Chamber committee awards 4 scholarships
JOHNSTOWN — Four seniors from area high schools were awarded $1,000 each in scholarship money by the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce in June, according to a news release.
They are Derek Countryman of Canajoharie High School; Ivy Dulysz and Haley Salisbury, both of Amsterdam High School; and ShayLyn Springstead of Broadalbin-Perth High School.
The Scholarship Program was established in 1986 to provide financial assistance and incentives to students interested in pursuing a course of college study. To be eligible, a student must be a high school senior graduating from a Fulton or Montgomery County high school in June 2019, or applicants who have previously graduated from a Fulton or Montgomery County high school. Applicants must also be attending or entering a two- or four-year college or university as of September 2019.
Entrants were judged by the chamber’s scholarship committee, based on the applicant’s essay, academic achievement, community involvement, economic needs, and information provided by two references. Personal interviews were also conducted with finalists as part of the awards process.
∫ Countryman is the valedictorian of his class, with a 96.8 grade-point average and has served as student council representative and student council president.
In eighth grade, the experience of feeling helpless while his brother suffered after a utility task vehicle accident inspired him to become certified in CPR and first aid and has also led him to his goal of studying medicine as a career. He hopes to become a cardiac surgeon and said, “As a doctor, if I were in a situation where medical attention and first responders were needed, I would be able to aid in saving someone’s life. This definitely is one of the best feelings you could experience.”
Along with his academic achievements and several community service activities, he is an Eagle Scout and three-sport athlete, competing in varsity golf, wrestling and track. He was named varsity golf team captain in both his junior and senior years.
He attended Boys State in 2018, and one of his teachers said, “He feels a civic duty and acts upon those ideals.” He has served as a student representative for state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara for the past two years
Countryman started his own business in ninth grade as a woodturner and currently is an artisan for national lifestyle brand Beekman 1802, making hand-turned wooden pens, spinners and snowmen for the company.
Along with volunteering, scouting, academics, business and athletics, he has also held several jobs through high school. His Scoutmaster said, “He is an extraordinary student, scout and is highly self-motivated.”
∫ Dulysz is interested in using her talents in music and combining them with her compassion for people. She will attend Nazareth College in the fall to major in music therapy in hopes of working with a special needs population.
She said, “I work in the self-contained classrooms within the Greater Amsterdam School District, wherein the students are multiply disabled, mostly nonverbal, and highly dependent on one-to-one assistance around the clock. I find the impact music has on these unique individuals critical to their development and a possible contributor to their ability to lead a more independent life … I have found that they enjoy and even thrive when listening to or involved in music.”
Academically, she is ranked fifth in her class, with a weighted average of 97.2. Her musical activities include marching band, jazz band, wind ensemble, pit orchestra, symphonic band, All-County Music Festival, and Area All State. She has also be honored with several awards.
As a student, she is also a leader. Highlights include being a member of the National Coalition Building Institute and National Honor Society.
She was chosen to attend the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership experience as an ambassador in 2017 and is still active as a junior staff member and area board president. In 2018 she was awarded the organization’s Presidential Volunteer Award for completing more than 250 hours of service in one year.
One teacher called her “an educator’s dream,” and another said “she has direction, focus and expends her energy in only the most productive and worthwhile activities.”
∫ Salisbury’s achievements include being class vice president, treasurer of the National Honor Society, and captain of the award-winning AHS majorettes.
She is ninth in her class and has maintained a 96.3 weighted average while taking at least three Advance Placement/honors courses each year. Teachers said, “She strives for perfect grades and works diligently to earn them.”
Aside from her achievements as a typical high school student, she is open about the fact that she has had to work to overcome what she said is a horrific family situation that left her mother struggling and her family forever affected.
About her resilience, one instructor said, “She is one of the strongest individuals and most dedicated students I have had in my 28-year career. I can’t even comprehend how she dealt with the issues that tore her family apart. She faced everything head on, helped her family get through it, and she did not let it define her as a person. The strength and elegance that she displayed showed who she truly was as a person.”
These challenges helped her define her goals. Her goal is to be a child and victim’s advocate lawyer to fight for those who were put in an awful situation like she was. She said she will “fight for victims who don’t have a voice.”
Salisbury was accepted to her first-choice school — Union College in Schenectady — and will major in sociology, law and humanities. She said, “this will help me to be a hero for kids who had their childhood ripped away from them like I had.”
∫ Springstead is 19th in her class, with a weighted GPA of 96.3. She will be the first person in her family to attend college when she begins her first semester at University at Albany in the fall.
She said, “Personally, the idea of receiving a college degree gives me a sense of confidence, motivation and pride.” She aspires to attain a degree in medicine and plans to focus her undergraduate years on both psychology and biology.
A teacher explained that she is one of the top-performing students in Advance Placement calculus and was also the same for honors pre-calculus. He said, “These courses are very competitive and her work ethic, mathematical ability and passion for learning are what has put her in, and keeps her in, these top positions.
He added “She is someone who you would want as a friend and on your team for any type work or challenge you may be doing. She is never rude, is always striving for excellence, and for finding a way to develop a thorough understanding of new content and skills.”
Another instructor said, “Along with academic success, she is active in her community and volunteers with a cheerleading youth camp, where she strives to be an exceptional role model for the young girls … She creates a positive atmosphere in the classroom, she’s honest, she works hard, and she is always helpful to her fellow students.”