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News Community Rotary Club of Franklin announces winners of scholarships

Pictured are this year’s Rotary Club scholarship winners (L-R) Martin Lenski, who was granted a $3,000 renewable scholarship; and the one time $1,000 recipients, Hayley Oosthuysen, Mary Parrish, Erich Baker and Jennifer Richter. Contributed photoOn Wednesday, June 8, the Rotary Club of Franklin held its annual scholarship program, at which five outstanding Franklin High School graduates were awarded academic scholarships, including the Roy Rickman Scholarship.

This year, Martin Lenski was the recipient of the 2011 Roy Rickman Scholarship and will attend North Carolina State University majoring in engineering. He is active in Interact, Math Club, National Honors Society, Track Team and Cross Country. Lenski received the $3,000 renewable scholarship.

“It’s really a blessing,” said Lenski of the award, thanking the Rotary club. “This really puts me on the right track to graduate debt free, which is a rare thing to happen in this country, especially in these hard times,” He noted that the average student debt upon graduation is more than $20,000.

Jennifer Richter is headed to UNC Chapel Hill to study biology. At Franklin High School, Richter has been active in the Interact club, the National Honor Society, Math Club, Art Club, Student Council, cross country and swimming. Richter received a one-time scholarship of $1,000.

Mary Parrish, who will go to the Art Institute of Maryland, participated in Interact, Art Club, Spanish Club, National Honor Society, the B-Naturals Acapella group and soccer. Parrish received a one-time $1,000 scholarship.

Hayley Oosthuysen will attend the University of North Carolina Greensboro in the fall. Oosthuysen is active in the People-to-People Ambassador Program. She is a State Governor’s School nominee, participated in Interact, Art Club, French Club, Secretary of the National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, varsity swimming, and is a dance choreographer. Oosthuysen received a one-time $1,000 scholarship.

Erich Baker will attend Davidson College in the fall, where he will major in chemistry or biology. He is active in the National Honor Society, Student Council, Interact, Math Club, Music Honors Society, Marching Band, Concert Band, and Jazz Band, and he competed on the swim team. Baker received a one-time $1,000 scholarship.

Two past winners of the Roy Rickman Scholarship who attended ceremony offered their encouragement and advice to the new winners.

Jordan Ridao, the 2010 winner, is currently completing her freshman year at the University of Wilmington. Ridao reported that her first year at Wilmington had been inspiring. “Everyday constantly increases my eagerness to learn,” she said, thanking Rotary for the scholarship and opportunity to study at the university.

Thomas Shepherd, another previous winner, is now a rising senior at Western Carolina University, majoring in English Education. Shepherd also thanked Rotary for the opportunity that the scholarship gave him to focus on his studies and academic work.

“It was because of your generosity that I have been able to do so well,” Shepherd said, who is a member of WCU’s Honors College and the English honors society, Sigma Tau Delta. “Don’t think of a scholarship only as financial aid,” Shepherd advised the new scholarship winners. “Look at it more as an opportunity to have the time to do more at school, in your life, and, as Rotary is an example, in your own local community.”

Franklin High School principal, Chris Baldwin, and guidance counselor, Kathy Breedlove, attended the ceremony, as well as Macon County Schools superintendent, Dan Brigman.

Baldwin thanked the club for the good will and friendship extended to the school through its scholarship program. He noted that the Rotary scholarship program is the largest scholarship sponsor at the school and has offered the five scholarships for the past several years.

“These students worked extremely hard and were highly motivated to be selected as recipients of these scholarships,” he said. “Our community benefits from these scholarships too because many of our students that receive these awards are first generation college students, and without that assistance they wouldn’t be able to attend a four-year school or university.”

According to rotarian Gary Dills, the scholarship program, which began in 1975, has to date given just over $300,000 to approximately 100 students. On the July 30, the Franklin Rotary Club will hold its annual raffle to raise funds for next year’s scholarship awards. The event will kick off at 6 p.m. at Mountain View Intermediate School.


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