The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School seniors celebrated their last day of school on Friday, which meant the week was filled with awards and ceremonies of recognition. Hard work pays off.
The Rotary Club awarded its second annual Diana Bardwell Scholarship to a senior in good academic standing who has also served the community. Senior Julia Hart received this year’s $2,000 award on Wednesday afternoon at the club’s weekly meeting and luncheon, which took place at the high school.
Ms. Hart was recognized for her exemplary leadership skills and outstanding academic performance. She is an active volunteer in the community, and a captain of the high school field hockey and track teams. She will attend Simmons College in the fall to study nursing.
Last year’s recipient, Molly Houghton, also attended the afternoon luncheon, and received a $1,000 extension to her scholarship for maintaining a strong GPA in her first year at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. According to president-elect Stephanie Burke, the Rotary Club hopes to continue extending scholarships for recipients in years to come. It is part of the club’s commitment to support continued education for Island students.
“Education is so key to having a healthy and productive life,” Ms. Burke said. “We have a tremendous amount of support from the community to make this possible.”
Rotarians, student representatives from the Interact Club, scholarship program representatives, and members from the board of directors attended the luncheon in support of this local initiative.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Rotarian Dick Pratt said. According to Mr. Pratt, the Rotary Club has an annual commitment to local, national, and international projects. They lend a hand in a number of Island-wide programs that raise money for charities, such as the annual charity golf tournament, which is their biggest fundraiser.
“With the support of sponsors, we’ve already brought in more than $52,000,” Ms. Burke said. The 2017 golf tournament is scheduled for Sept. 25. The club also organizes the youth international exchange program at the high school.
On an international and global scale, the Rotary Club has spearheaded collaboration with the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, a nonprofit organization that targets breakthrough research in understanding the disease. Later this month, Rotary Club president Joe Gervais and other representatives will attend a Rotary International conference in Atlanta, Ga., to pitch what could be the start of a worldwide campaign for curing Alzheimer’s disease, according to Mr. Pratt. “We’re the little club that can,” he said.
The Rotary Club of Martha’s Vineyard meets every Wednesday at noon at the Barn, Bowl and Bistro in Oak Bluffs.