By Pvt. Coby K. SmithMay 17, 2012
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (May 17, 2012) -- The children of two Fort Meade service members are among 10 high school students to each receive $50,000 college scholarships from Picerne Military Housing's private charitable foundation.
Our Family for Families First Foundation awarded the scholarships to Annalisa Irby and Nate Hutchings as well as students from Aberdeen Proving Ground; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Riley, Kan.; and Fort Sill, Okla.
"The caliber of students applying for our scholarships is exceptional," said Maria Montalvo, the foundation's executive director. "All of the applicants -- the children of active-duty service members -- are hard-working students who are active in their schools and communities and more than deserving of a college scholarship."
As a part of the application process, students wrote a 1,000-word essay focusing on how being the child of an active-duty service member made them a qualified and deserving recipient for an academic scholarship.
Irby, daughter of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jonathan Irby of the 704th Military Intelligence Battalion, believed graduating as Meade High School's valedictorian would give her a good chance at winning.
However, despite her confidence, the field hockey and tennis player said she was still very excited when she received the phone call informing her that she had won.
"Now, I don't have to worry about the financial burdens because they have all been taken away," said Irby, 18, who plans to pursue a doctorate in veterinary medicine.
Hutchings plans to use his scholarship to study at the University of South Carolina Honors College. The Severna Park High School student is the son of Chaplain (Capt.) Wyne Hutchings of the 308th MI Battalion.
Hutchings said he learned about the scholarship through a phone call he received while editing a video for his YouTube series, "Nate Talks."
After looking over the scholarship requirements and submitting his application, Hutchings received another call.
"It was interesting because the person who called me said that one of the things that made my application stand out was my YouTube series," the 17-year-old said. "They watched some of my videos and liked the creativity."
With interests that include video-blogging, theater and music, Hutchings is still deciding what to study.
Hutchings and Irby are part of the foundation's seventh class of scholarship recipients. The foundation has awarded more than $3.5 million in scholarships to families of active-duty service members.
"These are great kids," said John Picerne, president and CEO of Picerne Military Housing, who founded Our Family for Families First Foundation. "We are proud of them for what they've already achieved and are so happy to be part of the what they will become."