The MaryEllen Locher Scholarship Fund at CHI Memorial Foundation has awarded 23 college scholarships totaling $69,500 to Chattanooga area students for the 2021-22 academic year.
The fund is a college scholarship program for children who have either lost a parent to breast cancer, have a parent who is a breast cancer survivor, or have a parent who is currently in treatment. The organization was founded as an independent nonprofit in 2002 by MaryEllen Locher, a long-time news anchor and health reporter for WTVC in Chattanooga. Formerly known as the MaryEllen Locher Scholarship Foundation, it joined with CHI Memorial Foundation in January 2021.
MaryEllen started the foundation during her own battle with breast cancer because she was concerned about her own son’s future education. She did not want other parents to share that concern while they were struggling with this disease. MaryEllen passed away in 2005 after her third bout with cancer.
Over the past 19 years, the fund has awarded 540 scholarships totaling $981,500. The awards are designed to ease the emotional and financial burdens faced by families dealing with breast cancer.
“We are proud to support these worthy students,’’ said Jennifer Nicely, CHI Memorial Foundation president. “Our winners have gone through hardships at early ages as they endured breast cancer battles with their families. We are excited to invest in their futures.’’
Winners for the 2021-22 academic year represent 14 area high schools in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Recipients are:
Connor Beach, Ooltewah High School graduate, attending the University of Mississippi
Saylor Brown, Notre Dame High School graduate, attending the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Gorski Family Scholarship
Katie Carden, Bradley Central High School graduate, attending East Tennessee State University, Jan Moses Scholarship
Kyla Downs, Chattanooga Christian School graduate, attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Weston Gilbert, CCS graduate, attending ETSU
Logan Griffith, Walker Valley High School graduate, attending Middle Tennessee State University
Olivia Hamilton, CCS graduate, attending the University of Georgia, Angels Among Us Scholarship
Zoe Hamilton, CCS graduate, attending Southern Adventist University, Angels Among Us Scholarship
Daelynn Hopkins, Collegedale Academy graduate, attending Southern Adventist University
Karis Kelly, Gilmer High School graduate, attending the University of Georgia, Wanda Weller Scholarship
Samuel McArthur, Gilmer High School graduate, attending the University of North Georgia
Grace McDonald, McMinn County High School graduate, attending Maryville College
Samuel McDonald, Walker Valley High School graduate, attending Sewanee: The University of the South
Matthew Merritt, McCallie School graduate, attending Yale University, Guardian Angel Scholarship
Emalee Nix, Girls Preparatory School graduate, attending UTK
Luke Qualey, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences graduate, attending UTC, Rock City Scholarship
Cooper Ruehling, Rhea County High School graduate, attending Bryan College
Allie Sanders, Soddy-Daisy High School graduate, attending UTC
Madison Sims, Baylor School graduate, attending Alabama A&M University, Lisa Shields Scholarship
Anna Thomson, Soddy-Daisy High School graduate, attending UTC, Evelyn’s Scholarship
Nikki VanDusen, Walker Valley High School graduate, attending ETSU, Tom and Kaky Bible Scholarship
Sophia Williams-Marlow, Collegedale Academy graduate, attending Southern Adventist University
Zane Williams-Marlow, Collegedale Academy graduate, attending Tennessee Wesleyan University
Funds for scholarships are raised through special events, individual donations, corporate sponsorships, and private grants. The CHI Memorial Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and all contributions made to the MaryEllen Locher Scholarship Fund are tax-deductible.
CHI Memorial Foundation also sponsors Mel’s Club, a breast health awareness and education program for teen girls. Topics covered include myths and misconceptions about breast cancer, prevention and detection of the disease, and how to do a breast self-exam. Mel’s Club also includes remarks from a breast cancer survivor. Presentations are available for schools, churches, civic organizations and clubs.
For more information on Mel’s Club or the MaryEllen Locher Scholarship Fund, visit memorial.org/MELScholarshipFund or contact Cindy Pare, MaryEllen Locher Scholarship Fund coordinator, at Cynthia_Pare@memorial.org.
Online donations to the MaryEllen Locher Scholarship Fund can be made at memorial.org/foundation. Checks can be mailed to CHI Memorial Foundation, 2525 deSales Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37404. Please make a notation to direct to the MEL Scholarship Fund on the memo line of check.