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Mountain Laurel Chamber scholarships awarded to local graduates

| Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Cami DiBattista | for the Ligonier Echo
Mountain Laurel Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kris Enberg (from left) with scholarship winners Ellen Brady, Brittany and Megan Crowley, and the chamber's scholarship committee chairwoman Marty Hinebaugh. The students are recipients of the Eleanor G. Morris Community Service Scholarship.

The Eleanor G. Morris Community Service Scholarship was awarded to 19 local high school seniors since the program began in 2006. Four local graduates were each recently presented a $1,000 scholarship, which will be used to help further their education.

The Mountain Laurel Chamber of Commerce sponsors the annual scholarship, which is presented to those who have provided significant service to the community.

“The awards recognize these young people who have given of themselves to others,” said Marty Hinebaugh, chairwoman of the scholarship committee. “It is our hope that their recognition not only benefits them in a modest financial way but stands as an example of the kind of young people who help make our communities wholesome places to live.”

Brittany and Megan Crowley of Cook Township; Ellen Brady of Donegal Township; and Alyssa Fratto of Saltlick Township, were recognized at the chamber's monthly meeting.

“I am extremely honored to have been chosen for such a prestigious scholarship,” said Ligonier Valley School District graduate Brittany Crowley. “Because community service is something I do without expecting anything in return, it is very rewarding to be recognized for it.”

The Crowley sisters devoted many hours to the nursing care program at Latrobe Hospital.

“I worked in the surgical ward,” said Megan Crowley, “and the intensity of the experience was unparalleled by any other service I have done.”

Megan and Brittany Crowley's volunteer experience has spanned a variety of school and community organizations. Both volunteered in a peer mentoring program and two programs that provided food and fresh produce to those in need.

“I was quite excited to be recognized for my community service,” Megan Crowley said. “I give my highest respect to any organization that invests in students pursuing higher education, so I greatly appreciate the generosity of the chamber.”

Brittany Crowley plans to attend the University of Virginia to prepare for a career in psychology, while Megan Crowley will pursue political science criminology at American University in Washington, D.C.

“This is a great opportunity the chamber gives seniors to help them as they go to college and it encourages me to continue community service in the future,” said Ellen Brady, who attended Mt. Pleasant Area School District. “It means a lot to be considered one who impacted the community enough to be recognized and rewarded by the chamber.”

Brady said her favorite experience with community service was being a volunteer coach for a youth soccer team. She provided time and service to her church and working with children at Title I Literacy events. Brady plans to begin a program in pre-physical therapy at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in the fall.

Alyssa Fratto, a Connellsville Area School District graduate, received a scholarship for contributing energies to worthwhile activities in a dozen community and school programs. She plans to enter Waynesburg University in the fall to study environmental engineering.

The chamber developed the annual scholarship to honor Dr. Eleanor G. Morris, who performed valuable services to the community for nearly 50 years.

“The whole process honors the legacy of community service that Dr. Morris offered in her lifetime, said Hinebaugh. “When something really pleased her, she had a favorite expression she used — that it “tickled” her — we think she would feel that way about the scholarship program.”

Based upon funding, which is made up of gifts from community members who knew and respected Dr. Morris and from area businesses,' the number of recipients receiving the award varies from year to year.

“The committee analyzes not only the quantity but also the quality of how these young people have chosen to provide service to others,” Hinebaugh said. “Selecting those who will be awarded is the most difficult part of the scholarship program because every one of the applicants has made valuable contributions.” Hinebaugh added that the process takes over a month of consideration from the committee members.

All students who live in Cook, Donegal, Saltlick and Springfield townships and Donegal Borough are eligible to apply for the scholarship.

“This year's youth are a fabulous group,” said Kris Enberg, the chamber's executive director. “One that we would like to one day know as our community leaders.”

Cami DiBattista is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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