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Congratulations to 2012 Youth Scholarship Program Winners

Posted By Communications, Thursday, May 24, 2012

This year, ESA awarded $10,000 in scholarships to children of first responders through the Youth Scholarship Program. ESA and participating state chapters have proudly awarded more than $330,000 in scholarships to youth around the nation since 1996.

First Place

Emma Soneson of Higganum, Conn. is the first-place winner of the ESA Youth Scholarship Program, receiving a $7,500 scholarship for her outstanding essay and academic achievements. In addition to winning the national award, Emma first competed against applicants in Connecticut to win the Connecticut Alarm & Systems Integrator Association (CASIA) Youth Scholarship Program. Emma won first place at the chapter-level, received a $1,000 scholarship and became eligible to compete at the national level.

Emma will graduate as valedictorian from Haddam-Killingworth High School with a 4.28 GPA. Emma is also president of the National Honor Society, Future Leaders of Haddam-Killingworth and the Photo Club. In addition, Emma has volunteered at the University of Connecticut Health Center as a research assistant since June 2011.

Mark Soneson, Emma’s father, is a policeman at the Berlin Police Department. In her essay, Emma said this about her father: "As a policeman, my father gives up his private interests for the larger public good. His choice of career has inspired me to also choose a career path in which I will be able to reach out and help people.”

Emma will attend Yale University this fall. She plans on continuing her education with hopes of one day becoming an anesthesiologist.

Second Place

Courtney Keene of Tampa, FL was awarded second place, a $2,500 scholarship, for her impressive essay, scholastic achievements and community involvement. Courtney also had to win a preliminary round before being eligible for the national awards. As a student who resides in a state without a participating ESA chapter, she applied directly to ESA, along with more than 50 other students from around the country. Courtney was selected as the ESA national nominee to compete with each of the 14 participating chapter winners and received $1,000 for her nomination. This marks the second time in 16 years of the Youth Scholarship Program that a student residing in a state without an ESA chapter has received one of the national awards.

Courtney will graduate third in her class from Steinbrenner High School with a 4.0 GPA. Courtney played an instrumental role in garnering support for the American Cancer Society at her high school by founding the club People Aware of Cancer in 2009. As the founder and president, Courtney organizes volunteer activities for her peers that help raise funds for cancer research.

Courtney’s father, Charles Keene, is a Deputy Sheriff of Hillsborough County. In Courtney’s application essay, she reflected on her father’s profession. "Self-sacrifice is a trait that was unknowingly instilled in me at a very young age and can be attributed to only one thing, and that is my father's responsibility to his community as a homicide detective.”

This fall, Courtney will enter the School of Engineering at Vanderbilt University.

Tags:  scholarship  Youth Scholarship Program 

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