ALBANY -- Alaina "Laina" Lewis asked her mother, JoAnne Lewis, three times to pick up forms for Deerfield-Windsor School's Honor Scholarship after the fifth-grader saw television advertisements about the full tuition academic scholarship.
Laina's persistence paid off as the Sherwood Acres Elementary School student earned a tuition scholarship to the Albany private school worth about $27,000 for her middle school years at Deerfield. The middle school years cover sixth-eighth grades.
Laina was one of four students to earn Deerfield academic scholarships. Alexandra "Lexie" Harrison, a ninth-grader at Westover Comprehensive High School, earned a full tuition scholarship for her high school years at Deerfield, worth close to $30,000. The high school years cover 10th-12th grades.
Current Deerfield 11th-graders Anna Germany and Matt Moree each won the school's Promise Scholarship, which covers a half-year of tuition for the next school year. Each of their scholarships is worth about $4,700.
Receiving the scholarship was a shock to JoAnne Lewis, who, along with her husband Alonza, has two children at Albany High and a daughter in the first grade.
"We picked (up the form) on Wednesday, and it was due that Friday (Jan. 15), so I worked on it under pressure and got our scholarship," Lewis said.
Laina said she had always been curious about Deerfield, which is located near her current school -- Sherwood Acres.
"The classes are going to be smaller, and they will give me more of an ability to learn," Laina said of what makes her most excited about attending Deerfield, which has 432 students at its upper campus and 410 at its lower campus.
Lexie also said she was excited about earning a full scholarship to Deerfield.
"I had a chance last year (for the scholarship), but I wanted to give (Westover) a chance because my aunt (Susan Daniels) works there," said Lexie, who plays goalie on the Westover girls varsity soccer team. "My mom signed me up for the test and when I got the scholarship, (she said) I should at least try (Deerfield). Some people told me how much they loved it. (I'm hoping) to get the best education and the best high school experiences."
Lexie's parents, Kyle and Tina Harrison, noted that their daughter is a straight-A student.
"We've never pushed her, and she's self-motivated," Kyle Harrison said. "I look up to her because she's not afraid to try anything."
Deerfield Headmaster Dave Davies said he was glad that Laina and Lexie accepted the school's Honor Scholarships, for which 20 students turned in applications.
"We are so pleased that Alaina and Alexandra have accepted our Honor Scholarships," said Davies, in his first school year at the helm of Deerfield. "Deerfield-Windsor has awarded these scholarships to outstanding young people for over 10 years, and previous winners have distinguished themselves in the classroom and in school life."
Applying for Deerfield's scholarship last year made taking this year's test easier for Anna Germany.
"I think I was more prepared for it because I took it last year and because I'm taking an AP composition class," said Anna, whose older brother Brad graduated from Deerfield last year and younger brother John is a freshman at the school. "My mom kept reminding me to pick up the form because she was confident I could get it. I kind of picked it up and turned it in the same day."
Matt Moree, a third baseman on the Deerfield varsity baseball team, said he was honored to be selected for the Promise Scholarship.
"The teachers have a genuine interest in students' success in high school and later in life," Matt said.
"Matt and Anna emerged as the strongest candidates among 25 of our strongest students, and we are proud to award them our two Promise Scholarships," Davies said. "In addition to being exceptional academic students, they are both heavily involved in school activities. The Scholarship Committee believes that both of these young people have very bright futures ahead of them."
Candidates for the school's Honor and Promise scholarships were chosen by an 11-member committee made up of the school's eight board members, Davies, Middle School/Upper School Director Brian Kelly and Guidance Counselor Betty Lowe, Scholarship Committee Chair Lauren McDonald said.
"We look at their grades, test scores and they write a short essay. They have recommendations as well," McDonald said of Honor Scholarship applicants.
"It's obvious they're very talented and very hard workers," she said of all the scholarship winners. "And, we're very excited they're coming to Deerfield."