Earning scholarships and aiding the community

July 13, 2014

After graduating seniors at high schools in Washington and Greene counties pick up diplomas and begin preparing for their next adventures in life, we learn of scholarship awards and achievements that perhaps went unnoticed in many commencement stories.

It is not that these remarkable students’ accomplishments were ignored, but rather many were not brought to light until graduation was a distant memory.

In recent weeks, we were impressed to learn of a host of Greene County graduates who became recipients of some rather significant monetary help in the furtherance of their education.

But before we address that, there was one story that particularly caught our attention, and it speaks volumes about the character of one local teen.

Stephanie Mitchell is the current Miss Rain Day and is required to do one service project as part of her reign. Service projects can carry wide-ranging definitions, so we were quite surprised when this 17-year-old chose to walk to raise support and awareness for wounded service members.

Mitchell said she wanted to give back to our nation’s armed forces, the few who fight to protect the freedom of this great country. “Oftentimes, many of these inspiring individuals come home with wounds you can (see) and sometimes can’t see, like combat stress and depression. Because they’ve risked everything for us, I’m committed to raising awareness and funds for these wounded service members and their families.”

Her walk was held this past Saturday and we hope many people turned out and she raised a hefty sum of money.

For Mitchell to embrace such an important mission is commendable. But when we learned she has two cousins serving in the military, one deployed to Afghanistan and the other stationed in Germany, we clearly understood why she chose this project. It was personal.

Mitchell, who will be a senior this fall at Carmichaels Junior-Senior High School, set a high bar for the young people of Greene County. But she is far from alone when it comes to wanting to help others.

Consider two recent graduates of West Greene High School, Katelynn Finnegan and Jonathan Coote, both of whom were awarded $1,000 scholarships by the Rotary Club of Waynesburg. Their selection was based on an essay about what “Service Above Self,” the Rotary motto, meant to them, as well as demonstrating leadership in the community through their actions.

Undoubtedly, both of these recent graduates performed well scholastically, but what they did outside of the classroom, through their community service, is what we find noteworthy. We would expect when one volunteers for blood drives, Toys for Tots and becoming a volunteer firefighter, and the other provides groups, such as the elderly and disabled, with music therapy, they both embarked on this “service above self” not expecting to win Rotary scholarships.

They did it because they thought it was the right thing to do, just like Mitchell.

And, we also would like to acknowledge four recent graduates who each received $2,000 from the Greene County Memorial Hospital Foundation, in part because of their academic achievements, but also because each intends to pursue a career in health care. The recipients were Kaylee Boosel from Carmichaels School District; Jenna Hellen from Jefferson-Morgan School District, Kyle McIntire from Southeastern Greene School District and Courtney Patterson from Central Greene School District.

We apologize for not being able to single out every student rewarded for their achievements and successes. There are many and we wish them all great success.



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