Wednesday, May 16, 2012
The Ooltewah-Collegedale Kiwanis Club honored two area students by awarding $5,500 in scholarship funds during its recent annual award ceremony presentation.
Ooltewah High School Key Club president Abbie Shadden was awarded a $5,000 Robert D. Thatcher Key Club Scholarship, and Southern Adventist University student Rachel Pence was awarded the first-ever $500 Dr. Bob Benge scholarship.
“I am so honored to receive this award,” said Shadden. “I hope to one day be involved with some kind of nonprofit overseas. I am passionate about mission work and can’t see myself doing anything other than that. I hope you know you’ve helped me achieve that.”
According to club president Brien Applewhite, $5,000 is the largest amount of scholarship funds the club has ever been able to present at one time. As the president of the Key Club, an active volunteer at Ooltewah High School and a 4.0 GPA student, Applewhite said the club felt like Shadden was a deserving recipient of the award.
She has been accepted into the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Honors Program, and Shadden said she is especially interested in working to decrease sexual trafficking in her future career.
The second scholarship awarded is a recent addition designed to honor Dr. Bob Benge, who helps each year with the Kiwanis 5K fundraiser that occurs each spring.
“Dr. Benge has been the director of the last four road races,” said Applewhite. “He has really been a great help to the club and he asks for nothing in return. Every year when I ask him he just says ‘Yes,’ and by the time we get to race weekend, I’m totally calm because I know we’re in the best hands we could possibly be in.”
Benge, a professor of health, physical education and recreation, said he got together with fellow SAU faculty and decided to award the scholarship to Pence, a current freshman. A Corporate Wellness major, Pence said she hopes to eventually open her own corporate wellness facility.
“I am very thankful for this award,” she said. “This year has been a struggle financially for me, and at the end of it I had to make a huge decision about whether I should stay at SAU or transfer. When I found out I was getting the scholarship, I burst into tears because it was such a blessing.”