The Rotary Club of St. Charles Parish awarded over $30,000 in college scholarships this year to ten graduating seniors from Hahnville and Destrehan High Schools, a feat that members said is made possible from community support.
Even though the traditional banquet honoring the students couldn’t be held due to coronavirus restrictions, the Rotary Club recently organized a drive-by celebration for the recipients. During the celebration, each recipient was given a yard sign to recognize their achievement.
“Under normal circumstances, we recognize our scholarship recipients at an annual banquet,” Scholarship Foundation President Eric Dishongh said. “However, due to covid-19, we decided to have a parade instead. Several Rotarians participated in the effort to still recognize our recipients with the hopes of making them feel as special as they truly are. We wish each of them the very best in all of their future endeavors.”
Kelsey Pollock, public relations chair for the Rotary Club of St. Charles Parish, said each year the club awards six academic scholarships. Those scholarships are worth $5,000 over four years.
Additionally, four one-year $1,000 vocational scholarships are awarded.
Pollock said all scholarship recipients have achieved higher than a 3.0 GPA and must have a strong grounding in serving the community.
“The selection committee factors in financial need, dedication to the community and strength of essay and interview in its deliberations,” Pollock said. “Students apply through the school system using the St. Charles Community Scholarship Application.”
All recipients must exemplify the idea of “Service above Self”, Pollock said, adding that to ensure transparency no recipient can be a child or grandchild of an active Rotarian.
The 2020 academic scholarship recipients include Tatum Dugas, Harley East, Megan Trahan, Luz Escobar, Rhaya Johnson and Brianna Rodgriguez.
Alexandra Aucoin, Paige Guilbeau, Andy Monterroso and Virginia Parnell are the 2020 Vocational Scholarship recipients.
“Even with challenges of covid-19, the scholarship foundation is in good shape financially,” Scholarship Foundation Secretary Fenwick Swan said. “The foundation’s prudent investment of funds raised from our community over the past forty years of the Alligator Festival means that we can fund all of our currently committed scholarships.”
Swan said one of Rotary International’s core areas of focus is basic education, and through the goodwill and donations from the community the Rotary Club of St. Charles Parish is fulfilling that objective.