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Miller, Burr win scholarships

The Fredonia-Pomfret Democratic Association recently announced recipients of the JFK and Joe Sweeny scholarships.

Both scholarships are awarded annually to a graduating Fredonia High School senior. The criteria for the awards include a minimum 3.0 grade point average, a record of community service, letters of recommendation, along with an interview and an essay. The awards are given without regard to political affiliation.

Lauren Miller is the recipient of the JFK Scholarship, a financial award for college-bound high school seniors. In her essay, Miller credits her mother’s example and support for her own commitment to community service. She believes volunteering is a way to do good and to improve her community for future generations. Always quick to volunteer for a good cause, Miller once helped plant more than 300 trees in one day. Ranked in the top 10% of her class, she is an active participant and organizer for many events including Relay for Life, MS Walks, Interact Club (aka Key Club), Special Olympics, Christmas basket projects at her church, and village clean-ups.

The Joe Sweeny Scholarship, also a financial scholarship, was established to celebrate a life dedicated to public service, education, workers’ rights, justice, and equality. Chair of the Social Studies Department in the Dunkirk Public Schools, Sweeny was a passionate advocate for teachers and students, a NYSUT board member for more than 30 years and chair of the local Democratic Party.

In her award-winning essay, Marissa Burr, this year’s recipient of the Joe Sweeny Scholarship, refers to a quote by George Santayana — “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” — and believes this statement is still relevant today. Burr plans to be a teacher someday and encourages people not to get “stuck” because everyone can find opportunities to improve. Marissa has served as editor of the school paper, was one of the founding members of the Gay Straight Alliance and was the vice president of the local chapter of the National Honor Society.

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