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Marne Spouses give $18,500 in scholarships
Marne Scholarships groupweb
High school students who earned Marne Community and Spouses' Club scholarships pose for a photo. RHHS's Hayden Eskridge is at left, while Elizabeth Bentley and Sarah Beth Mullins are in the middle. - photo by Photo by Jason Wermers

Continuing education
• Whitley Thompson, $1,500, attends and will continue at Liberty University
• Chanelle Craig, $2,000, attends and will continue at Duke University
• Thomas Killough, $3,600, attends University of Hawaii, currently undecided on where he will continue

High-school seniors
• Brittany Browne, $1,000, South Effingham High School, will attend Ogeechee Technical College
• Mary Squires, $1,300, home-schooled, will attend University of Alabama
• Hayden Eskridge, $1,500, Richmond Hill High School, will attend Auburn University
• Sarah Beth Mullins, $2,000, Richmond Hill, will attend Auburn
• Elizabeth Bentley, $2,000, Richmond Hill, will attend Alabama

Rita Ackerman Scholarship
• Cole Coston, $3,600, Bradwell Institute, will attend University of Arkansas

2014-15 truly was a banner year for the Marne Community & Spouses’ Club, and several high-achieving students in military families will reap the benefits.

The club shattered its previous records thanks to two successful fundraising events — the Boil & Baskets Auction in November at Richmond Hill City Center and a golf scramble in April at Taylors Creek on Fort Stewart.

As a result, the club was able to give away $18,500 in scholarships to six high-school seniors and three who are continuing their education. The club gave away a total of more than $30,000 to the communities surrounding Fort Stewart.

Brig. Gen. James Blackburn, the deputy commanding general-maneuver for the 3rd Infantry Division, was the guest speaker during the scholarship awards ceremony Sunday afternoon at the Fort Stewart Museum. He said the integrity of the process to choose the scholarship recipients is “unchallengeable.”

“The fairness that goes into the scrutiny applied to each file is beyond comprehension — more than they should’ve done, frankly, because as this organization, they can do what they want,” he said. “They raised the money, but they went the extra mile to make sure that this couldn’t be challenged. So all of you should feel very good because you rose where you are and what you’re going to receive today because of your own merits, and what you have done, as noticed by this committee.”

Recipients interviewed said they were thankful for the financial help as they pursue their college educations.

Richmond Hill High School senior Hayden Eskridge, who received a $1,500 scholarship, plans to major in business at Auburn University. He eventually wants to receive a Master of Business Administration.

“Education is probably one of the most important things in the world,” he said. “The smarter you are, the better person you can be, the more you can help others out.”

Fellow RHHS senior Elizabeth Bentley was elated by her $2,000 scholarship award. She only spent her last year as a Wildcat; she previously attended two high schools as her family moved from installation to installation.

“It makes me feel extremely proud, especially to be a military brat, you know, traveling so many places throughout 17 years and going to so many different high schools,” said Bentley, who plans to attend the University of Alabama. “Being rewarded for all the excellence and academic success is very rewarding.”

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