Kiwanis awards scholarships

Photo by Avan Clark

Photo by Avan Clark

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County awarded four scholarships to Dougherty County and Lee County students Monday afternoon.

The club awarded $6,500 in financial awards -- three for $1,500 and one $2,000 award -- to this year's recipients, which include Katie Brown and Shelby Lynn Hancock of Lee County High School, Hannah Hughes of Byne Christian School, and Dervin Cunningham Jr. from Dougherty County's Westover High School.

Katie was ranked among the top 20 in PSAT scores at Lee County High in 2008 and 2009 and was named a Georgia Merit Scholar by the University of Georgia and the Georgia Department of Education. She is also ranked No. 4 in her senior class at LCHS with a cumulative GPA of 4.33. Katie has been accepted to both the University of Georgia and Auburn University.

Also from Lee County High School, Shelby Lynn was recognized as the 2010 Lee County STAR Student. She is ranked No. 3 in her class of 392 and is an AP Scholar, member of the Governor's Honor Program and is captain of the varsity swim team. She will be attending Auburn University in the fall.

Byne Christian's Hannah has achieved the highest overall GPA at her school and scored 1720 on her SAT. She was also a member of Byne's Varsity Volleyball Jubilee All-Tournament and won the talent portion in the Miss Byne Pageant. She said she plans to attend Shorter College in Rome.

Dervin was the recipient of the Neff Scholarship for 2010.

According to Kiwanis members, the Neff Scholarship grew from the donation of $20,000 by Deborah Neff in memory of her late husband, Greg, to the Dougherty Kiwanis Foundation. As part of the donation, Deborah Neff stipulated that the foundation award $2,000 annually to a student who will attend the University of Georgia as a graduating high school senior or a transfer from a two-year program.

Dervin is a Westover High School senior who was the recipient of the Georgia Certificate of Merit, a trumpet player in the Westover High marching band and holds the highest GPA of any band member in the school.

Dougherty Kiwanis Foundation board member Scott Brown said that Neff's generous donation enabled the foundation to hand out scholarships this year without disturbing the club's core funds.

The scholarship winners and Kiwanis members also heard from a past Kiwanis scholarship earner.

Clair Thompson received a scholarship from the Kiwanis Club in 2004 to attend Auburn University.

Thompson currently works in the neonatal care unit at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. She thanked the Kiwanians for their support and cited her work in the NICU and the heart-warming feeling of watching new mothers leave with their babies in their arms, "knowing that I had a part in that."

To the new recipients, she added, "It's not easy and not always fun to keep up your standards, but I encourage you" in work and success.