By David Esteppe
On May 19, the Lewisburg Rotary Club recognized the achievements of eight graduating Greenbrier East High School seniors with $1,000 scholarships for each.
Our future leaders include: Joseph Sampson, who will study mathematics at West Virginia University; Sara Swann, who will major in journalism at Syracuse University; Diamond Sinclair, who will study health sciences at Marshall University; Abigail Reynolds, who will major in social work at Concord University; Courtney Buckmaster, who plans to study English at Marshall University; Victoria Krystynak, who will major in health sciences, and play softball for David and Elkins College; Linda Monti, who will study international relations at University of North Carolina – Charlotte; and Clarissa Riggleman, who plans to attend West Virginia Wesleyan College, and eventually the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.
The scholarship funding comes from Lewisburg Rotary’s charitable activities, including March Madness. The club continues to build an endowment for the scholarships, which was created in memory of the late Rotarian Fred Smith. The Fred Smith Scholarship Fund is managed by the Greenbrier Valley Community Foundation. The goal of the endowment is to be able to award the scholarships from the interest each year, without needing to use the principle.
Each year the Rotary Club receives between 25 and 40 applications for the scholarship. A committee winnows the selection down to about a dozen students based on both merit and need, with consideration given to student service to the community. An interview of the remaining applicants determines the eight recipients. Among the eight winners this year, some highlights include musicianship, sportsmanship and athletic achievement, a perfect 800 score on the math portion of the SAT, achievement in the arts and multitudes of community service club participation, which melds well with the Rotarian philosophy of “Service above one’s self.’’
Rotary has been distributing the scholarships for 28 years, and have awarded 148 students thus far. Five times in the past, an Outstanding Teacher Award has been given. During the course of identifying the scholarship winners, if a particular teacher’s name continues to come up as having been superbly instrumental in supporting student achievement, the scholarship committee deems it worthy of recognition. English and Journalism instructor, Barry Rich, was awarded $500 in winning the club’s Outstanding Teacher Award. Rich, upon receiving his award, spoke of being humbled and honored that his student’s appreciation helped affirm his chosen career path.