AAUW awards six college scholarships

BRATTLEBORO >> The Brattleboro branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) has awarded six college scholarships of $1,000 each to Windham County students, five to high school graduates and one to a mature woman continuing work towards a college degree.

Susan Francy and Ashley Hescock, both residents of Wardsboro, graduated from Leland and Gray High School and plan to attend Lawrence University and Franklin Pierce University, respectively. Francy hopes to become a neuroscientist, musician/composer or computer programmer, while Hescock's sights are set on teaching at the elementary school level.

Twin Valley High School graduates Kirra Courchesne and Maya Holshuh, both of Wilmington, will enroll at Simmons College and Keene State College, respectively. Courchesne hopes to become a high school English teacher and coach basketball. Holshuh's goal is to be an elementary school teacher.

Brattleboro Union High School graduate Kimberly Bau lives in Brattleboro and will be heading to Carnegie Mellon University to study mathematics.

Mature woman recipient Susan Daigneault of Newfane will attend Mount Holyoke as a Frances Perkins Scholar, with the goal of becoming a teacher.

Norma Shakun and Ann Wright-Parsons co-chaired the scholarship committee, with Carol Corwin, Karen Davis, Margo Neale and Joy Hayes serving as members.


The scholarships were funded by a generous contribution from Brattleboro Subaru and by the branch's annual fundraising used book sale and Guilford Welcome Center hospitality day. This year's book sale will be Sept. 29 and 30 and Oct. 1. The hospitality day is Friday, Sept. 22.

AAUW is a national organization that advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.

Information about the Brattleboro branch is available by contacting Membership V.P. Gillian Winner at 802-365-7215.

Holt Foundation awards grant to after-school program

Bellows Falls >> The Bellows Falls Middle School was recently awarded a three-year, $87,000 grant from the Fanny Holt Ames and Edna Louise Holt Fund to expand health and wellness activities for its afterschool program. The A.I.M. Afterschool Program (Achieve, Inspire, Motivate) was established in 2008 with the support of a federal 21st Century Community Learning Center grant; the program is structured and designed around the needs of the BFMS student population and is driven by two important principles: to provide students with opportunities for growth and self-discovery; and harvest a lifelong passion for learning. Students are able to participate in a supporting environment that encourages individuality, learning, creativity and self-respect.

The Holt Foundation Grant will support afterschool and summer programming with an intentional focus on health and wellness by promoting: healthier nutrition choices, gardening, physical movement, female empowerment programs, peer mentoring, community volunteering, collaborative student/parent learning opportunities, and outdoor summer activities.

"For many of our students, A.I.M. is more than just a place after school," said Afterschool Director Orianna Baez. "It is an important entity that plays a large role in their daily lives. This new initiative will allow us to provide high quality opportunities that nourish their bodies and mind."

The program will be collaborating with Food Connects, the Women's Freedom Center, and Windham Northeast Supervisory Union's Student Advocate & Family Liaison to achieve its intended goals. The Holt Fund was created through the generosity of Fanny Holt Ames and Edna Louise Holt. Both Miss Holt and her sister were longtime residents of Grafton, Vermont. In 1983, an automobile accident claimed the life of Fanny Holt Ames and seriously injured Edna Louise Holt. Following a series of hospitalizations, Miss Holt successfully recovered from her injuries. The experience had a profound effect on her view of medical care. She felt fortunate to have been able to afford the care she received and expressed a desire to help others access the same health and medical care opportunities. To date, the Holt Fund has invested over $10 million in programs to improve community health outcomes. Holt Fund recipients are meeting the health and medical needs of the community through a variety of innovative programs.

Local students receive Edward Lyon Trust scholarships

BRATTLEBORO >> Thirty-two Community College of Vermont students were recently chosen by the Edward A. Lyon Trust to receive scholarships to help finance a career-oriented associate degree or certificate program. To be eligible for the scholarship, students had to be 30 years old or younger, live in Windham County, qualify for need-based financial aid, and be enrolled in a degree or certificate program designed to lead to a specific career.

Windham County resident Edward A. Lyon, who passed away in 1966, left a portion of his estate to establish a trust that would provide scholarships to local young people to help in their pursuit of vocational education.

"We are proud to work with the Edward A. Lyon Trust to help make a college education more affordable for these 32 promising students in Windham County," said CCV Executive Director Tapp Barnhill. "It is critical that Vermonters have the opportunity to get the training and skills they need to prepare for today's careers. We are thankful to Edward Lyon for recognizing the value of career-oriented education and for establishing these scholarships for Vermont students."