The local chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America last week awarded three high school students scholarships to further their academic careers.
The students were chosen from Dawson County High School and Lumpkin County High School, and were judged by the contents of their applications as well as extracurricular activities.
Each student received a $1,000 scholarship funded by money raised by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 970.
Chosen from Dawson County High School was Sydney McGinnis, a senior who will be attending Alderson Broaddus University.
Among the many accolades that were read about McGinnis, her academic and extracurricular achievements were listed high. McGinnis has a 4.1 GPA, is a member of the National Beta Club and the Spanish National Honor Society, plays softball and track, was voted the Most Athletic senior and received a softball scholarship. McGinnis is also a four year member of the JROTC.
Donna Melton, one of McGinnis' teachers, wrote in a letter to the scholarship committee that McGinnis is "determined," "creative," "an outstanding student," "confident," "puts others needs before her own" and "is the definition of integrity."
McGinnis' goal is to attend medical school to become a trauma surgeon.
McGinnis' father is a U.S. Navy veteran.
"I just want to say thank you so much for this, it's an honor to even be considered and I am extremely grateful that you guys decided to select me as the one to receive this," McGinnis said.
From Lumpkin County High School, senior Emily Cooper was chosen and will be attending the University of North Georgia to study business.
A member of the National Honors Society, Cooper scored in the top 10 percent of her class for all four years at LCHS. Along with participating in the varsity swim team for four years, Cooper is a member of the Spanish National Honor Society, co-editor of the yearbook, president of the Future Business Leaders of America, president of the National Technical Honor Society and secretary of the National Beta Club.
On her application, Cooper wrote that she wants to change the world by helping those who cannot help themselves by making a difference in the business world.
Cooper's father is a U.S. Army Veteran.
"I just want to thank everyone here who helped put the funds together for this scholarship, it's a real honor to be able to win this award and I just want to thank you for helping me to further my education," Cooper said.
Also chosen from Dawson County High School was Junior ROTC student and senior Matthew Powell, who will be attending the University of North Georgia. Faculty advisor Sgt. Steve Pamplin selected Powell from among his JROTC students.
Pamplin said that he first met Powell when he was an excited eighth grader attending a Raiders meeting.
"He was telling me how he wanted to be in the JROTC the next year and how he wanted to be in Raiders... and this past year he was the commander of our Raider team," Pamplin said. "He's somebody that I know the younger cadets look up to, show respect to and he's been a real treat to have around in the program."
Powell was moved to tears after accepting his scholarship, as he talked about his late grandfather, who served in the U.S. Navy.
"He and I were very close," Powell said. "It's been about a year since he passed away...it's not easy. I think he'd be very proud of how far I've come and I know right now he is looking down at me saying ‘go Matthew.' He was a fantastic grandfather."