By Justin Creech, Belvoir EagleMay 31, 2013
The Fort Belvoir Officers and Enlisted Spouses Clubs awarded 10 local military children college scholarships during a reception at the historic Quarters One at Fort Belvoir, May 22.
The 10 recipients were selected from 75 applicants and awarded scholarships between $1,000 and $3,000. The scholarships will aid each recipient during their first year of college starting in the fall.
"Each one of these children has earned the respect of a grateful military community," said Monica Scrum, BOSC president. "Success and progress come with hard work and education comes with responsibility. We are all confident each one of these children will handle that responsibility."
The BOSC awarded six scholarships while the BESC awarded three. The last scholarship came from First Command Financial Services.
Providing financial aid to military children is very gratifying, according to Solana Higdon, BESC Scholarship Committee lead.
"I had no idea this was going to be such a fulfilling job," said Higdon. "I called everyone and let them know they had won a scholarship. It was so great because they were so excited and so appreciative. I feel wonderful."
Recipients of the scholarships are honored and thankful to receive the aid, said Benjamin Canady of Clifton, Va. who received a scholarship from the BOSC.
"It's not every day you get an award like this," said Canady. "So, I'm very thankful."
Canady will attend the University of Alabama in the fall and will major in international studies. Canady, whose father is in the Navy, spent his middle school years in Japan and wants to be a diplomat to that country.
"A lot of people mistake the major Asian countries as being the same, but they are all very different," said Canady. "Each country has something valuable to contribute to society."
Sheeka Sharma, Harryford Village resident, is one of three military spouses to receive a scholarship. Sharma received her scholarship from the BESC and will use it to continue to take classes at Stratford University in Woodbridge, Va. Sharma has been taking classes in the baking and pastry program at Stratford since October.
"I am insanely happy," said Sharma. "When I found out I was like, 'No way!' My husband and children are excited, too. My children are five and three and they were like, 'Yay, mommy.'"
One class at Stratford costs nearly $1,700, according to Sharma. So, the extra money will certainly ease the financial burden on her and her Family, plus give her some options.
"$1,000 is a big chunk of my tuition," said Sharma. "It's good to know I can take an extra class if I want to."
First Command Financial Services was founded in 1958 by former Air Force Lt. Col. Carroll Payne. Payne endured financial hardship as a child and wanted to help ease the financial hardships for military Families, after working closely with the Families of several crew members killed in a training flight.
First Command Financial Services chose Anthony Applewhite of Fairfax High School as this year's scholarship awardee. Applewhite, who will attend George Mason University in the fall, received a $3,000 scholarship.
"I'm honored to receive the scholarship because I did not expect to receive a scholarship in this amount of money, especially from military people," said Applewhite. "I was surprised to have them help me in this fashion."
Tom Malinski, FCFS financial advisor, attended the reception to award Applewhite the scholarship.
"He's had remarkable achievements in school and in life. Our company founder faced a lot of hardships early in life and used them as motivational tools," said Malinski. "Anthony has done the same and he's doing whatever he can to push forward and not only help himself, but help others."
Among Applewhite's many accomplishments are having interned at John's Hopkin's and Cornell University. These feats at such a young age thoroughly impressed Malinski.
"Interning at John's Hopkins and Cornell University as a high school student is stuff you normally don't do," said Malinski. "He's an amazing young man."
Finding a cure for Alzheimer's disease and post-traumatic stress disorder are among Applewhite's future goals. He is thankful there are organizations around like First Command Financial Services, the BESC and BOSC that want to help military children.
"The military doesn't always receive the support it deserves," said Applewhite. "So, for the military to help out other people is really nice of them."