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Saint James student from Hagerstown wins prestigious scholarship

April 14, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

ST. JAMES - C.W. Wollard was with his family March 5 when the e-mail they had all been waiting for appeared in his inbox.

His eyes focused on one word.

"As soon as I saw 'Congratulations,' everyone started screaming," he said.

The 17-year-old Saint James School senior had been awarded the Morehead-Cain, a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that includes enough bells and whistles to make your head spin.

"It was one of the most exciting moments of my life," said Wollard, who is from Hagerstown and serves as senior prefect at Saint James.

The scholarship, awarded this year to 79 of the world's top high school students, covers not only tuition, but all student expenses, including student fees, housing, meals, books, supplies, travel, a laptop computer and four summer enrichment programs. All told, the value for out-of-state-students is about $140,000, according to the scholarship Web site.

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But Wollard said the most exciting part, for him, is the opportunities the program will open up in the form of personalized mentoring and a vast alumni network.

"In my entire life, if I want a job, I just go to the Morehead and find out if there are any alumni working there," he said.

Wollard, a self-proclaimed "math-science guy," has not decided on a major, but looks ahead to a future of virtually limitless possibility.

"If you want to go work on your honors thesis in Zimbabwe, they'll pay for it," he said. "It's just an amazing opportunity."

Wollard is the son of Diane and Carroll Wollard of Hagerstown and has five sisters. He attended Boonsboro Middle School before starting at Saint James, a private co-educational boarding school south of Hagerstown, in eighth grade.

He was nominated for the Morehead-Cain by the Saint James nominating committee and selected based on his achievement in the areas of leadership, scholarship, moral force of character and physical vigor, Saint James spokesman Michael Straley said.

"He's very driven, and he certainly represents our school really, really well," Straley said.

Wollard was captain of the school's varsity wrestling team for two years and captain of the varsity football team for one year. He played baseball at Saint James for four years but is not playing this season due to an injury.

Prefects at Saint James serve as liaisons between the student body and the faculty, oversee the dormitories, and help make administrative and disciplinary decisions, Wollard said.

As senior prefect, Wollard also serves as president of the prefect council, president of the honor council and student representative to the alumni council.

The title also comes with a big dose of visibility and a responsibility to act as a paragon of the school's values.

"It was an adjustment, getting used to knowing that basically every kid in the school is looking up to me," Wollard said.

He balances his sports schedule and senior prefect duties with a full load of advanced-placement classes, and was inducted into the Cum Laude Society at the end of last year.

He also serves as an usher in the school's chapel and a tour guide for prospective students.

And, like a true leader, Wollard views his selection for the program as an opportunity to inspire others.

"What I'm hoping is that some second-former hears at lunch that I got this chance and is now doing what he needs to do to get it, too," he said.

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