The Marshall County Democratic Club awarded the 2019 Ken Burns Memorial Scholarships to two local graduating high school seniors this month.
Kayla Hannon of Grant and Natalie Paschket of Guntersville read their winning essays to the club at its May meeting and each received checks for $750.
Hannon will graduate from KDS DAR High School with a 3.86 cumulative grade point average and will attend Snead State Community College in the fall. According to her essay, she plans to work in the field of clinical psychology. Her grandmother Nell Hannon is active in the Democratic Party and ran unsuccessfully for Marshall County coroner in the last election.
Paschket has a 3.92 cumulative grade point average and will graduate from Guntersville High School. She will attend Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Club President Susan McKenney said that the scholarship opportunity was open to all Marshall County graduating seniors with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher who will attend an accredited vocational or academic 2 or 4 year institution as a full time student. Applicants provided documentation of participation in extracurricular activities, either school sponsored or of value to the community, a letter of recommendation.
They also submitted a 500-word essay on the topic “How do Democratic values reflect the values of Marshall County.”
Kayla Hannon wrote about mental health and other issues.
"I plan to go into clinical psychology which is a career that is badly needed in today’s society," Kayla wrote. "Mental health, in general, is not valued in today’s society, insurance coverage is lacking, and there tends to be a stigma around it. In Marshall County, it is a huge problem as well as the rest of the nation. It is reported that one in five adults with a mental health condition have an unmet need due to lack of an adequate mental health workforce."
She also wrote about education, particularly how teachers aren't paid enough, and the financial burden that can go along with attending college.
"Democratic values are people values," Kayla wrote. "We value people, family and our planet. These values reflect those of Marshall County because we value the future of the planet and the people and families that live on it. There is no Plan B."
Natalie Paschket wrote in her essay about how the people of Marshall County "exhibit encouraging, open-minded, and forward-thinking attitudes that exist because their personal and moral values are acted on in public settings."
She said she felt Democratic values help mold the community.
"Reflecting a supportive atmosphere and encouraging others to stand up for the issues that surround them rubs off on the younger generation, creating a more open-minded community," she wrote.