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Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Local student receives DeCA military scholarship award

By Lance Cpl. Kevin J. Ridlon | | July 15, 2004

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This past spring, more than 7,000 high school seniors applied for the "Scholarship for Military Children" program, which was initiated by Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael Wiedemer, director of the Defense Commissary Agency.

This year, after careful review, Kathryn Sechrist, daughter of retired Army Master Sgt. Tom and Laurie Sechrist of Albany, was the winner of the $1,500 scholarship.

"We are thrilled to report that the scholarship program is an enormous success in helping military families defray the costs of education," Wiedemer said. "We're proud to be associated with a program that has awarded more than three million dollars to nearly 2,000 students since its inception in 2001."

The scholarship is given to sons and daughters of U.S. military ID card holders to include active duty, retirees, and guard and reserve members, who are graduating high school seniors or students currently enrolled in a four-year program. They must have a minimum of a 3.0 grade point average, demonstrate community involvement and write a short essay to be considered.

"Kathryn was an excellent choice for this scholarship," said Earl Means, military food broker and Kathryn's sponsor. "She has gone above and beyond the requirements for this scholarship."

Kathryn, who was born in Wurtzburg, Germany, has lived in numerous places while her father was in the Army to include Pennsylvania, Texas and California.  In 1997, she moved to Albany.

While in high school, she was involved in the marching, jazz, and concert bands where she played the flute, keyboard and bassoon. She was also on the Flagline, a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, Spanish Club and Drama Club.

Outside of school, Kathryn was an active member in the youth group at Avalon Methodist Church, and participated in two mission trips to Tennessee.

For two summers, she lived away from home working with the Student Conservation Association.  In the summer of 2002, she lived in the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area with a work crew building and repairing trails. In the summer of 2003, she lived in the Haleakala National Park in Hawaii where she worked on invasive plant removal and trail maintenance.

Kathryn is currently living and working at the Joseph Jones Ecological Research Center in Newton, Ga. as a field assistant.  She looks forward to attending the University of Georgia, where she will pursue a major in Geology.

"I have always felt lucky and blessed to be a military child," Kathryn said. "I liked to travel and meet new people. If I wasn't a military child, I don't think I would have been able to do the things that I've been able to do."

Kathryn was presented the scholarship at the commissary July 8, with family and commissary workers looking on.

The money for the scholarship is funded by the manufacturers and suppliers that support commissaries worldwide, and is administered by Fisher House Foundation.  Hefty EZ Foil funded this scholarship.

"We are proud of our daughter," Laurie Sechrist said. "She has shown us that she is independent, makes good choices and do the best that she can do."

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