Thirty-eight local high school seniors received $500 college scholarships Monday night during the Harrison County Student Achievement Program's annual banquet at Robert C. Byrd High School.
"When I graduated from Bridgeport High School, we didn't have a program like this. It's a nice little boost for the kids who are getting ready to start their college careers," said Dan Cooper of Steptoe & Johnson.
Cooper serves on the program's fund-raising committee. This year 38 businesses provided the $500 scholarships, and 40 other businesses and individuals also contributed to the county-wide scholarship program.
"Once you explain what we are trying to do, people want to give to the scholarship program. There are a lot of organizations out there asking for money, but none like this that allow you to give locally and to see the results," Cooper said.
According to Cheryl Bell Crowley, secretary for the organization, the Harrison County Student Achievement Program began as an idea eight years ago with a committee of 15 people. The committee was made up of school administrators, teachers, business people, parents and community members.
"We wanted to find some way to motivate our children academically and to provide recognition for them from the community. This program allows us to do that," Crowley said.
Each year the banquet's keynote speaker is a successful Harrison County alumnus. This year's speaker was Dr. Matt Etem Kalaycioglu, a Lincoln County High School graduate who specializes in treating leukemia patients at the Cleveland Clinic.
"If you had told me that this would happen when I was a senior in high school, I would not have believed you," he told the audience.
Kalaycioglu told the high school students that he was an average high school and college student, and did nothing spectacular in medical school. He finally found what he wanted to do while serving a fellowship in Cleveland _ to become an expert in the field of leukemia treatment.
He explained that success on a scale that affects society happens only to a small number of people, but everyone can achieve success on a different level, a personal level, by finding what they want to do and doing that well.
"The thing I'm most proud of are my wife and my children. That's where my real success lies," he said.
After the recognition of this year's valedictorians and salutatorians from the county's six high schools, the following 38 students received scholarships:
Bridgeport High School -Sabrina Anderson, Jennifer Frenzel, Amelia Hayes, Brian Meredith, Susan Murray, Michael Oliverio, Bert Shen, Stephanie Shriver, Jenney Springer, Natalie Stout, Andrea Vecchio and Ashley Wilson.
Liberty High School - Amy Ayoob, Amy Bland, Nicole Daquilante, Rebecca Davis, Audra Hamrick, Sara Lechner, Maura Nelan, Elizabeth Post, Kara Rawlings, Jana Ross and Monica Tanzey.
Robert C. Byrd High School - Evan Betler, Abigale Caplan, Leslie Critchfield, Carrie DeFazio, Anthony GianThiSarah Cochran, Eli Fleece, John Mihelic, Julie Mike and Shannan Wyke.
South Harrison High School _ Joshua Doak.
Notre Dame High School _ Evan Kupec, Michael Nicholas and Tina Oliverio.