Davis Maine Scholarship recipient Rachel Colby of Gouldsboro. Courtesy Maine Seacoast Mission.

NORTHEAST HARBOR — Six hardworking Downeast high school juniors learned recently they were selected as Maine’s first Davis Maine Scholars. The students — all first-generation college bound — will each receive a full four-year cost of attendance scholarship at one of three Davis Maine Scholarship partner colleges: Clark University (Worcester, Massachusetts), University of New England (Biddeford) and Wheaton College (Norton, Massachusetts).

It is through the generosity and vision of Andrew Davis, director of the Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund that these Downeast students now have a clear path toward a bachelor’s degree from one of New England’s leading private liberal arts colleges. In collaboration with Maine Seacoast Mission and the Davis Maine Scholarship partner colleges, this scholarship program was created to ensure that more first generation college students from rural Washington County and eastern Hancock County have the opportunity to complete undergraduate degrees, untethered by financial burden.

The Davis Maine Scholarship is modeled after the highly successful Davis New Mexico Scholarship and the Davis United World College Scholars Program. In announcing Maine’s inaugural recipients, Director Andrew Davis of the Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund said, “Congratulations to our first Davis Maine Scholars. Such talented, motivated students have earned this opportunity to shine. These first role models will serve as inspirations to and bridges for younger students to recognize the opportunities that come with a collegiate education and ultimately will strengthen the Downeast communities they call home.”

The six inaugural Davis Maine Scholars attend Narraguagus High School and Sumner Memorial High School. They were drawn from Maine Seacoast Mission’s college exploration and engagement program which they joined during their freshman year. Applicants were assessed based on academic achievement, personal strengths, school and community engagement, and an application process that included essays, recommendations, and interviews.

The Narraguagus scholarship recipients are:

* Holly Lisett Anderson of Harrington, the daughter of Rachel Vincellette

* Mali Smith of Columbia Falls, the daughter of Jason and Kimberly Smith

The Sumner scholarship recipients are:

* Mya Abbott of Franklin, the daughter of Chris and April Abbott

* Rachel Colby of Gouldsboro, the daughter of Jason and Laura Colby

* Emilee Hutchins of Winter Harbor, the daughter of Jeff and Tracey Hutchins

* Ana Rosa Valencia Jungo of Sullivan, the daughter of Elio Valencia Guzman and Rosalba Jungo Zavala

Narraguagus High School Principal MaryEllen Day said, “We are so very proud that Lisett and Mali were selected as Davis Maine Scholars. This program will open many doors for these wonderful students. They have worked hard throughout their years and are very deserving of this opportunity. Narraguagus looks forward to them doing great things!”

The Sumner Guidance Team of Corinna Domagala and Lucille Null, reacted to the news by saying, “Sumner Memorial High School and our students are incredibly thankful for the opportunity to have the Davis Scholarship and all the wonderful avenues it will open for them.”

Working closely with partner high schools and colleges, the Davis Maine Scholarship program will provide students ongoing mentoring and guidance as they apply to college and transition through it. The program also includes parent workshops and support. The expectation is that Davis Maine Scholars will earn their undergraduate degrees in four years. 

Davis Maine Scholarship Director Christina Griffith said, “Our Davis Maine Scholars each demonstrate inspiring academic commitment and remarkable persistence, including through the pandemic. Their achievements reflect their courage, heart, and unwillingness to give up no matter the weight of the challenge. Alongside their families, I am so honored to celebrate and support them on their continuing academic journeys.”

For more information go to https://www.seacoastmission.org/what-we-do/student-pathways/davis-maine-scholarship/.