When Bert Bertelkamp, broadcaster for UT men's basketball and a 1976 Bearden graduate, wanted to fund a scholarship of some type for Bearden students, he met with school officials to brainstorm options. The resulting idea was to create a place at Bearden to give academic assistance to student athletes like the Thornton Center at the University of Tennessee.
Opening in 2011, the Bertelkamp Center for Academic Excellence is funded by an annual gift by the Bertelkamp family including Bert’s dad, Hank, and his sister, Lori (BHS Class of ’77). Its original focus was support for student-athletes struggling with their grades. As time passes, the center is evolving to offer tutoring, academic support and ACT preparation for all students at the school.
“We have tutors in the center for almost any subject,” former principal Dr. John Bartlett said. “If a kid needs tutoring and we can get them scheduled to come in the morning before school, then that’s what we do.”
Bearden is the first school in Knox County to implement such a center for their students and it demonstrates the kind of impact possible through creative thinking and the generosity of the Bearden community.
The Foundation concluded its 2017-18 Bearden Alumni Giving campaign in the winter with more than $6,000 raised for the school. Thank you to the many Bulldog alumni who contributed! If you are a Bearden alum and open to the idea of making a lasting difference in the lives of Bearden students, please contact the Bearden Foundation.