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Rotary awards $ 32,000 in Scholarships

SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS AT LAST WEEK’S AWARDS BANQUET. AT CENTER IS THE KEYNOTE SPEAKER, DR. LYNDA VALLENUEVA, PRESIDENT OF LEE COLLEGE, AND AT LEFT IS GAYLYNN MILLIORN, CHAIRPERSON OF THE SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE AND EMCEE FOR THE EVENING.

18 students from area schools

HIGHLANDS – The Rotary Club held their annual Scholarship Banquet last Monday night, May 9th, and awarded 18 scholarships totaling $32,000.

The venue of the Highlands Community Center was festive and full with scholarship recipients, family and friends, and Rotarians and their families.

The featured keynote speaker was Lee College president Dr. Lynda Villanueva, who spoke about how she developed a passion for learning, with the help of mentors and teachers that believed in her ability to “be more than I could be.” She counseled the scholarship recipients to find a mentor that believes in them and challenges them to succeed. And then give back in turn, leading others.

The scholarships are a result of the funds raised primarily at the club’s Annual Chili Feast in February. At this event, a new vehicle is raffled off to a $100 ticket holder, along with 13 other prizes, and the net proceeds are used for the scholarships and other community projects.

Over the years, these projects have included supporting such groups as the Bay Area Homeless, Baytown Youth Fair, Bras for the Cause, Cody Stephens Foundation, Crosby Fair & Rodeo, Highlands Food Pantry, Harris County Stratford Library, Harris County Seniors program, Highlands Horizons Miss Highlands Pageant, Highlands Little League, Highlands Volunteer Fire Department, Hurricane Relief, Methodist Church, North Shore Rotary, Partners in Education, Share Your Christmas, Stratford Library Summer Reading Program, Community Tree Lighting ceremony, Wreaths Across America,  Thanksgiving Turkeys for needy families, and Precinct2gether, as well as many other projects.

The club estimates that since it started awarding scholarships, it has given out over $500,000 in scholarships to college bound students. Awards are from $1500 to $2500 per school year.

The Scholarship committee that reviewed the 36 applications consisted of 7 Rotarians, with Dr. Larry White as chair. At the banquet, scholarships were presented by Gaylynn Milliorn and Diana Weaver.

Scholarship Awards this year went to the following:

From Goose Creek Memorial High School:

— Madisyn Allen
— Delilah Cancino
— Daniel Li
— Mindy Perez
— Jackie Ponder
— Anushka Ranjan

From Impact Early College High School:

— Yaretmy Trejo

From Crosby High School (In Memory of Tony Irwin):

— Nayla Hernandez
— Lillian Leman

College Students:

— Isaiah Cavazos, TAMU
— Samantha Hillier, TAMU
— Tanishqa Kharat, UT
— Joshua Protain, TAMU

Named scholarships are in honor of Highlands Rotarians who contributed to the club and the community, and that have passed away. They are presented by a person who was best friends or family to the Rotarian that is being honored.

This year, the following special named Scholarships were:

Beverly Culbreath Scholarship, presented by Johnny Gaeke to Scoutt White of Dayton High School;

W.L. Herndon DDS Scholarship, presented to Morgan Forsyth of Sam Houston State University;

Jay E. Bird Scholarship, presented by Weston Cotten to Ysabella Argueta of Chinquapin Prep School;

Chester Stasney Scholarship, presented by his best friend Johnny Gaeke and his widow Marie Stasney, to Jennifer Staley of Goose Creek Memorial High School; Chester passed away two years ago, but he was known for his famous Chili recipe that is served annually at the club’s Chili Feast. This honor has passed to the presenter, Johnny Gaeke.

Pat McPhee Scholarship, presented by his widow Barbara McPhee to Nathan Cavazos of Crosby High School.

The Rotary Club of Highlands, and president Jerry Fallin, say Congratulations to all!