From a field of more than 90 applicants, 12 graduating high school seniors in Harford County were honored on May 24 with scholarships totaling $14,000 from HAR-CO Maryland Federal Credit Union.
HAR-CO is Harford County's education credit union and, in keeping with its mission of serving the education community, each year makes available a $1,000 scholarship to one student at every accredited high school in the county.
In addition, two special scholarships are presented, one valued at $1,000 in memory of HAR-CO Board member and county teacher Edward V. Goetz to a student who plans to take up environmental studies, and a $3,000 HAR-CO Credit Union Scholarship for a student planning to attend Harford Community College.
All the applicants are members of HAR-CO.
According to a HAR-CO news release, this was the most competitive year ever for the scholarship program. The number of applicants nearly doubled to more than 90 and making the selection was a challenge.
"We didn't necessarily pick straight A students. We wanted to pick students who had demonstrated they have what it takes to succeed in college. This group showed that," Stephen Remsnyder, HAR-CO Scholarship Committee chairman, said in the news release, as he explained the selection process.
"This year we really had to debate the winners," Remsnyder said. "As a retired teacher of 31 years, I'm still impressed with our county's graduating students. We know these kids are really going to make something of themselves and we're happy to help them on their journey."
Among the winners was the first ever from Patterson Mill High School, James Hickey, who will be attending St. Mary's College of Maryland, chosen for the strength of its biochemistry program.
Brandi Smith of North Harford High School won the $3,000 HAR-CO Credit Union Scholarship for a student planning to attend Harford Community College. She plans to become a physicians' assistant and will enter HCC's nursing program in the fall.
Jonathan Stewart, from North Harford High School, is the winner of the Goetz Scholarship. He will be attending Delaware Valley College to study environmental science.
The other students who received HAR-CO Maryland Federal Credit Union scholarships are: Molleshree Karna, Aberdeen High School; Ashley N Melefsky, Bel Air High School; Allyson M. Willinghan, C. Milton Wright High School; Emily R. Burke, Edgewood High School; Alexander E. Derencz, Fallston High School; Abigail Lee Edwards, Harford Christian School; Austin A. Pence, Harford Technical High School; Trent D. Shaw, John Carroll School; and Courtney E. Ajello, North Harford High School.
According to a HAR-CO news release, the winning students plan to study everything from mass communications to psychology, cellular biology, genetics, nursing, environmental science, biomedical engineering, illustration and early childhood education.
They will attend schools around the region, including Towson University, University of Maryland, North Carolina Asheville, Maryland Institute College of Art, Penn State and Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science.
The HAR-CO scholarship program is in its 26th year. For information on scholarship guidelines or credit union membership, visit any of the HAR-CO locations in Aberdeen, Abingdon, Bel Air or online, http://www.harcocu.org.