Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
The Fort Leavenworth Spouses’ Club awarded $11,000 in scholarships to eight students in a ceremony May 11 at No. 1 Scott Ave.
Every year, the FLSC provides scholarships to high school seniors, continuing undergraduate students and spouses to help fund their higher education endeavors. Money is raised through various events throughout the year including the Charity Golf Scramble last October.
“Although we have all experienced and have been a part of an interesting world for over a year, the resiliency of the military community and the people of Leavenworth has been extraordinary,” said Hayley Hallmark, FLSC scholarship chairperson. “By recognizing the value of education and putting money back into our community through scholarships and community grants, we were able to have this amazing program.
“For the applicants, with schools closing, online learning and other things thrown your way, based on the resumés, GPAs, and recommendations, I was blown away by how involved and connected our applicant pool still was with their school and community,” she said.
Three scholarships were awarded to local high school seniors including Elizabeth Finnigan, a senior at Leavenworth High School.
“I’m very excited. (Receiving the scholarship) means that I can expand my educational career,” Finnigan said. “I know what I want to do is not something that a lot of people do, so I’m quite excited to do that.”
Finnigan plans to attend Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., to study fish, wildlife and conservation biology in the hopes of working for the National Park Service in the future.
Two scholarships were awarded to continuing undergraduate students including Connor Engen, a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie, Wis.
“(This scholarship) will let me focus more on my schoolwork because I’m now dual majoring, so I’ll have a lot more on my plate,” Engen said. “This will put an ease on my mind, so I can focus on my studies.”
Engen is dual majoring in mechanical engineering and manufacturing engineering and minoring in math. He said he hopes to go into a field that focuses on discovery or green energy.
Two scholarships were awarded to Army spouses including Elisabeth Stone.
“Receiving the scholarship is what truly allows me the opportunity to continue my education, which I intend to then take and help nonprofits,” Stone said. “I want to get back to working with the USO.”
Stone is studying for her Master of Business Administration online through American Military University, which she said has been helpful with frequent Army moves.
“We came from Germany, were at Fort Leavenworth for a year and now we’re moving to Korea,” she said. “My education travels with me.”
Along with the three regular scholarship awards, the ceremony marked the inaugural year for the community scholarship, awarded to one high school senior in the community within a 25-mile radius of Fort Leavenworth. Applicants did not have to be affiliated with the FLSC or the military.
Paige Kincade, LHS senior, was the recipient of the community scholarship.
“For me, being the first one, it’s an honor because I know many people who applied for the scholarship who were community people who were not necessarily based through the Spouses Club that have some of the best resumés that compare to mine,” Kincade said.
Kincade said she plans to study biology with a focus in pre-physical therapy at Pittsburgh State University in hopes of one day becoming a physical therapist for the Army.
During the award presentations, Lt. Gen. James Rainey, Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth commanding general, congratulated each scholarship recipient.
“The country right now has a lot of challenges and the Army has a lot of challenges, and we’re working on all those, but one thing I’m a big believer in is taking time to recognize excellence,” Rainey said. “Leaders get paid to solve problems, but it’s easy to get busy and distracted, so whenever I get a chance to take a few minutes and recognize excellence, I always try and break away to do that.”