Citizens of St. Mary's County Provide 24 Scholarships for Local Students to SMCM

Since 2000, St. Mary's County Tax Payers Have Given Scholarships To 24 St. Mary's College of Maryland Students

ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. - The St. Mary's County tax payers have supported 24 local students with college scholarships to St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM) since 2000. The St. Mary's County Scholarship is a program designed to encourage St. Mary's County students to attend college and ultimately work within the community. According to a statement released by the college today, "This bond between SMCM and St. Mary's County has contributed to a more educated workforce and many well-trained teachers."

The St. Mary's County Scholarship began in 2000 when SMCM came to the St. Mary's County Commissioners and offered to match scholarship gifts at a 3-to-1 ratio. Since then, with the help of 24 corporate and private donors, the need-based awards of $1,000 to $4,000 (per student per year) have been awarded 57 times to 24 students.

"The legacy of the scholarships includes many success stories, including several graduates who have become local teachers, and several students working towards graduate degrees in their fields," said Mary Helen Norris, assistant vice president for development at SMCM.

Ann-Marie Thompson from Mechanicsville graduated from SMCM in 2005. She is now a fifth-grade teacher at Benjamin Banneker Elementary School and received a St. Mary's County Scholarship. Thompson says, "By getting my college education at St. Mary's, I was able to establish myself within our community. I love my job and working with my students. They are inspiring; I hope to pass on to them my belief in the importance of community."

April Mason is another Mechanicsville native that benefited from the scholarship. Mason graduated from SMCM in 2004 and is now a graduate student in renewable natural resources at Louisiana State University. She says, "I have been well prepared for graduate school, and I owe that to St. Mary's. I do not think I would have been able to afford to attend St. Mary's without the help of the St. Mary's County Scholarship."

Other distinguished recipients of the scholarship include Deigh Wathen and Stephanie Franklin, both teachers in St. Mary's County Public Schools, and Sara Zylak, now in the M.A.T. (Master's of Arts in Teaching) program at SMCM.

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