Mt. Pleasant Area graduate is among scholarship recipients
By Cami Dibattista
Published: Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
The Eleanor G. Morris Community Service Scholarship has been awarded to 19 local high school seniors since the program began in 2006.
Four local 2013 high school graduates — Ellen Brady, of Donegal Township; Brittany and Megan Crowley of Cook Township; and Alyssa Fratto of Saltlick Township — each were recently presented the $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, chair of the chamber's 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,” she said.
The committee analyzed 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,” she said.
Hinebaugh added that the process takes over a month of consideration from the committee members.
The scholarship winners were recognized at the chamber's recent monthly meeting. “It means a lot to be considered one who impacted the community enough to be recognized and rewarded by the chamber,” said Brady, who attended Mt. Pleasant Area School District.
“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,” she said.
Brady said her favorite experience with community service was as a volunteer coach for a youth soccer team. Additionally, she provided her time and service to her church and working with children at Title I Literacy events.
“In all her efforts, Ellen's enthusiasm and dependability are her hallmarks,” Hinebaugh said.
Brady said she plans to begin a program in pre-physical therapy at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in the fall.
The volunteer experience of sisters Brittany and Megan Crowley, graduates of Ligonier Valley School District, spanned a variety of school and community organizations.
Both girls consider their time in the nursing care program at Excela Health Latrobe Hospital to be their favorite community service experience.
The sisters also volunteer in a peer-mentoring program and two programs that provide food and fresh produce to those in need.
Brittany Crowley said she plans to attend the University of Virginia to prepare for a career in psychology, while Megan Crowley will pursue degrees in political science and criminology at American University in Washington, D.C.
Alyssa Fratto, a Connellsville Area School District graduate, also received a scholarship for contributing to worthwhile activities in a dozen community and school programs.
She said she plans to attend 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, Hinebaugh said.
“When something really pleased her, she had a favorite expression — she would remark that something “tickled” her — we think she would feel that way about the scholarship program,” she said.
Based upon funding, which is made up of gifts from community members who knew and respected Morris and from area businesses, the number of recipients receiving the award varies from year to year.
All students who live in the townships of Cook, Donegal, Saltlick and Springfield, as well as Donegal Borough, are eligible to apply for the scholarship.
“This year's youth are a fabulous group ... one that we would like to one day know as our community leaders,” said Kris Enberg, the chamber's executive director.
Cami DiBattista is a contributing writer.
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