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Bassatt, Smith awarded William B. Blank scholarships
By BRUCE HOTCHKISS
(June 7, 2016) Two college-bound students from Worcester County, Md., have been selected to receive the first scholarships of a new program established in the name of the late William B. Blank, formerly of Snow Hill.
The scholarship winners are Kelsey Bassatt of Snow Hill and Erin Smith of Bishopville. Each will receive grants of $1,500 a year for up to four years of study.
The scholarships are issued by the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore under the name of the William B. Blank DACA Scholarship Fund.
DACA stands for the former Delmarva Agricultural Chemicals Association, which was founded by Mr. Blank in the 1980s. The scholarship fund consists of money from the estate of Mr. Blank and of money left over in a DACA account, which had been sheltered by Mr. Blank in the final years of his life for future scholarship purposes.
The scholarships were presented to Smith and Bassatt at year-end school assemblies by Mike Priola of Ocean Pines, a longtime associate of Mr. Blank.
Smith attends Stephen Decatur High School and will be off to Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va., in the fall to prepare for a career in agri-business.
In her application essay, Erin wrote that her great grandfather, grandfather and father “have been farmers in Worcester County since the late 1930s … I hope to be the first woman running the farm operation as well as the fourth generation of farmers in my family.”
Bassatt, a senior at Snow Hill High School, will attend Salisbury University in the fall. She said she intends to put her agricultural studies to work to improve the lot of people in Third World countries.
In her essay, Kelsey spoke about what she called her “passion for helping people who cannot help themselves.”
As she has matured, she wrote, “I have struggled with the unbearable hardships faced daily by families in developing countries. Without job opportunities, many are left hopeless in a lifestyle of poverty. After college I will work to expand agricultural jobs in Third World countries.”
The Blank-DACA scholarships are being offered annually to graduating private or public high school seniors in the three counties of the Lower Shore of Maryland — Wicomico, Worcester and Somerset. Scholarship winners must maintain a 2.75 GPA in their college studies and intend to pursue a career in some phase of agriculture.