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Students honored for academic, vocal talents

July 15, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

CLEAR SPRING - Clear Spring's mayor and Town Council members recently recognized two students for their academic achievements and a third who has excelled in the arts.

Ashley Keeney was the recipient of the 2003 outstanding student scholarship awarded by the town - $500 she will be able to use toward her undergraduate studies this fall at Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Md.

"When I tell people I'm going to be studying biochemistry, everybody says how hard that will be," Keeney said. "But I think genetic research will be exciting."

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Keeney, 18, said her biggest decision will be whether to direct her studies toward plant genetics or human research.

"I did my internship in the laboratory at Washington County Hospital and the Robinwood Medical Campus," Keeney said.

While she said she was "everywhere" during her hospital stint, she mainly worked with Judy Wilson in pathology.

"While working in the blood bank, I learned a lot about autologous blood donations, where patients donate their own blood that is then given back to them when they have surgery," Keeney said.

When she wasn't studying or interning, Keeney said she was haunting the guidance counselor's office at Clear Spring High School trying to find as many scholarships as possible.

"I have enough scholarships to take care of my first couple of years," said Keeney, who is working this summer at Whitetail Mountain Resort to earn money for school.

Keeney showed her appreciation for the scholarship with a letter she read aloud at the June town meeting.

"I wish to express my gratitude to the town for allowing me and other students with similar drive to learn and pursue our respective career interests," Keeney said in her letter. "I will do my utmost to succeed. Thank you ... for making the dream of a college education a possibility."

The daughter of Sherry Keeney knew she wanted to go to a small school and for a while was trying to decide between Mount St. Mary's or Delaware Valley in Pennsylvania.

Keeney said she will live on campus but will be able to visit home more often from Emmitsburg than if she had chosen Delaware Valley.

Heather Irvin, 18, won the mayoral scholarship of $500, which she plans to use to defray her expenses at Hagerstown Community College this fall.

"I've chosen the human services field of study, but I'm not exactly sure where I will be taking it yet," Irvin said.

Earlier in her years at Clear Spring High School, Irvin would have told anyone who asked that she was going to be a journalist. But a stint working at a shelter for the abused changed her direction.

"I got an internship at CASA (Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused) at the end of my junior year and that changed everything," Irvin said. She said a Washington County Public Schools representative had a list of possibilities from which to choose.

"You picked and then they tried to find you a spot," she said.

During her stint at CASA, Irvin said she worked with staff member Heather Burns.

"I spent time just answering telephones, but sometimes I got to attend counseling sessions," Irvin said.

That experience two hours a week for eight weeks changed her career direction, she said.

Irvin said her first year at HCC is covered, as well as most of her second year, with other scholarships. But the $500 scholarship from the town will be put to good use, she said.

She is the daughter of John and Robin Irvin.

With achievements in another field, Diana Bryan has been recognized by the Clear Spring mayor and council members for her musical talent. She demonstrated her singing ability at the conclusion of the June town meeting.

A recent graduate of Clear Spring High School, Bryan, 18, is the daughter of Harry and Tammy Bryan of Clear Spring. She has studied voice with Niki Perini for seven years, and has won competitions and received awards of excellence in classical voice.

Bryan most recently won first place in the classical category of the National Association of Teachers of Singing regional vocal competition in North Carolina. She also placed second in the Broadway category.

In the past school year, she won first place in the Shepherd College vocal competition, qualified for regionals at the Md./D.C. Chapter of NATS, received superior ratings at the solo and ensemble festival at the county and state levels, and was named the Maryland Symphony Orchestra's Musician of the Month for May.

Bryan will pursue her goals at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., where she will major in vocal performance.

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