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King banquet benfits scholarship fund

January 17, 2004|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

wandaw@herald-mail.com

For nearly 20 years, Ruth Monroe and a group of local volunteers have raised thousands of dollars and awarded college scholarships to nearly 70 area youths in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

"We award $500 scholarships to students with a 2.5 grade point average," said Monroe, scholarship committee chair. "The Washington County School Board helps us identify African American and other minority students."

Scholarship money is generated from ticket sales at the annual Martin Luther King banquet. Volunteers have spent the last several weeks selling tickets to fill seats with "as many people as we can get," said Monroe.

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On Sunday, the committee will hold its' 18th annual banquet at the Martin Luther King Center at 131 W. North Ave. in Hagerstown starting at 3 p.m. Tickets cost $10 and will be available at the door.

"We know that $500 won't get a student through college, but it's a start," Monroe said.

In addition to ticket sales, the scholarship fund receives local support from the office of Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, and from Hagerstown Trust, Monroe said.

"The Ruth Monroes of the world deserve a lot of credit, and part of our role as a community bank is to help her facilitate her work and to open new doors," said Hagerstown Trust Senior Vice President of Marketing Dave Barnhart, who has supported the fund for many years.

"I think it's a great opportunity for a student in need who offers promise in attending the local college," Donoghue said. "It's also an opportunity for them to give back to their community."

King would support the idea that students pursue every opportunity available, Donoghue said.

Through the scholarship fund, Donoghue's office awards a renewable one-year full tuition scholarship to a student attending Hagerstown Community College.

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