The Rome Noon Optimist Club presented its annual Student of the Year awards and cash scholarships during a Tuesday night banquet at Sweet P’s at the Palladium.
Each high school in Rome and Floyd County submitted entries in three categories: All Around, Community Involvement and the Fernando Guzman-Ambriz Life Hero.
“These were some of the most impressive entries we have received in the history of the program” said Priscilla Watkins, chairperson. “The judges told me they spent many hours determining the final rankings.”
The top winner, placing first in the All Around category and awarded a $1,000 scholarship, was Ellie Getchell, a Model High school senior and daughter of Glenn and Laura Getchell.
Runners-up receiving $500 awards were Emma Clark of Pepperell High School, daughter of Mary Clark, as well as Matthew Diprima of Unity Christian School, son of Amy and Richard Diprima.
The Community Involvement first place award of $750 for outstanding service both in the school and community went to Pepperell High School’s Kaitlyn Morgan, daughter of Brian and Kelly Morgan.
Runners-up receiving $500 awards were Alice Barngrove, daughter of Dawn and Kenneth Barngrove, and Carolyn Smyth of Coosa High School, daughter of Gola Burton and Robert Smyth.
Named for the late Fernando Guzman-Ambriz, a Coosa High School student who bravely fought a years-long battle against cancer, the Life Hero awards recognizes students who excel despite major personal challenges.
The top three finalists — each receiving $500 awards — were Madison Burton of Armuchee High School, daughter of Janeise Wilson; Thomas Cade Maynor, son of Tommy and Corinthia Maynor, dual enrollment at College and Career Academy and Pepperell High School; and Sean Mullins of Model High School, son of Kelly Mullins.
Funds for the annual scholarships are derived from proceeds from the club’s annual pancake breakfast held each year the Saturday before Thanksgiving, said Club President Mark Swanson.