Rotary awards $41,000 in Scholarships

22 students from area schools receive 2024 awards

HIGHLANDS – The Rotary Club held their annual Scholarship Banquet last Monday night, May 6th, and awarded 22 scholarships totalling $41,000. This exceeded the totals for the last few years, an accomplishment for the club and the community which supports the yearly Chili Feast.

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

The emcee for the evening was the club president, Denise Smith, and the Scholarship program proceeded under the direction of scholarship committee chair Dr. Larry White, with the aide of president elect GayLynn Milliorn.

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 $6000,000 in scholarships to college bound students. Awards are from $1500 to $2500 per school year.

The Scholarship committee had a large field of 59 applications to review. The Review Committee consisted of 8 Highlands Rotarians, with Dr. Larry White as chair. Committee members included Rotarians Denise Smith, Robert Woodall, Diana Weaver, Cora Lynn , Sheila MacDonald, Patricia Scott, Larry White, and Gaylynn Milliorn.

Dr. White explained that they were evaluated on grades, an essay, extra curricular activities, and recommendations. At the banquet, scholarships were presented by Denise Smith and Gaylynn Milliorn, with special presenters for the named scholarships.

Scholarship Awards this year went to the following:

From Goose Creek Memorial High School:

–Veda Fleming
–Swayam Gupta
–Delyla Mayfield
–Viridiana Nunez
–Justin Pham
–Simram Singh

From Chinquapin Preparatory School:

— Julia Cepeda
–Hannah Corral
–Betsaida Trujillo

From Crosby High School:

–Paola Davila
–Ayden Edwards
–Kaylie Hill

College Students:

–Austin Martinez
–Jackie Ponder

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 Weston Cotten to Hunter Teel of GCM;

R.L. Creel Scholarship, presented by Weston Cotten to Madisyn Allen of Lee College;

Dr. W.L. & Nell Herndon Scholarship, presented by Patricia Scott to Alberto Ortegon of GCM;

Jay E. Bird Scholarships, presented by Elaine Bird Marshal to Aubrey Bird of GCM; and presented by Dr. Larry White to Maya Campos of Chinquapin Prep;

Chester Stasney Scholarship, presented by his best friend Johnny Gaeke to Sydney Hale of Goose Creek Memorial High School; Chester passed away four 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 Natasha Kedzieski of Crosby High School.

Tony Irwin Scholarship, presented by Andy Scott to Amber Dillow of GCM.

The Rotary Club of Highlands, and president Denise Smith, say Congratulations to all!

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