Kayla Bennett Gets McKelvey Scholarship
Touted as a "modern and contemporary" teen, a Hustontown area girl with both an eye and hands for art as well as a mind for business was recently selected as this year's lone scholarship recipient by the McKelvey Foundation, an organization that has been celebrating "drive and determination" in area youths since 2000.
Eighteen-year-old Kayla Bennett was selected by representatives from the McKelvey Foundation from a sizeable applicant pool from Forbes Road's Class of 2009. While Bennett was surprised about her final selection to receive a $3,000 annual scholarship to any four-year college in Pennsylvania, she did tell the "News" that in the back of her mind she hoped the fact that she currently operates a business in her spare time, centered around the design and creation of jewelry, would be enough to edge out the tough competition.
"The McKelveys are big on opening businesses and entrepreneurialship," said Bennett, the daughter of Malissa Steigerwald of Hustontown and Bernard "Bernie" Bennett of York.
In order for Bennett to even apply for the annual scholarship, Foundation requirements stipulate applicants must be the first generation within their family to attend college and show involvement in work and extracurricular activities. Bennett is a member of the district's tennis team and serves as co-captain of the cheerleading squad. She also is treasurer for the FCCLA, president of the FBLA, vice president of the National Honor Society and is a member of both the yearbook staff and Varsity Club. For a number of years, she played for the Lady Cardinals field hockey team.
Furthermore, multiple requirements must be met to maintain her good standing with the McKelvey Foundation and continue receiving her annual scholarship allotment. Participants must maintain a 2.5 grade point average, reside on campus for at least the first two years of college and continue involvement in both work and additional activities.
Additional funding of $2,500, according to Foundation guidelines, is also available to participating scholars interested in studying abroad.
While Bennett doesn't have a definitive answer on what her career will involve after obtaining a degree in art, with a minor in business, the possibility exists that her passion and creativity could lead her into event planning. The focus of those events, Bennett added, could include the use of some of her artpieces that currently include sculpture and, of course, handmade pieces jewelry.
While her creative side isn't limited to jewelry and the use of clay, Bennett is excited about having the opportunity to broaden her horizons and learn various techniques, including the creation of slump glass, glass blowing, enameling and soldering. Already on her schedule of things to do before heading off to Shippensburg University this fall is weaving and stained glass as well as trying her hand at teaching.
Within weeks following her graduation from Forbes Road, Bennett will be one of three local artists, including Lisa Black and Judy Appleby, to instruct chil- dren in grades three through 12 on the ins and outs of sculpture and weaving. Organized by the Fulton County Parks and Recreation Commission, the five-day camp to be held at the Forbes Road School District will emphasize both an Americana theme and various techniques used by cultures from across the world.
The camp is a follow-up to five weeks of hands-on instruction received by Bennett at the Governor's School last summer in Erie. While not a requirement of the Governor's School, participants are urged to return to their communities, share their knowledge and give back.
"That was a fun time," said Bennett of last summer's learning experience, "But it also was a emotionally, physically and mentally exhausting time."
The McKelvey Foundation was created in 2000. During its initial year a total of 16 rural Pennsylvania students were awarded scholarships. The following year, 140 students from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New York were selected. This year a total of 125 scholarships were awarded.