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Carson scholarship winner is dedicated to excellence

April 08, 2005|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

wandaw@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Betsy Warner is on an academic mission of excellence.

The three-time Carson Scholars Fund Inc. scholarship winner will receive her third $1,000 scholarship from the fund at a banquet in Baltimore on April 24th.

With a 4.0 grade-point average, the North Hagerstown High School freshman said she hopes to one day use her winnings to attend the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

"I'm driven by my own desire to be successful," said Warner, 14.

The scholarship fund was founded by Dr. Benjamin S. Carson Sr. and his wife Candy Carson in 1994. Carson is a Johns Hopkins pediatric neurosurgeon, motivational speaker and author.

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Warner is one of 400 recipients from eight states and one of five Washington County students who will receive Carson scholarships in the amount of $1,000 this year, said Marty Eaton, the fund's director of programs.

The scholarships are held in a fund and applied toward college expenses when the recipients are accepted to four-year colleges or universities of their choice. To date, more than 1,000 students have been named Carson Scholars, according to a fund representative.

Warner first won the scholarship as a fifth-grader at Maugansville Elementary School and won a second time as an eighth-grader at Western Heights Middle School.

The scholarship is open to students in grades four through 11 who are nominated by their schools. Winners are eligible to apply multiple times as long as they maintain a 3.75 grade-point average. Scholarship applicants also have to complete an essay on a selected topic.

This year's winners were judged on their academics, community service, and a written essay, Eaton said.

An avid reader, Warner said this year's topic - why reading is important - was easy for her to write about.

"I've been reading for as long as I can remember. My family is always reading and encouraging us to read," she said.

Reading "evolved from something I was pushed to do, to something I now enjoy doing," she said.

Inspired by Carson, who credits his mother for being persistent in pushing him to read as a child, Warner said Carson has taught her that education is essential to overcoming many obstacles in life.

North Hagerstown High School English and drama teacher Paula Stokes recommended Warner for the scholarship. She said Warner excels academically, and is well rounded.

"She gets along well with everyone in class, and she's dedicated and willing to work to achieve her goals," Stokes said.

Warner said she understands the peer pressure young girls face to look like fashion models, to start smoking and to use drugs. The oldest of three children, she said she comes from a home environment that's prepared her to avoid such temptations.

Warner lives with her parents, Dave and Debbie Warner, near Maugansville. Her parents said Betsy has always been wise and mature for her age.

"She's been older than her years since she was able to talk. She's focused, she's motivated, she's beyond her years and we're so proud of her," Dave Warner said.

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