teaching career as principal at Glenvar High School in Salem, Virginia. He led Glenvar through its transitions from a high school to a junior high in 1977 and then its return to a high school in 1983.

Mr. Earp supported E&H throughout his life and attended almost every home football game. Many times, Mr. Earp and Mr. Ross would ride to the games together, meeting college friends and teammates prior to the game and then cheering on the team. On occasion, they would take Mr. King with them.

Mr. Earp was the first in a series of Earp family members to attend the College. His brothers, Bill and Tom, both attended as well as played football there. A generation later, in 1979, his son Jim graduated from the College. His grandson, Andrew Earp, was the third generation of Earps to graduate from E&H, following in his grandfather’s footsteps as an educator with his undergraduate degree in teaching (2019) and Master’s in Education (2020).

Mr. Earp is buried at Arlington National Cemetery with his wife, Jane. His years at Emory & Henry provided the framework for a life of service to his community and country.

 

OMAR G. ROSS ’54

Omar Garland Ross was born in Grayson County, Virginia, on November 23, 1933. He attended Independence High School and then attended and graduated from Emory and Henry College in 1954 with a bachelor’s degree in history. While at E&H, Mr. Ross played on the baseball and basketball teams and was a member of the Dom-I-Necher social fraternity. After graduation, Mr. Ross began his 36-year educational career as a teacher, guidance counselor, principal, and superintendent.

Mr. Ross began his teaching and coaching career at Fries High School. He was then encouraged by his fellow Emory & Henry alum, James E. “Buddy” Earp, to teach and coach at Christiansburg High School. In 1959, Ross moved to Christiansburg with his wife, Brenda, after accepting a position as a teacher and assistant football coach to head coach Earp. He assumed the role of Christiansburg High School head football coach from 1961 to 1965. Mr. Ross also coached the boys’ basketball team, the cross-country squad and the track and field teams while teaching history, health and physical education. He also coached the founder of this scholarship in 8th-grade football at CHS. During this time, Mr. Ross earned his master’s degree in education administration and guidance from Radford University.

In 1970, Mr. Ross became principal of Christiansburg High School and, in 1974, coordinated the move of the school from College Street to the current Independence Boulevard location. He remained the principal at CHS until 1975. After leaving the Montgomery County Schools, Ross spent several years completing his doctorate in Education Administration at Virginia Tech. He then continued his career in education with the Floyd County Schools, serving as a principal, administrative assistant and assistant superintendent before being named superintendent of the school division. He remained in that capacity until his retirement in 1993.

Mr. Ross served in the United States Army and spent 1954-1956 in Korea. He continued in the US Army Reserves until his retirement as a Colonel in 1993. He also served as Commander of American Legion Post 59 of Christiansburg.

Mr. Ross was a member of the Christiansburg Kiwanis Club and, along with Mr. Earp, was instrumental in building the Kiwanis Park.

While in retirement, Mr. Ross continued his coaching career, serving as assistant coach to both of his granddaughters’ soccer teams. In his first year of coaching soccer, Ross’ 6-year-old granddaughter’s team went undefeated.

Mr. Ross passed away on Oct. 5, 2019. His Emory & Henry legacy was carried on by his daughter, Lynn, who graduated from the College in 1982. Mr. Ross will be remembered as living his life to the betterment of the schools where he worked, the communities where he lived, and the lives of the students he touched.

“The King-Earp-Ross Memorial Endowed Scholarship recognizes and honors the memories of these three exceptional Emory & Henry graduates who worked for many years in the Montgomery County (Virginia) School System, each serving faithfully as principal of Christiansburg High School at some point in their careers”
-President John W. Wells

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/276-deadline-extended-until-march-1-for-swva-lift"><picture class="lw_image"><source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1200,800/2658_Lift-SWVA.jpg.rev.1518186593.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1200,800/2658_Lift-SWVA.jpg.rev.1518186593.webp 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1200,800/2658_Lift-SWVA.jpg.rev.1518186593.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1200,800/2658_Lift-SWVA.jpg.rev.1518186593.jpg 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><img src="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1200,800/2658_Lift-SWVA.jpg.rev.1518186593.jpg" alt="A map shows the counties, cities and towns covered by the SWVA Lift program." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1200,800/2658_Lift-SWVA.jpg.rev.1518186593.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1200,800/2658_Lift-SWVA.jpg.rev.1518186593.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1200" data-max-h="800" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/276-deadline-extended-until-march-1-for-swva-lift">Deadline Extended Until March 1 for SWVA Lift</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><p> Emory & Henry College, exit 26 off I-81 in Emory, Va., has extended the deadline for its SWVA Lift initiative until March 1. The program helps make a top liberal arts education affordable for need-based students across Southwest Virginia at Emory & Henry.</p><a href="/live/news/276-deadline-extended-until-march-1-for-swva-lift" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/668-emory-henry-announces-new-rn-to-bsn-program"><picture class="lw_image"><source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.webp 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.jpg 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><img src="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.jpg" alt="Students at the School of Health Sciences campus in Marion, Va. Applications are now being accepted for the RN to BSN program. Apply now." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1011,0,3148,2136/5941_RN-BSN-54.rev.1549910260.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2137" data-max-h="2136" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/668-emory-henry-announces-new-rn-to-bsn-program">Emory & Henry Announces New RN to BSN Program</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Due to an ever-demanding increased need for nurses in the region, Emory & Henry College has established its first-ever RN to BSN program and is now enrolling students to start classes this fall. <a href="/live/news/668-emory-henry-announces-new-rn-to-bsn-program" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/313-eamphs-wehc-launches-spring-fund-drive"><picture class="lw_image"><source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3409_Sam-Mungai-February-2018-IMG003.rev.1519990134.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3409_Sam-Mungai-February-2018-IMG003.rev.1519990134.webp 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3409_Sam-Mungai-February-2018-IMG003.rev.1519990134.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3409_Sam-Mungai-February-2018-IMG003.rev.1519990134.jpg 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><img src="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3409_Sam-Mungai-February-2018-IMG003.rev.1519990134.jpg" alt="Student Sam Mungai hosts a weekly call-in music request radio show on WEHC 90.7FM." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3409_Sam-Mungai-February-2018-IMG003.rev.1519990134.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3409_Sam-Mungai-February-2018-IMG003.rev.1519990134.jpg 3x" data-max-w="3200" data-max-h="2133" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/313-eamphs-wehc-launches-spring-fund-drive">E&H’s WEHC Launches Spring Fund Drive</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> WEHC 90.7, Emory & Henry College’s “College and Community Station,” has launched it spring fund drive. Between now and March 9 the station is planning to raise a good share of its annual fundraising goal. <a href="/live/news/313-eamphs-wehc-launches-spring-fund-drive" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/717-emory-henry-college-holds-mid-appalachian"><picture class="lw_image"><source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/921,0,3059,2136/6043_Mid-Appalachian_Higher_Ed_Summit.rev.1551899402.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/921,0,3059,2136/6043_Mid-Appalachian_Higher_Ed_Summit.rev.1551899402.webp 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/921,0,3059,2136/6043_Mid-Appalachian_Higher_Ed_Summit.rev.1551899402.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/921,0,3059,2136/6043_Mid-Appalachian_Higher_Ed_Summit.rev.1551899402.jpg 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><img src="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/921,0,3059,2136/6043_Mid-Appalachian_Higher_Ed_Summit.rev.1551899402.jpg" alt="From left to right: Moderator Dr. Michael Puglisi of Emory & Henry College, Dr. Dean Sprinkle, President of Wytheville Community Coll..." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/921,0,3059,2136/6043_Mid-Appalachian_Higher_Ed_Summit.rev.1551899402.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/921,0,3059,2136/6043_Mid-Appalachian_Higher_Ed_Summit.rev.1551899402.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2138" data-max-h="2136" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/717-emory-henry-college-holds-mid-appalachian">Emory & Henry College holds Mid-Appalachian Higher Ed Summit</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> For the first time in the Mid-Appalachian region, leaders of nine higher education institutions gathered to look at the state of higher education, demographic and economic trends, and workforce and career development needs in the region. <a href="/live/news/717-emory-henry-college-holds-mid-appalachian" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/280-emory-henry-college-opens-interfaith-prayer"><picture class="lw_image"><source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.webp 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.jpg 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><img src="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.jpg" alt="Student Safa Farhoumand helps dedicate the Interfaith Prayer Room." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/3171_InterfaithPrayerRoom16_2.rev.1518211260.jpg 3x" data-max-w="3200" data-max-h="2133" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/280-emory-henry-college-opens-interfaith-prayer">Emory & Henry College Opens Interfaith Prayer Room</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><p> Equipped with chairs, tables, prayer rugs and religious texts, a room in the lower-level of Memorial Chapel on the Emory & Henry College campus is now available for students of all faiths to have a quiet place to pray and meditate.</p><a href="/live/news/280-emory-henry-college-opens-interfaith-prayer" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>