REGION — Graduates from three local schools are among those named as 2023 Mitchell Scholars.

Abigail Wilcox from Mt. Abram High School, Katelynn Daggett from Mt. Blue High School and Daxxtyn Williams from Rangeley Lakes Regional School are three of four graduates from Franklin County to be so named this year. The fourth is Lily Bailey of Jay from Spruce Mountain High School.

Scholars are awarded a $10,000 scholarship from the Mitchell Institute towards continuing education plans, receiving $2,500 a year over four years.

The Franklin Journal attempted to contact the graduates to learn more about their school journey and future plans. Efforts to reach Katelynn Daggett were not successful.

Abigail Wilcox is one of four Franklin County graduates named 2023 Mitchell Scholars. Franklin Journal file photo

Wilcox, who lives in Strong, in an email wrote she was involved in varsity basketball and varsity softball throughout her high school career. In basketball she was awarded MVC honorable mention her junior year and MVC second team her senior year. In softball she was awarded MVC honorable mention as a junior and senior.

Wilcox was in National Honor Society, serving as secretary her senior year. “I was also President of Student Council,” she wrote. “I also received the Maine Principles Association Award my senior year.


“My mom and I created our own community service organization for my personal National Honor Society Project – “The Share a Smile Movement”, where we would go and place rocks [painted with fun colors, a smiley face, and an @ to our instagram as well as a positive message] on top of local mountains and along hiking trails. I also volunteered my time to the Western Maine Youth Soccer Association and Mount Abram’s 7V7 Soccer Tournament.”

Wilcox will be attending University Maine Farmington in the fall, studying elementary education. “My career goals consist of becoming a local teacher and eventually running my own classroom,” she noted. “I hope to provide a new look on teaching and include a lot of hands on work. I look forward to learning news skills and all the basics at UMF.”

Wilcox wrote she was extremely grateful to receive this scholarship. “It was such an honor and really made it feel like all of my hard work paid off,” she noted. “It has really taken a lot of weight off my shoulders and allowed me to feel confident financially going into college. I truly cannot express how thankful I am to receive such an amazing scholarship but also to be able to represent my small town and high school in such a positive light.”

Daxxtyn Williams, a graduate of Rangeley Lakes Regional School has been named a 2023 Mitchell Scholar. Rangeley Highlander file photo

From Rangeley, Daxxtyn Williams wrote he was involved in varsity ski team and varsity soccer all four years at Rangeley Lakes Regional School. He was a soccer captain his senior year. He participated in the cross country club his sophomore year.

Williams was a veteran member of the RLRS Drama Club, and a member of the student council for three years.

When asked about community involvement, he wrote, “I am an active member of the Rangeley Friends of the Arts which sponsors several shows throughout the year and local artists to help them become successful with their art. The RFA also has a scholarship for aspiring artists [which is one of the scholarships I have received]. I have volunteered for the Rangeley Regattas, and I have donated several times to the Rangeley Food Bank.”


Williams will attend University Maine Orono where he plans to double major in anthropology and  theatre. “I want to learn three languages so I can travel around the world and meet people from all different walks of life, learn as much as I can, and do what I can to help people,” he noted.

“Receiving this scholarship means that the burden of paying for higher education is eased for me,” he wrote. “I can spend less time worrying about my finances and spend more time making my time in college memorable and valuable.”

The following information was provided in a release:

The Mitchell Institute is a Maine-based nonprofit scholarship and research organization founded by Senator George J. Mitchell to improve college outcomes for students from every community in Maine. In addition to the scholarship, the 166 recipients of the Mitchell Scholarship represent every public high school in Maine will each receive ongoing personal, academic and professional support.

The Mitchell Institute community includes more than 3,000 alumni who mentor Mitchell Scholars and hundreds of donors whose philanthropic investments continue to sustain the Institute’s ability to fund scholars. Throughout college and the years following, the new Mitchell Scholars will have opportunities to engage with Mitchell Institute programs and resources focusing on financial assistance, leadership training, and academic and career support.

The new class of 166 Mitchell Scholars will join 437 currently enrolled scholars, who collectively will receive more than $5 million in awards from the Mitchell Institute during their college careers.


The 2023 scholar cohort has also overcome several barriers to college access; 58% of the newest cohort of Mitchell Scholars will be the first in their families to attend a four-year college, and 84% are from families with incomes below Maine’s median. With financial and programmatic support from the Mitchell Institute, 89% of scholars complete college and achieve a degree, compared with 62% nationally, and more than 90% earn all A’s and B’s in their college courses.

Jared Cash, president and CEO of the Mitchell Institute said, “Each scholar represents the best of our great state and reflects Senator Mitchell’s vision of investing in young people so they, in turn, can strengthen their communities.”

Kim Gustafson, scholarship director at the Mitchell Institute, oversaw the scholarship selection committee’s holistic review of 1,467 Mitchell Scholarship applications in 2023 that considered high school students’ academic potential, community impact, and degree of financial need.

“It is an honor for the selection committee to explore the many facets of each application through multiple rounds of our evaluation process,” Gustafson said. “Every candidate presents a unique story, and the committee considers potential just as much as achievement. The final selection round always proves to be immensely challenging since there is an abundance of deserving young leaders from every corner of our state.”

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