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Kittanning fire company offering scholarships to high school seniors

| Monday, May 12, 2014, 3:05 p.m.
Louis B. Ruediger
(L to R) Michael Bartosiewicz, a junior at Ford City High School, Autumn Rothwell, a junior at Kittanning High School, and Kendra Kline, a sophmore at Kittanning High School are on the scholarship committee that will give out awards to students who have a track record of volunteerism. Friday May 9 2014

Members of a Kittanning fire department are hoping to ignite community volunteerism among youths by establishing the company's first post-graduate scholarship for high school seniors.

Kittanning Hose, Hook & Ladder Company 1 this year will award two $500 scholarships — one to a female and one to a male graduating senior from Kittanning High School, Ford City High School or Lenape Technical School in Manor.

“We wanted to base it on volunteerism in the community,” said Kevin Kline, assistant fire chief.

The fire company's only three junior firefighters served on the scholarship award committee to help determine the award criteria and are not eligible to apply.

Autumn Rothwell, a junior, and Kendra Kline, a sophomore, are Kittanning High School students. Michael Bartosiewicz is a junior from Kittanning who attends Ford City High School.

They said it was initially tough trying to decide on the scholarship details, but choosing a focus of helping others was easy.

“Volunteering makes people more rounded as individuals,” Kline said.

Rothwell said it's important for students to start making choices about life after high school.

“It's time to get in the zone,” she said.

But time is running out to apply for the scholarship. Applications are due by Thursday.

To be eligible, students must have a 3.0 grade point average. A key factor for this award is that applicants must show that they have regularly volunteered for school, church or civic organizations.

They must have been accepted to attend an accredited university, college, technical or trade school.

Application forms are available through the guidance counselors' office in all three schools. Judging for the scholarship will be conducted by educators not associated with the fire company.

Setting up the scholarship was done in conjunction with the company's 125th anniversary. The money was generated by the fire department's general fundraising projects, such as its annual Waves of Thunder motorcycle event and its recent trout fishing derby.

The assistant fire chief hopes that by sparking young people's interest in community volunteerism, the fire department might end up recruiting junior firefighters.

“If we got 10, that would be great — those are the ones to keep the fire department young,” Kline said.

“Younger people need to take the reins — they're the future.”

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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