Rotary awards five Challenge Scholarships

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CUMMING, Ga. — The Rotary Club of Forsyth County awarded $12,500 in scholarships to five seniors enrolled in Forsyth County high schools on April 24.

Each student will receive a $2,500 scholarship to the school of their choice.

Rotary member Sam Siemon presented the awards.

“These kids all have stories that inspire us,” Siemon said. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to help them continue with their education.”

The club has been awarding the Challenge Scholarships since 1996.

Siemon said school counselors at each high school were contacted and asked to select a student they feel would benefit most from the scholarship.

North Forsyth High School recipient Armando De Anda said at one point, he was unsure he would even graduate.

Barely able to speak English, De Anda stopped watching Spanish television and listening to Spanish music to focus on learning English.

His counselor, Kathy Wigley, said De Anda’s focus is something to be admired.

“Not everyone has that kind of commitment to learning,” Wigley said. “But Armando does.”

De Anda plans to study pre-medicine at the University of North Georgia.

Forsyth Central High recipient Jane Parker hasn’t had it easy, but her counselor, Deidre Miller, said Parker is committed to succeed.

Parker was a homeless teen who received county assistance.

“The saying, it takes a village is true for me,” Parker said. “I was raised by a village.”

Parker has plans to major in nursing at Kennesaw State University.

Counselors at Lambert High School chose Adolfo Reyna because of his hard work.

“Adolfo has shown a true commitment to his education,” counselor Luisa Suarez said. “When he sets his mind to do something, he does it.”

Reyna plans to major in engineering at the University of Georgia.

South Forsyth’s Daniel Deleon, who was burned in a fire in Cincinnati, Ohio, five years ago, has a positive attitude about life, said counselor Eddie Fernandez.

“I’ve never heard [Deleon] complain about anything,” Fernandez said. “He is a kind, giving person and no one’s got a complaint about him, either.”

Deleon plans to go to nursing school.

“When I was in the hospital after the fire, the nurses were so kind to me,” Deleon said. “I want to give back to patients and be a role model for them like the nurses in Cincinnati did for me.”

West Forsyth’s Alison Adams, who had brain surgery when she was 2 years old, hasn’t let her medical issues stop her from excelling in school, said counselor Jamie Brown.

Adams, who plans to study genetics at UGA, has constant seizures and vision problems.

“I’ve not let my health challenges stop me,” Adams said. “They may be part of the reason I’m interested in genetics.”

FH 05-07-14