The cost of college tuition for five high school students now is a bit less daunting as they each received $1,000 scholarships from The Villages’ Marine Corps League Detachment at a special presentation this week at the Bacall Recreation Center.
“The award is unique since it is about leadership. If there’s one thing Marines appreciate, it’s a good leader,” explained Fred Geier, the event chairman. “This gives us the opportunity to select recipients based on merit other than just scholastic average. We are looking for that ‘diamond-in-the-rough’ who has demonstrated the potential leadership qualities to become a great leader.”
The scholarship competition was opened to seniors at The Villages High School as well as family members of Detachment members. They were invited to submit an essay on ‘why leadership is an important trait in high school.’ The Detachment’s board made the collective decision, as well as determined the number of scholarships and the dollar amount to be awarded.”
This year, 26 applications were received. Four of those honored are from The Villages High School: Rachel Burress, Spencer Lawson, Tiffany Liu and Nicole Pouilin. A fifth student, Darby Frederiksen, is studying in Beijing, China.
The scholarship program started in 2007, and is funded by the Marines’ annual Couples’ Night Golf Tournament.
“This is another opportunity for members of the Phillip C. Delong Detachment to demonstrate our support of various charitable organizations as well as our involvement in the community,” said Geier, who has led the Scholarship initiative since its inception.
The Marines now have awarded a total of $53,930 to 58 recipients.
“This year’s applicants are exceptional,” he told the Villages-News. “These young adults have demonstrated outstanding leadership skills, and reflect great credit on their families and classmates. They will go on and represent our communities as future leaders.”
Award recipient Rachel Burress told the Villages-News, “My grandfather was a Marine, so this recognition is extra special. We had to write about personal experiences and also select someone who exemplified the qualities of leadership. I chose Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl, who even after she was shot by the Taliban, continued to fight for what she believed in.”