Brooke Egan and Leonardo (Leo) Javier Perez III are the co-winners of the prestigious Seasonal Friends of Rangeley Scholarship for 2019, and Vanessa Rose Bisson was awarded the Rangeley Lakes Area Legacy Scholarship.   The honors were announced during the graduation ceremony for the Rangeley Lakes Regional School on June 8.

Brooke and Leo each will receive a multi-year stipend totaling $3,500, and Vanessa will get $500, to help them pay their college tuition.  All three students were recognized for their strong academic records, activity in various school programs and participation in community service, which is a major criterion used in selecting recipients of these scholarships.

The Seasonal Friends of Rangeley Scholarship, now in its 23rd year, is funded by visitors to, and seasonal residents of, the Rangeley Lakes region, as a way to thank those who live there for sharing its many attributes. The Legacy Scholarship is supported by permanent residents of the area.  Contributions to it may be made in honor or memory of a person, living or deceased.

Brooke’s application to the Scholarship Committee described how growing up with, and overcoming, a medical challenge enhanced her qualities of empathy and perseverance, and led her to seek a life goal of helping other people “in all sorts of ways.”

That objective is supported by her many achievements both in and out of school.  She held class, club and athletic leadership positions, culminating in serving as Student Council President during her senior year.  The long list of awards she received range from a number in athletics to academics and included a President’s Award for Educational Excellence and a Good Citizen Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Brooke’s equally diverse community service activities provided assistance of various kinds to  beneficiaries ranging from first grade students to senior citizens, and from volunteering to prepare meals to participating in Town Trash Cleanup Day.  Brooke will attend the University of Maine at Orono and is planning a career in the medical field “helping people in need.”

Leo only entered Rangeley Lakes Regional School in the sixth grade and managed to accomplish much since then.  He captained the soccer and basketball teams and won awards in those sports, as well as baseball. Academic honors included Excellence in Science, History and English; a Scholastic Art and Writing Award; participating on the school’s math team for four years, and recognition in the President’s Education Award Program.  Community service activities ranged from helping to prepare Thanksgiving and dinners for elderly to assisting at Bike Maine and Halloween events.

Leo recalls that when he faced the challenge of moving from a large city to Rangeley, “I noticed how welcoming the community was towards my family.”  He adds that he took advantage of “the opportunity to give back and be involved in the community.” He intends to continue in that vein, attending Husson University in Bangor where he is enrolled in a six-year program that will lead to both a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science and a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

Art rather than science is the passion of Vanessa Bisson, and her goal is to “pursue a career in art and teach others the joys of being creative.” Vanessa says her art teachers “have been mentors and supporters for me,” and that as a teacher herself, she can “make a difference in children’s lives while  pursuing my passion to teach art.”

In keeping with her ambition, Vanessa has volunteered as a student aid in an elementary school art class.  She recalls that among her favorite memories from childhood “was spending time at my grandparents and making arts and crafts,” and she looks forward to “the opportunity to learn new skills and share them with my students one day.”   Vanessa will attend the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine.

Among recent donations made to the Rangeley Lakes Area Legacy Scholarship which Vanessa received are contributions from Geraldine Bush, Paul & Les Ferguson-Packard, Thomas Folsom, Melissa & Donald Gates ( in memory of Marilyn Gates), Gull Pond Association, Ann Guralnick, John & Donna Hassey (in honor of Betty Hassey), Bruce Hermann, Bruce & Carole Hoffmann, Anthony Millington, Gertrude Murray & Valerie Murray Grant, Michael & Sondra Sherman, Rita & James Simpson (memory of Delcy Rogers), Brad & Kathleen Steward  (memory of Corey Steward), Frank Trojan & Cynthia Ronan, Joseph & Donna Van Etten, Leeanna Wilbur (memory of Richard Eustis, Christina Lowell and Ethelin Lowell) and Mark & Lois Winkler.

The Directors of the scholarship program are Rebekah Carmichael, Rangeley Town Treasurer; Heidi Deery, Student Services Director at the Rangeley Lakes Regional School; Leeanna J. Wilbur, Vice President and Branch Manager, Franklin Savings Bank, and one anonymous seasonal resident.

Contributions to the Seasonal Friends of Rangeley Scholarship and the Legacy Scholarship, which are tax deductible, may be sent to P.O. Box 321. Rangeley, ME 04970.  Donors receive a receipt for tax purposes and the thanks of the deserving students who benefit from this very worthwhile program.


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