Congratulations to the 2022 Katie Herzog-Apalachicola Riverkeeper educational scholarship winners. The recipients are Savannah “Sage” Brennan, Myia Maxwell and Annie Smith, all seniors at Franklin County School.
The students were selected by a committee that weighed leadership qualities and academic achievement. The committee also considered applicants’ outside interests as well as their overcoming of hardships. Similarly, interests in a natural resources field were judged.
Applicants were required to be residents of Franklin County.
The core of the scholarship selection process involved a submitted one-page essay explaining applicant aspirations and achievements. “The essays were impressive; they inspired us all,” said Georgia Ackerman, Riverkeeper and executive director. “They introduced us to three remarkable and determined young women who we believe will make their mark in life.”
The students will individually receive $2,000 toward college tuition and/or additional academic expenses.
The scholarship was formed to memorialize environmentalist Katie Herzog by her husband, Tom Herzog, after she passed away in 2021. “Katie and I were both high school educators, so supporting students is what we have always done,” said Tom. “Katie was greatly involved with Apalachicola Riverkeeper for many years. The scholarship and this organization are a perfect match.”
Ackerman remembers Katie as one who worked tirelessly for Apalachicola Bay and River waters, and all their life forms, as much as she loved them. “Katie walked the walk,” said Ackerman. “She brought so much enthusiasm to her work throughout our community. Katie Herzog put care into action.”
Annie Smith, scholarship recipient, will be the first of her family to attend college. She was a member of the National Beta Club and the National Honors Society. She has been involved in numerous volunteer efforts in the community including working with the Franklin County Animal Shelter. “I am a true believer in working hard to achieve what you want in life,” Annie wrote in her scholarship application essay. “If you don’t have that diligent mindset, then how do you expect to thrive in life? For my whole life, all I’ve wanted was to be successful.”
Smith’s art teacher, Karyl Gavigan, has high praise for her student in a letter of recommendation to the scholarship committee. She wrote that Annie “is studious, hard-working and extremely talented.
“She was a joy to work with and I feel honored to recommend her,” Gavigan wrote.
Maxwell will also be the first in her family to attend college and is a sixth-generation native of Apalachicola. Her goal is to receive an elementary teaching degree; she begins classes this fall at Gulf Coast State College.
“My favorite thing to do is to help others,” she wrote in her scholarship essay, adding that she wishes to bring her gained knowledge and dedication to the Apalachicola Bay Charter School on college completion.
“I cannot help but to want to stay in Franklin County,” Maxwell wrote. “It is truly a paradise.”
Maxwell was president of her senior class and vice-president of the National Honor Society. “I have witnessed Myia’s dedication to her academic success,” wrote Melanie Copeland, her school counselor, in a letter of recommendation. “She is not only an excellent and hard-working student but is also an extremely caring individual.”
Brannan also brought high credentials to the Katie Herzog -Apalachicola Riverkeeper scholarship committee. She is president of The National Honor Society, vice president of her senior class, and vice president of The Beta Club. She has also volunteered with Franklin County Emergency Management and as a youth leader at her church. A 2021 Sunshine State Scholar, she achieved a grade point average of 3.98 to be first in her class, and will also be the first in her family to attend college. She has been involved in numerous extracurricular activities including sports and community affairs.
Kathryn Strunk, Sage’s instructor in history and economics, summed up her student’s worthiness in a letter to the scholarship committee. “I can personally attest to her attention to detail and seeing each and every job through to completion,” she wrote. “Sage excels, and it gives me great pleasure to offer her my highest recommendation. “
The students and family members joined the Apalachicola Riverkeeper staff and selection committee at the Riverkeeper office for a recent boating trip and reception.