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Forty-seven students earn scholarships at annual event
Forty-seven students earn scholarships at annual eventNearly 150 school administrators, teachers, parents, and students attended the annual Summer Scholarships Awards reception for area gifted students. The reception was held May 10 at the Friends Center in Portsmouth, where a total of 47 students were awarded scholarships.

The South Central Ohio Educational Service Center (ESC) Gifted Services Department acts as liaison between businesses, individuals and organizations willing to sponsor Summer Enrichment Programs and students who are identified as gifted and are interested in participating in those programs. Sponsorship is important because it provides the opportunity for students to attend programs offered by colleges and universities throughout the nation and offers them unique experiences that wouldn’t be available to students otherwise.

Guest speakers Ava McCleese, of Clay High School, and Sami Matthews, who now attends Shawnee State University, explained how and why the summer enrichment programs were so valuable to them, and thanked sponsors for being so generous in their donations to the Gifted Services Programs.

This year 36 students were awarded ESC Summer Enrichment Scholarships, which will pay either all or part of their summer enrichment tuition costs. Students receiving the this year were MaKenzie Marx, Sarah Lemaster, Serena Kataria, Allison McCray, Rylie Banks, Emily Cram, Brandon Anderson, Sawyer Grashel, Owen Fitch, Savannah Baker, Emily Clausing, Madison Nigh, Megan Conley, Sarah Throckmorton, Sarah Simmons, Andrew Crank, Rohit Kataria, Aaron Crank, Gabriel Morrell, Kara McCray, Jordan Bowman, Nick Gray, Jacob Alley, Micah Simmons, Jesse Cantrell, Colin Bennington, Caden Banks, Alec Arnett, Dutch Byrd, Meredith Byrd, Liam Garrison, Mollyanna Grashel, Matthew Harris, Vincent Lore, Noah Lovins, and Bradley McCleese. These students will be participating in programs throughout the United States this summer.

Jane Lee, of Miami University, was in attendance to recognize students who were awarded full-tuition scholarships to attend the Miami Summer Scholars Program. Scholarships for Scioto County students to attend this program come from the Scioto Foundation’s Bess and Marie Pixley Fund. Recipients of these scholarships were recognized along with those who received ESC scholarships to attend other summer programs.

Miami Summer Scholars is a selective, two-week program designed for academically talented high school students who will be juniors or seniors in the fall of 2017. Students will work with Miami’s world-renowned faculty in intensive academic modules centered on specific topics of interest, with themes like fine arts, entrepreneurship, medicine, social justice, sports management and more. They will experience college life and acquire learning experiences designed to prepare them for the college application process, including workshops focused on application essay writing, ACT/SAT test prep, and developing marketable leadership skills. To be eligible for this scholarship, Scioto County students must complete an application and have participated in rigorous coursework during high school earning a minimum of a 3.5 grade point average.

This year, 10 full Miami scholarships were awarded. Those students are Michael Arnett of South Webster High School, Eli Cole of Portsmouth West High School, Emma Coleman, Allison Douthat, Alyson Ferrara, Collin Finn and Lynsey Shipley of Portsmouth High School, Coey Duckson of Minford High School, Mason McTurner of Valley High School and Taylor Fannin of Wheelersburg High School.

Also, as part of the awards reception, the Portsmouth Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) awarded local student, Madison Russell, of Portsmouth West Jr. High, a full scholarship to attend the week-long residential Be WISE Mathematics and Science Camp at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. The award was sponsored by SOMC.

The Be WISE camp is designed to develop interest, excitement and self-confidence in girls who are entering grades 7 or 8 this fall. The AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research and has been in existence since 1881. The Portsmouth Branch of AAUW works to award at least one scholarship each year for a student to attend the Be WISE Camp.

For more information about the South Central Ohio ESC, visit online at, or follow on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.