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Auction raises funds for scholarship foundation

November 16, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN -- By competing in and winning the Miss Maryland competition this year, Louise Schlegel, 20, earned about $11,000 in scholarship money.

The Silver Spring, Md., resident, who won the Miss Allegany County title before moving onto the state pageant, said that money will help her pursue a graduate degree after graduating from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. She's also considering seeking another undergraduate degree.

Schlegel was one of about 40 people in attendance Sunday at a fundraiser for the Miss Washington County-Miss Western Maryland Scholarship Foundation at the Plaza Hotel in Hagerstown. Money raised at the annual Taste and Benefit Auction, now in its sixth year, goes directly to scholarships for pageant participants, according to Julie Schimmel, president of the board of directors for the scholarship foundation.

Schimmel said the foundation gives out $3,000 to $7,000 in scholarship money each year. Money was raised Sunday through the sale of tickets, silent and live auctions, and a raffle.

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Schlegel, who will compete in January for the title of Miss America, said she was first drawn to the competition because of the opportunity to perform and the scholarships, which she said have been "very helpful."

Maddie Bohrer, 14, of Frostburg, Md., is Miss Washington County Outstanding Teen and Miss University City Outstanding Teen, and has received more than $200 in scholarships. Maddie said she uses the money to pay for dance classes, which she attends about four days each week.

Miss Washington County Christie Ganoe did not attend the fundraiser and is on leave for personal reasons, Schimmel said.

Ron Thomas, of Hagerstown, is vice president of the scholarship foundation and said the funds help the young women who participate go on to college when the cost might have prohibited them from enrolling.

Stacy Miller, Miss Washington County 2003, was working at a local restaurant and was unable to afford college when she was approached about participating in the scholarship program, according to a press release. She went on to win Miss Washington County, earning a $2,000 scholarship, which she used to enroll at Hagerstown Community College. She won additional money for competing for the Miss Maryland title.

Miller now works as an advertising sales director for Ridgerunner Publishing.

"The Miss Washington County Scholarship Foundation is the reason I am where I am today," Miller said in a press release. "The influence of the people in the organization was more than I ever imagined. I am so thankful for the amazing opportunities that I have been given over the years as a result of my involvement in the organization. It has truly changed my life."

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