DURHAM — “Hard-working, passionate and community-oriented,” words spoken by Denise LaFlamme, former selectman and PTA member, will describe the winner of the first annual Denise LaFlamme Scholarship, which will be earned by a current senior from Durham, Pownal or Freeport in LaFlamme’s memory.

“We want this student to represent everything that was important to Denise; the kind of passion and hard work that gets results,” describes Tracey Jordan, one of the scholarship organizers. “This student does not have to be in the top 10 academically. They don’t have to be the best athlete. We are looking for a student who makes a difference.”

Friends of LaFlamme, known to each other as the “Durham Moms,” are the organizers of this scholarship effort and the creators of a quilt designed in Denise’s memory, which will be raffled to raise funds for the scholarship.

“Our goal is to award a $1,000 scholarship to a graduate from Freeport, Durham or Pownal,” scholarship organizer Wendy Marstaller said. “The amount will depend on the ticket sales for the quilt, but with the passion behind this effort, $1,000 should be easy to raise.”

Passion for this effort is being fueled by friendship with a woman who embodied the town of Durham. Denise (Lacasse) LaFlamme grew up in Durham, was well-known for her support of Durham Community School as PTA president and was a favorite substitute teacher. “Denise was also determined and tenacious as chairman of the board of selectmen,” recalls Jeff Wakeman, who served as a selectman with Denise and currently chairs the board.

“When we lost Denise to pancreatic cancer in 2013, we were determined to make sure her strong convictions about the importance of hard work and community leadership never faded — and that a student would represent her legacy,” said Sarah Cass, another of the organizers.

To purchase tickets for the Denise LaFlamme Scholarship Quilt Raffle, go to www.durhammoms.com, stop in at the Durham town meeting on Saturday, April 4, or watch for volunteers selling tickets at Bow Street Market and the Durham Get & Go in April. Pictures of the quilt and scholarship updates can also be found at www.facebook.com/Durhammoms.

Applications for the Denise LaFlamme Scholarship will be available at the Freeport High School Guidance Office.


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