The MaryEllen Locher Scholarship Fund at CHI Memorial Foundation has awarded 28 college scholarships totaling $85,000 to Chattanooga area students for the 2022-23 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 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 20 years, the fund has awarded 568 scholarships totaling just over $1 million. 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 2022-23 academic year represent 18 area high schools in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Recipients are:
Lily Andrews, Signal Mountain High School senior, Evelyn’s Scholarship
Connor Beach, Ooltewah High School graduate, attending the University of Mississippi
Adeline Bearden, Adairsville High School senior
Savannah Blanks, Ringgold High School senior, Gorski Family Scholarship
Saylor Brown, Notre Dame High School graduate, attending the University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Isabella Campos, Notre Dame High School senior
Katie Carden, Bradley Central High School graduate, attending Cleveland State Community College
Daniel Douglas, Cleveland High School senior, Wanda Weller Scholarship
Robert Downs, Chattanooga Christian School senior
Madeline Flynn, Girls Preparatory School senior
Bailey Fowler, Ridgeland High School senior, Lisa Shields Scholarship and Rock City Scholarship
Weston Gilbert, CCS graduate, attending ETSU
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
Brileigh Hicks, Bradley Central High School graduate, attending UTK
Iris Luce, Collegiate High School graduate, attending Lee University
Grace McDonald, McMinn County High School graduate, attending Maryville College
Matthew Merritt, McCallie School graduate, attending Yale University, Kramer Family Scholarship
Luke Qualey, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences graduate, attending UTC
Alana Ratchford, GPS senior
Sarah Reed, Ringgold High School senior
Carson Ruehling, Rhea County High School graduate, attending Bryan College
Madison Sims, Baylor School graduate, attending Alabama A&M University
Anna Thomson, Soddy-Daisy High graduate, attending UTC, Guardian Angel Scholarship
Emily Thomson, Soddy-Daisy High School senior
Rachel Turner, Cleveland High School senior
Nikki VanDusen, Walker Valley High School graduate, attending ETSU, Tom and Kaky Bible Scholarship
Braeden Wiggins, Cleveland High School senior, Volley for a Cure Scholarship
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 de Sales Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37404. Please make a notation to direct to the MEL Scholarship Fund on the memo line of check.