Rotary Club of Aiken awards $75,000 in scholarships to 15 students
Before Christian Rogerson heads to Brevard College in North Carolina, he is looking forward to getting more sleep after graduating from South Aiken High School on June 6.
And Rogerson said he would be sleeping easier this summer because he was among the 15 recipients of scholarships from the Rotary Club of Aiken on Monday during the organization’s meeting at Newberry Hall.
The Rotary Club distributed a total of $75,000, awarding each student selected by its Scholarship Committee $5,000.
“My mom was really worried about me having student loans and normal kid-out-of-high-school stuff to deal with, so this scholarship helps lower that stress,” said Rogerson, who plans to study exercise science at Brevard. “It also makes it less stressful for me.”
Rogerson is a member of the tennis team at South Aiken, where his mother, Kathleen, teaches.
He will be a member of Brevard men’s tennis squad, but he won’t have an athletic scholarship.
For two years, Rogerson has worked at The Reserve Club.
“I take care of the tennis courts and the pool,” he said. “I have to wake up before school to take care of the courts and then I go back at night to take care of the pool.”
In addition, Rogerson restrings tennis rackets.
Between academics, tennis, his activities as a DECA club member and his job at The Reserve Club, Rogerson has a hectic schedule.
“There is not a lot of sleep involved,” he said. “But I’ll get a little bit more sleep this summer because I won’t have to show up (at The Reserve Club) before school.”
Another Rotary Club scholarship recipient was Chancellor Nguyen, whose parents, Tony and Sonya, immigrated to this country from Vietnam before he was born.
Tony and Sonya are nail technicians, and they own Image Nail Spa on Whiskey Road. Previously, they had a similar business located in the Aiken Mall.
“They would work about 12 hours a day to support me and my two brothers,” Nguyen said.
At South Aiken High, Nguyen is the senior class president and he also is a member of several organizations, including the Beta Club.
Nguyen works at Chick-fil-A, and he also has spent a lot of time volunteering.
“I’ve got over 400 volunteer hours,” Nguyen said. “The place that left the biggest impact on me was Aiken Regional Medical Centers. I volunteered in the ICU (intensive care unit) one summer and the pharmacy the next summer. That’s how I found out about my love for pharmacy.
“I like that I’ll be able to help patients, as well as doctors and nurses, in a hospital pharmacy or a retail environment,” he continued. “And I will get to meet people. It just appealed to me more than being a doctor did. I enjoy knowing all the information, as well, and how medications work together to help cure people.”
Nguyen will attend the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
Additional recipients of Rotary Club scholarships included Stephen Canepa, Austin Taylor Alexander Emanuel, Jason Garrison, Jahleel Johnson, Samantha Oakley and Nyasia McKie.
The others were Sierra Nieto, Holly Revell, Justin Snipes, Seth Wade, Carlie Beth Wilson, Anslee Wood and Montana Youngblood.
There were nearly 80 applicants this year for Rotary Club scholarships.
They were evaluated on their extracurricular activities, the importance they attached to furthering their education and examples of their dedication to Rotary International’s “Service Above Self” motto, according to the Rotary Club of Aiken’s website.
Also considered were the challenges they had overcome, their need financially for a scholarship and their own efforts to find ways to pay for furthering their education.
To be eligible for assistance, students had to be high school seniors. They also had to live in Area 1 of the Aiken County Public School District or attend a school located in Area 1.
Donations from Rotary Club members provide money for the organization’s scholarship fund.
In addition, the Rotary Club announced in 2017 that Gary and Virginia Albrecht would donate $50,000 annually for 25 years to the fund through a charitable trust.
Gary Albrecht died this past March at the age of 86.