SJR State students receive Rotary Club of St. Augustine Scholarship
The Rotary Club of St. Augustine recently awarded two $1,000 endowed scholarships to St. Johns River State College students Emanuel Mara and Melissa Hagerman. Applicants were required to be degree-seeking students, have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher and reside in St. Johns County. Additionally, they were to research Rotary International and describe their knowledge about this organization as well as explain how they would apply these four questions, known as Rotary’s Four-Way Test, to their lives: “Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all?”
At the start of 2016, the Rotary Club of St. Augustine officially established an endowed scholarship, a permanent, self-sustaining source of funding, at SJR State. Endowment assets are invested, and a portion of the earnings is paid, annually, in the form of scholarships.
Katherine Batenhorst, president of the Rotary Club of St. Augustine, said, "We want to help students be successful and introduce them to all that Rotary does. The Rotary Club of St. Augustine is pleased to provide these scholarships."
Both graduates of St. Augustine High School, Mara, 19, and Hagerman, 40, are also pleased about this opportunity that will significantly help support their education. “I'm super stoked and so grateful,” said Hagerman. “I can't thank God enough for this and all of my blessings,” said Mara.
Mara, who began his studies at SJR State in the fall of 2015, made history when he formed a Rotaract Club at the College’s St. Augustine campus, where he currently serves as the club’s president.
Adding to his list of firsts, Mara recently became the first Student Government Association State Executive Board member for the Florida College System and currently serves as the Board’s director of legislative staff. Mara credits the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), a summer camp he attended while in high school, for deeply inspiring him to believe in himself and to give back. Mara said RYLA was also the reason he decided to join the community-focused Interact Club while in high school.
Mara, who is a member of several college clubs as well as a student worker in the administration office on his campus, said that the Rotary Club scholarship shows him that Rotary appreciates the vision of students. “The scholarship is not only an appreciation of hard work, but really shows that our Rotary Club wants to invest in our future, and that is vital for St. Augustine, moving forward,” he said. “The scholarship motivates me to keep working hard, and it will pay off. My grandad always said, ‘The more you give, the more you get.’ That has really been my mindset all year.”
Hagerman, who balances single-parenting with working on a degree, enrolled in SJR State’s business program in 2015 and excels in and out of the classroom. Due to adversity that she has fought to overcome, Hagerman stated that she desires to be “a sign of hope to others who see no way out.” A member of both the Rotaract and Business Clubs at SJR State’s St. Augustine campus, Hagerman is also a Kid’s Workshop captain at Home Depot and dedicates numerous hours to serving her community, including volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, Dining with Dignity, the Homeless Coalition, Home Again St. Johns, and the St. Francis House. She enlists her children to do the same. “We all have the power to make a difference,” she said.
About receiving the Rotary Club of St. Augustine scholarship, Hagerman said, “It is such an honor to be selected for this scholarship. I love everything that the Rotary Club stands for! I try to make a difference in my community and am committed to spreading kindness and respect for others. To be selected for this particular scholarship raises so many emotions for me and encourages me to live the Rotary life.”
SJR State’s Vice President for Development and External Affairs Caroline Tingle said, “Endowments enable donors to create scholarships in perpetuity. The Rotary Club of St. Augustine has invested in SJR State and our students, and to the club and its members, we are thankful.”
The Rotary Club of St. Augustine recently awarded two $1,000 endowed scholarships to St. Johns River State College students Emanuel Mara and Melissa Hagerman. As part of the application process, students were to describe their knowledge about Rotary International and explain how they would apply the Rotary’s Four-Way Test to their lives.