Among the thousands of students in this country, there are some who stand out for having both extraordinary academic records as well as huge hearts. The Carson Scholars program serves to recognize these types of students, awarding them $1,000 scholarships toward future academic endeavors.
Two students at this school, junior Alexis Bentz and senior Jenna Oringher, have been recognized this year, adding to their previous six years of experience participating in this program. Each of these years, because they maintained excellent academic grades and made substantiantal humanitarian contributions, Bentz and Oringher have been awarded the scholarship. They reapply every school year, completing the lengthy application process of an essay, biographical information, community service details, report card and teacher recommendation.
More than just providing money for students’ educations, the Carson Scholars program strives to recognize future leaders who will in turn inspire other students to follow in their footsteps. According to the Carson Scholars Fund, “Carson Scholars are role models in their schools and encourage their peers to succeed academically and contribute to their communities. Collectively, they are shaping a better future for themselves, their schools and the country.”
These same values are echoed by the recipients themselves. Their enthusiasm and persistence in being learners both in school and in life set them apart from their peers. “Volunteer work is necessary to developing your compassion and heart, which, I think, is more important than anything you can find in a textbook,” Bentz said.
In addition to preaching these values, they also practice them in their own lives. Oringher first received the nomination in sixth grade as a result of her act of kindness toward a local hospital. “I made bracelets that I sold and donated the money to the neonatal intensive care unit at Shady Grove Hospital. I thought it was important to support such a vital program that saves lives on the daily,” Oringher said.
Bentz has an active current volunteer role, leading others into service through a club she founded. True to the aim of the Carson Scholars program, Bentz goes beyond satisfying graduation requirements for community service hours to fulfill a deeply rooted desire to aid and support others. “To give back to the community, I volunteer at The Village at Rockville retirement community as a part of the club I founded, Generations Together. In it, participants spend time with the residents doing activities such as art projects, interviews, board games and more. It’s a great way to not only volunteer, but also develop connections with some truly inspiring people,” Bentz said.
The first year these students applied to the program, they were each rewarded with $1,000 in scholarship funds. In all subsequent years they are recognized for excelling in academics and humanitarian qualities. “It’s fulfilling to be recognized for my academic achievements and volunteering. Getting to know other people at the award ceremonies too with the same passions is amazing as well,” Bentz said.