Elks award scholarships to local students

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FARMINGTON — The Maine Elks Association has announced the winners of the Elks National Foundation’s Most Valuable Student Scholarship program for 2010. Seven high school seniors were selected as the top students in Maine, with one of them advancing to second place in the nation.

Amanda Hall of Farmington, daughter of Lisa Ellrich and Rodney Hall, earned a second-place scholarship in the amount of $40,000 dollars over four years from the Elks National Foundation.

“I was shocked when they told me,” said Hall, a student at Mt. Blue High School. “I never thought I would make it so far. It was a long shot.”

Hall has received several academic awards, and is very active in sports and music. She is ranked second in her class, serves as the senior class president, plays field hockey and lacrosse (boys’) for her school, competes in alpine and Nordic ski racing and plays the viola and cello in the Franklin County Fiddlers as well as the Mid-Maine Youth Orchestra.

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In addition, she has served her community by volunteering at St. Josephs Parish in the food pantry and St. Josephs Youth Ministry. Since 2004, she has also worked more than 2,700 hours as a farm hand and project supervisor at White Hill Farm.

Hall is currently planning to hold a career in the field of law, and ultimately hopes to become a judge. She is still determining which college to attend, but is now considering Dartmouth, Harvard and Yale universities.

“The scholarship has really changed my outlook. It has made college a real possibility in my financial situation,” said Hall. “I am floored by the amount of support I have received from the Elks. I have received so many calls from people I don’t know, it is really nice to know that they are there for the students in this community,” she said.

Hall’s application was one of more than 250 received by the Maine Elks Association, and one of thousands received by the Elks across the country. Each application was judged based upon work experience, academics, leadership, community service, extra-curricular activities and financial need.

Bennett Doughty of Winthrop High School was also a scholarship winner and will receive a $4,000 four-year scholarship.

The students will be recognized at the Maine Elks Association State Convention on Saturday, May 1, at Sugarloaf.

In addition, the Maine Elks Association has also awarded several district and lodge scholarships to deserving young men and women from across the state.

Local lodge winners include: Rebekah Dunham, sponsored by the Farmington Lodge; Carl Zurhost, Rumford Lodge; and Nathan Poulin, Lewiston Lodge. Lodge winners will each receive a $900 dollar scholarship.

This year, the Maine Elks Association and its 22 member lodges awarded more than $146,500 in scholarships to students from across Maine. Many of the scholarships are funded through the Elks National Foundation; the charitable arm of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

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