The Salem Education Foundation honored seven local students and two teachers of the year Monday night, awarding more than $15,000 in scholarships.
The foundation - formed in December 1999 by the Salem Ruritan Club with an initial donation from C.F. Yates for $3,000 - is constantly looking for donations or students to help with scholarships and endowments. Over 20 years the foundation has paid out $251,374.26 through scholarships for students from Culpeper County and Rappahannock County.
The SEF has awarded $152,450.70 in scholarships through 2018, with another $75,000 paid out for the Phoenix Fund - a scholarship used to send two students through college.
This year, Culpeper County Public School teacher of the year Nicole Harmon, an eighth grade science teacher at Culpeper Middle School, received a $2,000 scholarship.
“Over the time you work with them you start to see that while they have that stature of young adults, they are still kids at heart,” Harmon said. “To hear ‘Mrs. Harmon, thanks for taking the time to help me,’ and to realize it came from a 14-year-old boy, it’s kind of a big deal. Those are the moments that make me love it.”
Maria Lemus, a senior at Culpeper County High School, received the Gallow Criminal Justice scholarship of $2,000 to attend George Mason University.
She credited instructor Gary Close, a former Culpeper County Commonwealth’s Attorney, with sparking her interest in criminal justice.
Amber Miller received a $2,000 Billy Simms educational scholarship. She will attend Germanna Community College in the fall. She volunteered at the Culpeper County Library, assisted in setting up the Culpeper County art show and helped teach arts and crafts to preschoolers.
“I fell in love with teaching the kids this year,” Miller said.
CCHS senior Kendra Callahan received the “Big” Kenny Alphin music scholarship. Callahan, who has performed in numerous choirs and school musicals, will attend George Mason University in the fall.
“I have been in choir classes since elementary school and I just fell in love with singing and music,” she said. “Both of my parents are teachers and I just grew up around teaching and I just know that’s what I want to do.”
Makayla Jenkins, of CCHS, received the Bill Kyle Memorial Scholarship. A member of the Culpeper County Volunteer Rescue Squad as an EMT, she will attend Christopher Newport University in the fall.
“I love being an EMT so much I want to go to medical school,” Jenkins said. “Just seeing the things we see every day, but to me I see a lot of potential in growth of the emergency medical field and a lot of research that can be done.”
EVHS senior Rebecca Schulte received the Alphin Education Scholarship. She’s involved in FFA, the National Honor Society and National Art Society and will attend James Madison University.
“My teachers throughout my life and my school career have greatly inspired me to pursue education,” Schulte said. “They have made me who I am today and help me hone my skills and help me make an impact on future generations.”
CCHS senior William Jamison Jr. received a $1,500 scholarship. He’s active in basketball, coaching in the Medford Basketball League and volunteering at his church and local warming shelters.
Rappahannock County High School senior Macy Montgomery received a $2,000 scholarship for her efforts in spreading knowledge about Type I diabetes. After she was diagnosed with the disease, she distributed glucose gel packets to schools for students who may suffer from Type I diabetes.
“It was something I wanted to do since I was diagnosed because I wanted tell them if they need insulin and elevate your blood sugar, I provided the gel packets and educated teachers about it,” Montgomery said.
She will attend Liberty University in the fall studying biomedical sciences.
To give to the SEF, mail PO BOX 456, Culpeper, VA 22701.