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“Celebrating Our Scholars”

Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 10:01 am

Kristin Weaver, six others, receive STLS awards scholarship
The Southern Tennessee Ladies’ Society culminated this years’ mission by “Celebrating Our Scholars” with a Scholarship Awards Ceremony on May 2, at the Franklin County Country Club in Winchester. Seven scholarships were presented to students from Coffee, Franklin, Grundy, Lincoln and Moore counties. Through the success of its’ fundraising efforts this year, seven students were each awarded a $3,500 scholarship. STLS has awarded 42 scholarships since it started in 2009, presenting a total sum of $184,500.
The applicants honored with the 2018 STLS scholarships were Ellla Fanning from Tullahoma High School, Katy Hancock from Coffee County High School, Ethan Pfister from Franklin County High School, Landon C. Moye from Huntland High School, Kristin Weaver from Grundy County High School, Tate Stevenson from Lincoln County High School, and Erin Simmons from Moore County High School. The students were selected based upon several criteria including grades, school activities, community service, employment, financial need, personal recommendations, a written essay, and a personal interview with the scholarship committee members.
Samantha Donde, a graduate from Tullahoma High School and a 2017 scholarship recipient, was the keynote speaker during the awards program. She is studying at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a dual-major in Neuro-Science and Psychology and plans to dig into Forensics as a Medical Examiner. As an avid puzzle enthusiast, she will often put a puzzle together without looking at the picture. She compared the college experience to just that sort of analogy. “In high school, you are surrounded with family, friends, teachers and counselors but this college thing is no joke; it is rough. You no longer have that familiar network surrounding you. Everyone around you is working on their own puzzle, with very little instruction and they’re trying to find the right pieces to create their own picture.”
She continued to say though, that it is not impossible and to never give up on finding the right pieces that fit. It’s also important to enjoy the happy little things.
“You’ll never feel the same about a home-cooked meal, or spending time with your parents or friends at home.”
“This year, we received 163 applications,” said Cleijo Walker, chairwoman of the Scholarship Committee. “With so many talented students, the committee had a hard time narrowing down the award applicants to just one student from each high school in the five counties we represent.”
These young adults had high school resumes that boasted academic excellence not only in scholastic achievements but extensive leadership roles in extracurricular activities and community service. They are genuine role models to fellow students and the community at large. There was hardly a dry eye in the room as the students each spoke during the luncheon. Their sincere and heartfelt gratitude was expressed to self-less efforts of the women in the club for the scholarships. Each had their own story that showed how their lives were shaped by the love and support of family members, teachers, and friends. They all expressed lofty career goals and the recurring sentiment was the notion of being able to ‘Give-Back’ once they earned their respective degrees.
Looking forward
Katy plans to go into Nursing to be a Sonigrapher, Kristin will also pursue Radiological Science, Ethan is pursuing a Law degree, Tate is heading toward an Ivy League education and is likewise planning to become a corporate lawyer and own his own firm, Landon is planning on a career in Mechatronics which is mechanical engineering combined with robotics. Erin is pursuing International Business and Cultures, Ella will be pursuing a degree in Biomedical Engineering and plans to bring help and hope to people in third world countries with new technical developments.
Many of the students were very involved with their youth groups and have done several missionary trips in addition to countless hours spent in community service and career-oriented internship opportunities. Self-motivated, goal-oriented, over-achieving, driven, determined, caring, and inspiring are just a few words that can describe each of these fine young men and women. It’s hard to believe that each student has had the capacity to achieve so much in their young lives. Many have overcome adversities and hard life situations and have still be able to achieve much personal success. The STLS is very proud to present these fine students with the scholarships and the opportunity to realize their dreams by furthering their education. It is apparent that each will succeed in their future endeavors and continue to shine their lights brightly as they bring pride to their families and their communities.
Some of the students received Hope Scholarships and funds from the TN Promise, which is only applicable to attending community college or a technical school.
“The STLS Scholarship is placed in the student’s account at their respective school and will follow the student. It may be used for books, supplies, fees, etc. These expenses are typically not covered by the state-supported scholarships. If the student begins at a Community College and does not use all the money, then they may apply it to tuition or whatever when transferring to a 4-year university,” said Walker.
It’s very expensive these days to attend college and sometimes one book alone will cost over $ 200.
Tate Stevenson quoted Earl Nightingale to sum up his perspective on his life, “We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we’ve established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile.”
About STLS
The Southern Tennessee Ladies Society (STLS) is a not-for-profit association of women who are interested in social activity with other women in the community. They are women who want to make a difference in the lives of graduating high school seniors by awarding scholarships each year