Local News

May 25, 2014

Rotary scholarships recognize outstanding students

— “If all the young people in our community were like this group, we would be in excellent hands for the future,” said Jonathan Bledsoe, chair of the Rotary Club of Dalton’s scholarship committee.

 He also commended educators and parents for the part they play in educating and encouraging our youth in good work ethics and determination. Hearing about the accomplishments of these students impressed Rotarians with the dedication of the students and the quality of the school systems.

Rotarian Barbara Ward introduced the winners of the scholarships for younger high school students to the Rotary Youth Leadership Camp in June at Tallulah Falls School. The recipients were Autumn Lankford, a sophomore at Northwest Whitfield High School; Mary Elizabeth “Liz” Cloud, a junior at Dalton High School; Zachary Williams, a sophomore at Coahulla Creek High School; and Jay Tripp, a sophomore at Dalton High. Clound and Tripp are co-presidents of the Interact Club at Dalton High.

For more than 30 years, this Rotary Club has recognized outstanding area high school seniors with scholarships. This year’s group of 24 will be recognized with a total of $12,500 in scholarships and awards.

This year students were recognized in four categories: Career Technology, Humanities, Math/Science and Service with each receiving scholarship checks for $500.

Outstanding Mathematics/Science students:

• Anthony “Rhett” Harper, Southeast Whitfield, GPA of 4.0, a Georgia Certificate of Merit Scholar, 95-plus in all core classes and excelled in AP and honors classes; all-area and all-region football, basketball and baseball teams for four years; volunteers with Miracle Field and Special Olympics; to attend Georgia State University to study education and become a teacher and baseball coach.

• Amanda Pham, Dalton, 4.0 GPA, a 31 on math portion of the ACT, has excelled in AP and IB courses and has been a top 10 student for three consecutive years; serves in several clubs, volunteers in a wide variety of ways and is a scholar athlete; to attend University of Georgia to major in cellular biology on a pre-med track.

• Samantha Vazques-Lopez, Coahulla Creek, a 4.0 GPA and excelled in honors and AP Classes; was an officer in many clubs and societies; volunteers as a fundraiser and toy drive organizer among others, and works part time; to attend Kennesaw State University with a goal of pharmacy school.

• James Ziangyu Zhong, Northwest Whitfield, a 4.0 GPA, a perfect 36 on the math portion of ACT; scored a 5 on calculus, statistics and physics AP tests; member of varsity swim, tennis and math teams; is the school chorus piano accompanist; volunteers and participates in several clubs; to attend Georgia Institute of Technology in biomedical engineering.

Outstanding Humanities students:

• Erin Farmer, Dalton, a 4.0 GPA, scored 800 on the writing portion of the SAT, a top 10 student for all four years, excelled in AP and IB courses; was active in the arts as an actor, choreographer, writer, organizer, emcee, producer, a member of the International Thespian Society and has dedicated more than 1500 hours to theatrical pursuits; member of several clubs, volunteers with tutoring school children as well as theater work; will attend Wake Forest University to double major in theatre and psychology.

• Sarah Kate Gossett, Coahulla Creek, a 3.98 GPA, a member of many clubs, Georgia Certificate of Merit and the top student award of excellence in biology, literature, composition and history; is the drum major for the band with awards as the most outstanding woodwind band student; participates in drama performances; volunteers in medical, church, drama and youth areas; was a teacher’s assistant in a kindergarten class; her goal is medical to become a psychiatrist.

• Matthew Pipkin, Northwest Whitfield, GPA of 3.955, academic bars for A averages,  received a Georgia Certificate of Merit; officer of several clubs including National Honor Society and GCA; varsity swim team (state qualifier for three years) and Carpet Capital Aquatics Club; volunteers at several nonprofits; will attend the University of Georgia for a degree in physics.

• Olivia Taylor, Southeast Whitfield, 4.0 GPa, STAR Student for Whitfield County Schools, UGA One Scholarship Questbridge finalist, Georgia Certificate of Merit, Governor’s honors, 95-plus in every academic subject; participates in many clubs and volunteers at her church in children’s activities; to attend the University of Georgia to major in microbiology to be a science teacher.

Outstanding Career Technology Students:

• Desiree Anderson, Southeast Whitfield, GPA of 4.0; a Skills USA officer and participates in Big Brothers Big Sisters Buddy program, National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society, the recipient of honors in Spanish; volunteers at United Way and other mentoring activities at schools; will attend Dalton State College for a career in early childhood education.

• Kaige Dodson, Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy, placed first in the regional culinary competition and received a bronze medal in the state competition; received the outstanding leadership award; participates in the yearbook staff, the photography book staff and is president of FCCLA; will pursue a career in culinary arts, teaching and photography.

• Jonathan D. Griggs, Morris Innovative High School, a dual-enrollment student with Georgia Northwestern where he is pursuing an associate’s degree in computer support specialist in computer information systems; has volunteered more than 350 hours at Hamilton Medical Center. He will then attend Dalton State College for a four-year technology degree and a career in the technology field.

• Nicholas Nelson, Dalton, a Governor’s Honors nominee, excels in AP classes, president of the Technology Students Association; was second in the Georgia State finals in vex robotics, is a certified biological and chemical stream monitor (the youngest to earn this certification in Georgia); participates in clubs and the tennis team; volunteers especially in environmental restoration projects; has interned at Dalton Utilities. Will pursue a career in electrical engineering.

• Dylan Richards, Northwest Whitfield, participated in Skills USA Career and Technical student organization competitions, was second in woodworking and carpentry at state competitions, is a member of several clubs, won the coach’s award in cross country, track and basketball, has enlisted in the Army National Guard and will get basic combat training at Fort Benning, followed by the University of North Georgia with a goal of getting a commission as an officer into the National Guard.

• Eric C. Zock, Coahulla Creek High, a marching band member and percussion captain for three years; is the co-founder of the Coahulla Creek Student Spirit Club and the Ping Pong Club; was the FBLA president; on the swim and track and field teams; was awarded Most Outstanding Male Technology Student for four years; Prom King; has excelled in broadcasting; will attend Gwinnett College, then UGA for a career in professional broadcasting.

Outstanding Service Awards:

• Kayla Bell, Morris Innovative, received the top five freshman award and awards in physical science, overall math II, and overall English II and Summer honors; participated in cheerleading, student government; is licensed in CPR and first aid; volunteers at health fairs, blood drives, at the hospital and recruitment efforts; plans to attend the University of North Georgia to study nursing.

• Hannah Hutchinson, Northwest Whitfield, 3.8 GPA and excels in AP and honors courses, UGA Certificate of Merit, Ronald Reagan Student Leadership Award; member of the district honor band; member of National Honor Society; participated as a scholar athlete in cross country, track and field, dance, swimming and diving; has volunteered more than 200 hours at Heartland Ranch in Ringgold working with disabled children using horse therapy; also volunteers in FCA and her church youth group. Will attend University of North Georgia to major in physical therapy.

• Silvia Moreno, Dalton, a member of several clubs and volunteers expansively with United Way, Mack Gaston Community Center, Junior Achievment, City of Refuge, Salvation Army and Greater Works, among others; documenting 342 hours of community service with JROTC in two years; she also  holds a leadership role in JROTC. She will be the first of her family to graduate from high school and plans to attend Dalton State College to major in nursing.

• Daisy Maya, Southeast Whitfield, has documented 656 volunteer hours in 2013 alone with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Greater Works and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church; Raider Nation food collection and distribution; member of DECA, FFCLA and SkillsUSA clubs, and the tennis team. She plans to attend Dalton State College to pursue a career as a nurse practitioner.

• Yuleika Nunez, Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy, a 3.7 GPA, member of student government, prom committee and emerging leaders; volunteers with Blood Assurance. She is interested in international relations, law, politics and business and wants to focus these interests into a career to help others.

• Alexandria Wilbanks, Coahulla Creek, received the English, math, history and national history awards; was president in student government; a member of several clubs, the tennis team and is active in chorus and drama; has been involved in community service as a role model to underclassmen. Will attend the University of North Georgia to pursue a degree in nursing.

Four Outstanding Area Students

These students were nominated by faculty of the various schools and were asked to provide a portfolio of their activities including an essay describing the opportunities available in the greater Dalton area and what contributions could be made to improve and strengthen our community. Each participated in a interview with the selection committee. Each received a $500 scholarship and the overall winner, Luis Rosales, received a $1,000 scholarship.

• Rosales, Dalton, maintained all As in high school in almost all AP and IB courses; recipient of the Rotary Youth Leadership Award; an AP Scholar with Honors, in the top 10 of his class for all four years; attended the Governor’s Honors in chemistry and social studies; a member of Beta Club and student council; an athlete in tennis, captain of the varsity swim team and was on the 2013 state championship swim team; a member of the water polo team; volunteers with United Way buddy program and is a DEM camp volunteer; active with St. Joseph’s Catholic Church youth group; was commended for a research study. Rosales came to the United States from Venezuela at age 7 and has taken advantage of community opportunities that value education and athletics. He will attend University of Notre Dame to study chemical engineering and business. He wants to return to Dalton because “It has made too much of an impact on me for me not to come back and imprint my own legacy here and made a positive change.”

• Macie Maret, Northwest Whitfield, has a 4.0 GPA in AP courses and was the recipient of Georgia Certificate of Merit and Scholar Athlete award. She received outstanding band awards and attended District Honor Band and Georgia Girls State. She is a member of several clubs, has participated in marching band and wind ensemble and is on the swim and track and field teams; she is active in youth group, plays in the hand bell choir, participated in mission projects and other activities at her church. She volunteers with City of Refuge, Operation Christmas Child, Leukemia Lymphoma Society, Pennies for Patients and tutoring programs. She is described as a pleasure to teach with her positive and respectful attitude. Maret wrote about overcoming adversity and maintaining her ambitions with a positive attitude. She plans to attend University of North Georgia to pursue a degree in pharmacy.

• Julie Stafford, Southeast Whitfield, maintained a 4.0 GPA with honors and AP courses; she earned academic awards in honors courses in world literature, composition, world history, biology, American government, economics, American literature, Spanish, and AP courses in U.S. history, language, math, physics and psychology. She has been on the highest honor roll for four years, was a nominee for the U.S. Senate youth program, received the Georgia Certificate of Merit and won awards in digital storytelling, applied technology and future career and community leaders. She was in several clubs, a member of the junior varsity basketball team and is active in her church in the choir, youth praise and worship band, youth group, mission team and volunteer. Teachers describe her as “trustworthy, dependable and energetic, exhibiting professionalism each day in the classroom and on campus.” Her essay described her motivation to serve and care for her community. Stafford plans to attend Lee University to pursue nursing.

• Hannah Yarbrough, Coahulla Creek, maintained a 4.0 GPA with a chanlenging course load; received the Georgia Certificate of Merit and departmental awards for math, U.S. history and Spanish. She lettered in track, was prom queen and vice president of her senior class, a member of Beta Club, National Honor Society, Girls State and North Georgia Summer Honors, a member of the delegation at a leadership conference with Congressman Tom Graves, devotes time to Special Olympics and the buddy program. Her teachers describe her as “capable, focused, accomplished and an inspiration to her peers and a focus of pride of the Coahulla Creek faculty, a true leader.” Her essay detailed her desire to major in biology as a foundation for medical school at the University of Georgia.

The Rotary Club of Dalton will continue to recognize and encourage students who excel so that they can pursue their academic and service dreams.

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