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Allegany County Women’s Action Coalition Offers “Changemaker” Scholarship to ACPS Student

The Allegany County Women’s Action Coalition (ACWAC) recently implemented a “Changemaker” Scholarship for the 2022-2023 school year. The ACWAC defines “Changemakers” as diverse individuals who make a difference in the lives of others as they further the creation of a vibrant, healthy, safe, and loving community that brings people together for the greater good. These “Changemakers” see problems in the world and want to do something about them. “Changemakers” can be vocal advocates, champions of causes through organized projects, or quiet volunteers who make an impact, one person at a time.

“This is the first year for the scholarship and we really believe it ties in with the Women’s Action Coalition Mission of really building a stronger community and diverse voices, and making a safe place for women and families to live and raise their family comfortably,” says Cherie Snyder, Chair of the ACWAC Scholarship Work Group. The Scholarship work group also consists of members Carmen Jackson, Steven Wollett, and Cresta Kowalski.

Students were encouraged to apply, using one of two options: either by using an essay or an artifact prompt. The essay prompt addressed the Ninth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, what it means to the applicant personally, and how it impacts women’s rights in the United States. The artifact prompt asked for the application to create and communicate their role as a “changemaker” and how they would use their unique talents to improve their community. The artifacts could be written, painted, sculpted, photographed, filmed, etc.

One award was presented to the winner, as well as two honorable mentions, at the Allegany County Board of Education public board meeting, held on May 9, 2023. “We at ACPS are always looking for ways to amplify student voices and support the next generations of change makers. We also highly value our community partnerships,” says Dr. Sarah Welsh, Assistant Supervisor of Student Services, Equity, and Mental Health. “It is in the spirit of both of these things that I am very pleased we have been able to offer a new opportunity to our students, thanks to the Allegany County Women’s Action Coalition.”

Miss Gibson-Thoele was announced the winner and was presented with a $500 scholarship, based on her submission of an essay on the ninth amendment and how it relates to women in society. “I feel extremely honored to be the first recipient of this award,” says Miss Gibson Thoele. “The Women’s Action Committee is an important action group in our community and I am humbled to be associated with this amazing group of people.”

Honorable mention places went to Miss Abigail Grove and Miss Olivia Looker. Miss Grove submitted an artifact in the form of a poem, used to express her own choices to pursue her career goals, regardless of how others feel about her right to do so. “I feel honored to have received recognition for my application and I have so much appreciation for the Women’s Action Committee and their creation of this scholarship,” says Miss Grove.

Miss Olivia Looker was the second honorable mention. She also chose to submit an application using the ninth amendment as a position statement, and wanting to see women gain power to take action and make changes in their own communities. “I’ve always felt inspired by women’s activists and applying to this scholarship supplied me with the opportunity to not only display my appreciation for their work, but to show women everywhere that we are powerful, smart, and strong,” says Miss Looker.

For more information on the Allegany County Women’s Action Coalition search WAC, Greater Allegany County on Facebook. 

*Pictured left to right: Cherie Snyder - Chair of the ACWAC Scholarship Work Group, Olivia Looker, Tessa Gibson-Thoele, Abigail Grove, and Carmen Jackson - ACWAC Scholarship Work Group member.