Grace Smith to receive largest Ridge AMS award to date.
Ridge High senior Grace Smith has won the 2014 Ridge Alumni Memorial Scholarship, a $10,000 award that recognizes character and determination.
“Grace’s application moved and impressed us,” according to Carol Mason Schoenig, a member of the Ridge AMS selection committee. “Grace is blind. She had been home
schooled through the eighth grade, and entered Ridge High as one of the district’s very few visually impaired students. Not only did she have to find her way, she had to help faculty, administrators and peers find theirs.”
The Ridge AMS grant is unusual in recognizing applicants’ character, determination, and non-traditional achievements, rather than grades or test scores. Winners may use the award as they see fit, whether for tuition, transportation, travel, vocational training, or any
personal growth opportunity they identify.
Schoenig added, “From a crop of terrific candidates, Grace’s application stood out. Not only has she succeeded in high school, but she has advocated for herself and others at the state Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The
Commission sponsored Grace’s attendance at the National Federation of the Blind’s annual convention in Colorado, and after the program, Grace flew home from Denver independently.”
Grace reports that she was “elated” to learn she had won the scholarship. Next year she plans to attend Gordon College, in Wenham, MA, to study literature and
prepare for a future as a teacher and/or writer. She dreams of traveling to Spain and Germany, having studied German as a homeschool student and Spanish at Ridge.
Although the 2014 Ridge AMS was initially announced as a $9,500 award, organizers were able to surprise Grace by increasing it to $10,000. “The generosity of our donors made that possible,” said Schoenig, adding, “We were especially touched by the kindness of the Patrick J. Tuohy family, who lost their husband and father earlier this year. In the midst of their grief, they thought to request that, in lieu of flowers, friends and family make donations to the Ridge Alumni Memorial Scholarship in Patrick’s memory.
Apparently Patrick read about Ridge AMS winners in the BaskingRidgePatch, and printed out stories he found inspiring to show his own children. We were deeply moved and honored that his family thought of Ridge AMS while facing a terrible loss.”
That generosity helped make Grace’s award is the largest Ridge AMS grant to date. She will receive the funds at RHS’s annual Awards Night on June 4. In recent years, there’s been no larger grant presented at the RHS Awards Night, other than scholarships to specific colleges or universities.
Schoenig said, “Ridge High and the Basking Ridge community can be proud of Grace - and all this year’s candidates. It’s a real pleasure to review the applications of these seniors, who have demonstrated character and courage in the face of challenges.”
Organizers donate all expenses associated with
Ridge AMS, including legal counsel, website development, and promotion. This allows all contributions to go directly to student awards. Ridge AMS contributions are tax-deductible.
For more information on the Ridge Alumni
Memorial Scholarship, visit: http://RidgeAMS.googlepages.co m