ROCKLAND, Maine — Amber Hanson of Oceanside High School was one of four students honored with scholarships from Mainely Character, an organization that awards scholarships based on character as defined by integrity, courage, responsibility, and concern for others.
Amber Hanson received a $5,000 Mainely Character scholarship, sponsored by R.M. Davis, Inc.
Amber has overcome emotional losses and poor choices to make the most of her opportunities and to help others. She has demonstrated responsibility, integrity, courage, and concern for others.
After tragically losing both of her parents, Amber left school and became what she called “a troubled teen.” She eventually decided to take responsibility for her life, underwent treatment for substance abuse, returned to school, and chose different friends. Amber became a “driven” student, checking in her grades daily, earning honor roll status, and taking great pride in the success from her hard work.
She also began to give back, helping other troubled children as part of a mentoring program.
Amber plans to enter the University of Maine at Farmington in the fall to pursue a degree in sociology and ultimately a career as a social worker.
Madeline (Maddy) Gears received Mainely Character’s $2,500 Arnie Bushner Memorial Scholarship, sponsored by Northeast Bank. Bushner, the founder of Mainely Character, was a senior managing principal at Financial Benefit Services Corp.
Maddy impressed the judges with her modest yet confident personality, passion for what is right, and deep commitment to making her community a better place.
She demonstrated integrity and courage by intervening to protect others: standing up to protect an autistic child from bullying and another student from racist remarks. Risking a friendship, she also reported and sought help for a fellow student who confided that she was cutting herself and thinking about suicide.
Maddy is active in 4-H as a volunteer and mentor to younger members. She also gives her time at the Ronald MacDonald House and Preble Street Resource Center, and gathers gifts to donate at Christmas, and raises funds for cancer research.
Maddy plans to attend the University of Oklahoma as the first step towards becoming a veterinarian.
Karina Harriman received a $2,500 Mainely Character Scholarship, sponsored by Market Decisions.
Karina, who spent time in a women’s shelter with her mother, impressed the judges with her sense of responsibility and her resolve to give back and help others.
She gave up sports to work — a decision she described as “devastating” because of her love of sports — but one that demonstrated her understanding the difference between “wants and needs.”
Karina also demonstrated a drive to protect others by first confronting her mother’s abusive boyfriend, and later, while working at a nursing home, reporting a staff member who she felt was neglecting duties and putting patients at risk.
Karina has fond memories of a camp she attended as a child, and became a councilor because she felt it was “time to give back.”
Karina plans to study nursing at Eastern Maine Community College.
Jacob Douglas received a $1,000 Mainely Character Scholarship. Jacob became a fire department volunteer at a young age, and was often found comforting victims of fires or accidents.
When a fire ironically burned the family home in Vermont, the family came to Maine. While his father spent a majority of time rebuilding the home, Jacob stepped up to become “man of the house.” The support Jacob provided to his close-knit family also included helping his father whenever and however possible.
Born deaf, Jacob overcame a speech impediment and the abuse from classmates. He formed an anti-bullying group at his school, to prevent abuse of others.
Jacob also volunteers at a local soup kitchen.
He plans to attend University of Maine at Farmington where he’ll study biology.
“These four students stood out from a very strong field of candidates, and represent what Maine is about,” says Peter Richardson, Vice President of R. M. Davis, Inc. “They understand the value of hard work, perseverance, and good character, and are well on their way to becoming successful adults in both their chosen fields and in life.”
MainelyCharacter was established in 2000 to provide scholarships to Maine high school seniors who have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to the principles of courage, integrity, responsibility and concern for others. Through generous donations, the organization awarded $10,000 in scholarships in 2012, including $5,000 R.M. Davis, Inc. sponsored scholarships. Mainely Character is accepting new sponsors and donors to continue providing Maine scholarships to Maine students. For more information visit www.MainelyCharacter.org.