The nonprofit Violet Township Women's League has awarded $2,600 scholarships to four students through its 2018 program.
Each year, the organization raises money for its annual scholarship program by selling tickets and raffle items donated by businesses and community members at its Scholarship Luncheon and Style Show held in April.
As a result, the Women's League has presented more than 41 students a total of $80,600 in scholarships to continue to pursue bachelor's degrees, associate degrees and education and training at trade schools.
Students, who by scholarship program rules must be graduating seniors who live in Violet Township or the Pickerington Local School District, were selected by a committee that sought to award students for community service and academic accomplishments.
This year's 2018 graduates and scholarship winners were Caleb Marsh of Pickerington High School North, Hannah McFeeters of Hartley, Maryam Mohammed-Norgen of North, and Jeremiah Oconer of Pickerington Central.
"The kids, every year, it's just amazing all the things they do and still continue keeping up good grade-point averages," said Linda Fersch, a Women's League past president and current member of the organization's auxiliary board and style show committee. "In the future, the way the world is, that is so important because you need people helping people," she said.
"All these kids do have good GPAs, but most important is the community service they're doing."
According to information provided by the Women's League:
* Marsh participated in repeated mission trips where he worked more than 60 hours a week performing home repair and working with elderly people.
He also participated monthly in letter writing and collecting personal items for U.S. military troops, visited nursing homes, made Easter baskets for Franklin County Children Services and volunteered at homeless shelters.
He will attend the University of Cincinnati and study mechanical engineering.
* McFeeters volunteered to support church-organized youth basketball and volleyball programs and is a eucharistic minister and lector.
She was active in a pro-life club, participated in a summer-camp program and was active at her school, including being a Hartley ambassador, house system captain and mentor group leader, where she planned and coordinated school events.
She will attend Walsh University in Canton and major in Spanish and business.
* Mohammed-Norgen helped develop the diversity council at North and three times each week provided service-learning tutoring at Pickerington's Harmon Middle School.
She also planned and took part in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Nighs/Days in the Pickerington Local School District, has been an intern with the National Hall of Inventors and was an outdoor-education counselor.
She will study neuroscience at the University of Chicago.
* Oconer collected pantry food items as a member of the Boy Scouts and assisted with a program to provide shoes to children in need.
He also was a volunteer member of the National Youth Leadership Training Program for the Boy Scouts of America and was part of Seton Parish's confirmation retreat Team.
Additionally, he helped build an outdoor classroom at Sycamore Creek Elementary School and performed volunteer work for the Central National Honor Society and Sunny Side Up programs.
He will attend Ohio State University and major in engineering.
"These kids are really, really good kids," said Melissa Stiles, publicity chairwoman for the style show. "They do great work in the community."
In addition to lauding this year's scholarship recipients, Fersch and Stiles thanked community members who attend the scholarship luncheon and style show. It has always sold out.
They noted businesses and community members also donate a number of items that help raise money for the scholarship program through raffle baskets for the event.
"We are especially grateful for this year's unexpected donation from the Big Walnut Fraternal Order of the Eagles No. 3261 for $500," Fersch said.
"This donation will augment the 2019 scholarship fund and fulfill our common goal of encouraging students to pursue and achieve the value of education.
"Five hundred dollars is a significant amount from somebody. They value education."
Stiles said the Women's League continues its scholarship program with hopes of soon surpassing the $100,000 mark in scholarships awarded.
She said the program helps graduates extend their educations in the face of rising tuition.
"We really feel like we're paying it forward giving scholarships to the students," Stiles said.
"They don't have to go to a four-year college to receive a scholarship, but the scholarships help to further their educations after high school."