College Scholarship Pays It Forward
Growing up in the Burnt Cabins area, Sara attended Hustontown High School but had little hope of obtaining a college education due to her family’s financial standing. When she was awarded a full scholarship from someone she never even met, Sara found herself majoring in education and spent the following years working as a reading specialist.
Sara recently lost her battle with cancer, but her memory is living on through a scholarship fund established by her husband, Thomas Stratton of Chambersburg. Having seen what a dramatic effect one individual can make on another’s life, Stratton opted to “pay it forward” by offering a one-timeonly, four-year scholarship to a female member of the Forbes Road Class of 2010 who had a desire to pursue a teaching degree at Shippensburg University.
“It changed her life,” said Stratton of the person’s kindness that helped his wife better her life and also end the cycle of poverty. “ ... This is something to honor her memory and her life.”
Stratton along with help from his stepdaughter, Jill Hudock, found the selection process to be more difficult than initially anticipated. After having reviewed a total of six applications and speaking with the interested applicants, the family altered their original decision and instead awarded three scholarships last Tuesday.
The announcement made by the Stratton family and school administrators was received with tears of joy, hugs and promises of a new life. In addition to a promise of a full ride, the Stratton family will also cover book expenses for each scholarship recipient and offer $100 spending cash weekly for maintaining a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
“This probably doesn’t mean anything to some people, but Mr. Stratton pretty much saved my life. He’s an amazing person,” said 17-year-old scholarship recipient Angela Crebbs of Waterfall. Angela, the daughter of Raymond and Donna Weese, is trying to narrow down her future options between a career in nursing and social work, but is looking forward to the opportunity to attend Shippensburg University thanks to the Stratton family.
Angela told the “News” she had misunderstood the application guidelines and hadn’t intended to apply until she was encouraged by junior/senior high school guidance counselor Kathy Butler. Over her lunch break on the final day submissions could be accepted, Angela rushed to pick up an application as well as a glowing recommendation from teacher Jessica Volbrecht.
“I didn’t think this was a reachable goal,” said Angela, who works several days weekly at Starbucks in the Sideling Hill Turnpike Plaza. Prior to moving to the Waterfall area at the end of fourth grade, Angela and her family resided in Hagerstown, Md. “I probably wouldn’t have gotten this opportunity if I still lived in Hagerstown.”
Hope Everts, daughter of Bruce and Candi Caccia of Wells Tannery, will also be attending Shippensburg University this fall compliments of the Stratton family to study early childhood education. “I love kids,” said Hope of her decision to study education through what she terms an “outstanding” program at Shippensburg.
While she’s been busy throughout her tenure at Forbes Road involving herself in a variety of activities such as cheerleading, Drama Club, FFA, FBLA, FCCLA and student tutoring, Hope also works parttime at Sheetz convenience store in McConnellsburg.
In addition, she prides herself in her volunteerism. Hope told the “News” in conjunction with being an active member of the Dublin Mills Community Church youth group, she also donates time each summer to helping at a children’s day camp.
“I think it’s my work outside of school that probably put me over the top,” said Hope of the scholarship selection process. “I was pretty confident I would get some type of funding help.”
After reviewing job descriptions and speaking with individuals in the field, scholarship recipient Amber Bookheimer is leaning toward pursuing twoyear training as a medical assistant through Kaplan University. Amber resides in the Hustontown area with her grandmother, Mary Mae Bookheimer, and is the daughter of Shade Gap residents Charles and Dedra Shore.
As the only applicant not attending Shippensburg University, Amber, 17, stated based on her preference for Kaplan she had initially decided to not apply for the Sara Stratton Scholarship. Again, at the urging of Butler, Amber decided to throw her name in the ring for consideration.
“I’m so excited,” said Amber, who in addition to being class secretary has also participated in a variety of activities over the last several years ranging from cheerleading and softball to yearbook and FBLA.
Amber will hold the distinction of being the first person in her family to attend college, which has delighted her entire family and brought many tears of joy. Amber stated she immediately called her grandmother following the announcement last Tuesday and shared the news with her mother on the way to the gym.
“She started crying on the way to the gym once the realization sunk in,” concluded Amber of her mother’s reaction.