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RCC student merits Commonwealth Legacy scholarship

Jaylee Strawman

Jaylee Strawman

At a luncheon in Richmond on November 17, the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education recognized the winners of the Commonwealth Legacy scholarships for the academic year of 2010-11. For Fall 2010, Rappahannock Community College’s Commonwealth Legacy Scholar is Jaylee Strawman of Gloucester County, who attended the luncheon with her mother, Jaysana Rodger. The Foundation gives these $3000 awards every year to one first-time college student from each of Virginia’s 23 community colleges. The recipients, who must be enrolled full time in an associate-degree program, must “not only excel academically, but be committed to developing themselves and others,” says a Foundation representative.

Strawman is a native of Charleston, South Carolina. She moved to Gloucester in her junior year of high school, and graduated from Gloucester High School in Spring 2010. A budding author, she was recognized as one of the top 10 student poets of Appalachia while still in high school, and is looking for a publisher for her recently-completed fantasy novel.

Although Strawman takes advantage of RCC’s online offerings for most of her classes, she also takes an active part in college life; she serves on RCC’s Student Affairs Committee, and was chosen to attend the annual Virginia Community College System (VCCS) Student Leadership Conference in Richmond, November 5-7. As part of her ongoing pursuit of an author’s lifestyle, she is currently forming a creative writing club at RCC. She works at a Gloucester Courthouse bookstore, Twice-Told Tales.

In addition to demonstrating academic excellence and leadership potential, students receiving the Commonwealth Legacy scholarships must be willing to promote both the scholarship program and community college education in general, and to act as mentors to future recipients of the scholarships. According to the Foundation, “While the scholarships are considered a long-term investment in some of our brightest young people, the contributions they are already making to our communities and colleges are substantial and impressive. We look forward to their accomplishments to come.”

Also attending the luncheon were RCC president Dr. Elizabeth “Sissy” Crowther; Victor Clough, RCC’s dean of college advancement; Robert Griffin, RCC’s dean of student development; and Richard and Janet Steelman of Northumberland County. RCC’s Commonwealth Legacy scholarship is named each year in honor of a different benefactor. It recognizes the Steelmans this year, for their unwavering support and volunteer work for the college, as well as their six-figure generosity to the construction project which is now expanding the health and science teaching labs on both RCC campuses.

“We knew that community colleges don’t often have many regular donors,” says Mrs. Steelman, whose father was a founder of New Jersey’s Ocean City Community College. “And yet community colleges can make an important difference” to the region and its people. Their gift, after being matched by their former employer, became one of the largest contributions from an individual to RCC’s “Soaring Together” fundraising campaign.

Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship Winner - Jaylee Strawman

Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship Winner - Jaylee Strawman

Jaylee Strawman (left, shown with VCCS chancellor Dr. Glenn DuBois) is RCC’s Commonwealth Legacy Scholar for the academic year of 2010-11.

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