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Local sailors earn Demere scholarships
Richmond Hill sailors Ryan Tillman and Emerson Stephens receive the Robert Demere Scholarship during a ceremony at the Savannah Yacht Club.

On May 15 at the Savannah Yacht Club, two Richmond Hill High School sailors, Ryan Tillman and Emerson Stephens, were presented with the Robert Demere Scholarship. This scholarship is in memory of the late Robert Demere who was one of Savannah’s very best ocean racers.

Each year, nominees from the Savannah area for this prestigious award are submitted to an eight-member scholarship board. Beginning last year, the Richmond Hill High School program was included in this nominee process. Nominees are submitted by coaches and sailing program directors in the area. Each candidate is required to fill out an extensive application which includes not only sailing experience and results but also community service and academic accomplishment. Along with the application are two letters of recommendation. The Demere Scholarship Board then chooses those that they wish to consider and each candidate goes in front of the board for an interview. It is through this interview that the final winners are chosen.

Last year’s recipients included Richmond Hill High School graduate and sailor Avry Gutkowkski. Richmond Hill High School Sailing coach Carrie Rohde said everyone in the program is very excited to have two winners this year.

As part of the scholarship, the two will be sent to the Charleston Ocean Racing School for one week of their choice this summer. Due to the experience of both sailors, they will spend a week in Charleston, South Carolina learning how to race a Melges 24. To top off the experience, the owner of the school has asked both sailors to compete in a regatta the following weekend.

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