The nonprofit Violet Township Women's League again has awarded scholarships to four local students to continue their educations at colleges.
For the 20th year, the Women's League has awarded scholarships to graduating seniors.
This year, the League awarded scholarships in the amount of $2,600 each to Daniel Costa Griffaton, who recently graduated from Pickerington High School North; Hannah Kitsmiller, a 2019 graduate of Hartley High School; and Jason Keith Orr and Natalie Reed, who both graduated this year from Pickerington High School Central.
This year's awards means the organization has distributed 45 scholarships together valued at $91,000 over the past two decades.
The program provides financial assistance to graduating seniors who live in Violet Township or within the Pickerington Schools boundaries.
Recipients are selected by a committee that seeks to reward students for community service and academic accomplishments.
"A selection committee of six Violet Township Women's League members anonymously reviewed and scored each application we received this year on the candidate's merits of community service, their personal essay, their letters of recommendation and their grade-point average," said Debbie Fast, co-chairwoman of the organization's style show which raises funds for the scholarships.
"Our four winners ... stood out from the rest of the applicants in their dedication to serving others.
"Each of the four embody the qualities of commitment to excellence, dependability, kindness, and have developed a passion for serving our community."
Griffaton is the son of Debbie Costa and Michael Griffaton. He said he will attend the University of Evansville, where he plans to study archaeology and music.
According to his scholarship application, Griffaton is an Eagle Scout whose community service has included work for Wexner Service Corp., the Columbus Jewish Youth Foundation, Temple Beth Shalom, the Boy Scouts of America and the Pickerington Public Library.
"Daniel spent a week in Houston helping victims of hurricane Harvey and a week in Pittsburgh on a service-learning trip," according to information provided by the Women's League. "Daniel has volunteered with St. Stephen's Community House, Habitat for Humanity, Charity Newsies, Worthington Resource Pantry, Star House for homeless teens, Goodwill and Camp Mary Orton.
"His letters of recommendation describe him as an exceptional young adult who is humble, thoughtful and 'is constantly thinking of ways to do good on behalf of others.' "
Kitsmiller is the daughter of Debbie and Chris Kitsmiller. She said she plans to study neuroscience at Ohio State University.
Kitsmiller established a neighborhood library promoting reading and socialization, as well as a school group called "The Julias," which sought to cultivate female leaders through a series that brought motivational speakers to her school.
"Hannah also headed the Bishop Hartley annual Joint Organizations for Inner-City Needs drive, where she organized collection and pickup days in which hundreds of toiletries for impoverished families were donated," information from the Women's League stated.
"She has served her church and served on mission trips, including being a team member for Seton Parish Portsmouth Outreach Trip.
"Hannah has been an active member of the Fairfield County 4-H Thurston Flying Fingers Club, where she assists younger 4-H sewers with new techniques and sewing projects, and the Extraordinary Explorers 4-H Club since 2012."
Orr is the son of Kelly Davis-Orr. He said he plans to study occupational therapy at Duquesne University.
Women's League officials lauded Orr for service on his church's youth leadership and confirmation retreat teams. He also was involved in his high school's Sunny Side Up program.
"Jason participates in outreach activities that serve the poor and those in need, including the Portsmouth Outreach Food Drive and the Cranks Creek Shoe Drive," information provided by the League stated.
"Jason formed a chapter of Best Buddies at his high school, which is an international program promoting inclusion and friendships of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. "Jason also volunteered with the Fairfield County Department of Developmental Disabilities and the Special Olympics."
Reed is the daughter of Trisha Reed. She said she plans to study economics at Miami University.
According to Women's League officials, Reed served as a group leader during vacation Bible school at her church and volunteered for other church service projects, such as making meals for people in need in her community and fundraising for families in Haiti.
"Natalie is enrolled in Service Learning Academic Tutoring, which integrates community service with Common Core standards," information from the Women's League stated. "This involves being placed in a fourth-grade classroom as a tutor, where she works one on one with students, working at a local food pantry and working with church organizations.
"She serves as the (chairwoman) of financial resources for the PHSC Centralthon, which organizes a dance marathon to benefit the Ronald McDonald House."
The Women's League funds its annual scholarship program through events it hosts throughout the year, including a raffle, which this year brought in $12,500, and its annual fashion show, known as the Style Show.
Woman's League publicity co-chairwoman Linda Fersch said 159 business from Pickerington, surrounding communities and other areas of Ohio also donated to the scholarship fund this year.
"We are blessed to have caring businesses and individuals who value education and community service," she said.