RACINE — Scholarships totaling $20,600 were presented to Southern Local High School graduates during a banquet in their honor at the Racine Racine Baptist Church Annex last week. The Racine Area Community Organization (RACO) arranged the banquet and awards ceremony for the recipients and their families.
The program began with Melanie Weese acknowledging volunteers for their fund raising efforts that make the RACO scholarships possible, and said, “We all work together for a common goal. It is wonderful to see the community coming together to provide scholarships to our local graduates.”
Legina Hart Hill recounted her mother’s idea to fund the RACO program with community yard sales, and encouraged others to start their own scholarships as part of the effort to reward students for their academic achievements.
“When my mom had an idea, it happened. She was a very strong, independent, forward thinking woman, who left a legacy with her efforts of establishing and funding a scholarship program for Southern graduates. She always said, ‘Do Something!’”
The Jim Adams Memorial Scholarship was established by his wife Carol Jean Adams as a way to honor his way of instilling responsibility, good decision-making, fairness, and “being a nice guy” in those around him.
Adams was principle of Southern Local High School for 20 years. During the summer, he was a farmer, and hired many of his students to work on his farm.
“He instilled good values, he would never ask anyone to do something he wouldn’t do himself,” Jean said of her husband. “That’s just the way he was.”
Southern Enginuity Scholarship is specifically earmarked for a student going into the field of engineering. A 2007 Southern graduate, Jacob Hunter went on to earn a degree in Civil Engineering, and stated he created the scholarship way of giving back to the community.
Former students who wanted to honor her influence on their lives and those of others created the Vinas Lee Scholarship. Lee was Southern English, business and typing teacher, who began the area’s head start program after she retired.
Her daughter Jan Hill started the Jean Alkire Memorial Scholarship. Alkire’s years of teaching included second and third grades at Letart Falls Elementary, and kindergarten at Southern.
Dr. Melanie Weese established the Carl B. Weese Memorial Scholarship in honor of her grandfather. Carl Weese had a long teaching career, and is best know in the area as a Southern history and government teacher.
The Kathryn Hart Scholarship was founded by her husband Dale Hart and daughter Legina Hart Hill as a legacy to Kathryn’s establishment of and commitment to the RACO scholarship program.
The Frank and Delores Cleland Memorial Scholarship were created by their family as a way of honoring their service to the Racine Community.
The Southern Tornado Nursing Scholarship was established by 2014 Southern Graduate Jamie O’Brien.
“I wanted to give back, received a scholarship and I am now working as a nurse, so I wanted to help another nursing student as they begin their education.”
Southern Elementary Principle Tricia McNickle and her sisters Wendy Creed and Megan Cleland created the Miss Suzanne Scholarship in honor of their mother Suzanne Sayre. Among her many activities, Miss Suzanne taught kindergarten and volleyball, and was a softball coach.
Clarence and Ruth Bradford Scholarship was established to honor their contribution to the community. Clarence was the 1937 Racine High School valedictorian, and served in the Merchant Marines during WWII. They were always active in the community. Weese characterized them as “very special people.”
The receipts choice of schools and career paths were as varied as the students themselves. Schools they will be attending include Ohio University, The Ohio State University, Marshall, Shawnee State, University of Kentucky, Washington State, Miami University, and Cochise College, and declared majors are in finance, pre-med, childhood education, engineering, art and media, and intelligence services. Each of the recipients told of their plans for college when called up to receive their scholarship.
The 2019 Scholarship recipients were as follows:
RACO Scholarships ($1,000 each) — Noah Diddle, Madison Lisle, Peyton Anderson, Baylee Grueser, Kathryn Matson, Mallory Johnson, Reece Reuter, David Dunfee, Abby Cummins, and Weston Thorla;
Jim Adams Memorial Scholarship ($500) — Madison Lisle;
Clarence and Ruth Bradford Memorial Scholarship ($600) — Marissa Brooker;
Racine Enginuity Scholarship ($500) — Mallory Johnson;
Jean Alkire Memorial Scholarship ($300 each) — Kathryn Matson and Emma Wolfe;
Carl B. Weese Memorial Scholarship ($500 each) — Tori Chaney, Weston Thorla, Erica Milliron, David Dunfee, Brayden Cunningham, and Kathryn Matson;
Southern Tornado Nursing Scholarship ($500) — Alex VanMeter;
Kathryn Hart Memorial Scholarship ($500) — Erica Milliron, William Harmon, David Dunfee and Abby Cummins;
Frank and Delores Cleland Memorial Scholarship ($600) — Abby Cummins;
Vinas Lee Educational Scholarship ($1,000) — Mallory Johnson and Madison Lisle;
Miss Suzanne Scholarship ($300) — Kaylee Katona.
Pastor Duke Holbert offered a prayer before the meal, and ended the ceremony with a benediction, wishing the students success in their journey this fall.
To donate items to the RACO Yard Sales or to establish a scholarship, please contact Tonja Hunter, 740-508-0044, Sherry O’Brien, 740-416-1324; Dale Hart, 740-949-2656; and Kim Romine, 740-992-7079 or 770-992-2067.