Rotary scholarship winners are a first

Published 12:44 am Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Selma Rotary Club honored seniors Leslie Schroeder of Morgan Academy (middle, left) and Naadira Pettway of Keith High as winners of its annual scholarship, Monday. The honor is a first for the organization. Both girls were awarded with $750 each. Also pictured, scholarship chair Mike Jung (left) and club president John Nettles. -- Desiree Taylor

For the first time ever, the Selma Rotary Club announced two winners of its annual scholarship during a meeting held last week.

Seniors Naadira Pettway of Keith High and Leslie Schroeder of Morgan Academy received $750 each to go toward their college education.

Pettway, who is planning to major in chemical engineering at the University of Alabama, will use the scholarship toward expenses.

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“It’s a great honor to win this scholarship because it will help me pay for school and it wouldn’t be such a hardship on my parents,” Pettway said.

Schroeder said she was “excited” to also be named as winner.

“This is such a huge help and, such an honor to win,” Schroeder said, who will be attending Auburn University in the fall.

Pettway and Schroeder were chosen from a pool of high school students from across Dallas County.

Rotary president John Nettles said in his more than 10-year membership, this is the first time the organization has chosen two winners for its annual scholarship.

“We emphasize different avenues of service, youth being one of them,” Nettles said. “The scholarship program is our service to the youth every year. Each year, we invite all schools in the county to [choose] one candidate.”

Nettles said candidates later come to a Rotary meeting to give a presentation, highlighting their accomplishments, plans for continuing education and on how they will give back to the community. Candidates are then ranked from lowest to highest. The final candidates, Nettles said, made an impression.

“Everyone is awarded something,” Nettles said. “[Pettway and Schroeder] were both very impressive — in the matter they presented themselves; one was very poised, and one did research of Rotary. We were like, ‘Wow.’”

The organization, in partnership with Tally Ho, also awarded $1,000 to SABRA Sanctuary and inducted its newest member, Mark Frasier.