The Columbia Council awarded $1,000 scholarships last night to five Columbia high school seniors for their dedication to community service.
The recipients of the Spear Family Community Service Scholarship were Joshua Feldmesser and Stephen Rice of Wilde Lake High, Anne-Marie Glass and Kerri Ruttenberg of Hammond High and Anika Thompson of Oakland Mills High.
The awards are in honor of Michael Spear, who was president of the Rouse Co., Columbia's developer. Mr. Spear, his wife, Judy, and daughter, Jodi, were killed in a 1990 private plane crash.
The scholarship money comes from the Columbia Association, the nonprofit agency that operates the unincorporated city's recreational facilities and community programs.
Joshua Feldmesser is an Eagle Scout who has worked on community service projects ranging from planting trees to serving meals. He organized and supervised the rebuilding of a Cedar Lane park trail that is accessible for the disabled. He has managed benefit concerts to help food bank and shelter organizations. He said he became involved in community service activities through Boy Scouts.
"It got me to want to give back to the community," said Joshua, who plans to major in human ecology at Rutgers University. "I ended up enjoying it so I did it frequently."
Anne-Marie Glass has been a volunteer for Our Daily Bread, a Baltimore soup kitchen, and Grassroots, which runs a Howard County homeless shelter. At Grassroots, she tutors and supervises children. Next month, she will join the Appalachia Service Project for a week to help repair homes in Kentucky.
Anne-Marie said she got involved in community service work through the St. John's Roman Catholic Church. She said she chose to serve food at Our Daily Bread, rather than work in the kitchen, so she could talk with the people.
"The main thing I liked was being someone they could talk to, someone that could make them smile," she said.
She said teaching children at Grassroots has influenced her to pursue a career in education. She plans to attend the University of Maryland-College Park.
Stephen Rice has served as the student representative on the Town Center village board for four years, and was master of ceremonies for three years for the Howard County Coalition for African-American History Fair, an annual event at The Mall in Columbia.
He also has worked as a peer leader for a drug abuse resistance group and as a tutor for Wilde Lake Middle School students.
He said family members sparked his interest in community service. His mother, Donna Rice, is on the Town Center village board.
"It feels good knowing you've helped the community and touched people's lives for the better," said Stephen, who plans to attend either the U.S. Naval Academy, University of Virginia or Morehouse College.
Kerri Ruttenberg, the president of the Howard County Association of Student Councils, has volunteered with Wintergrowth Adult Day Care, United Way Foundation, Lake Aid, Muscular Dystrophy Association and Grassroots. She also has served on an advisory council to the county Police Department and as student representative on the Kings Contrivance village board.
She said she enjoys working on environmental projects, but prefers "the more social community service," such as volunteering at nursing homes or Grassroots. "I like to see something tangible. That's what gives me satisfaction," she said.
Anika Thompson has participated in the Black Student Achievement program and the service organization Jack and Jill, for which she has served meals for the homeless, collected clothing for the Association of Retarded Citizens, raised money for shelters and tutored students. She also has volunteered at Howard County Library and Howard County General Hospital. She became involved in community service through Girl Scouts, she said.
"I like learning new things and it's an opportunity to help other people," said Anika, who plans to attend North Carolina A&T; University and major in industrial engineering.