Since 2015, I’ve provided scholarships to students throughout our local community. My nonprofit scholarship fund at Thornton Academy and Old Orchard Beach High School has provided over $5,000 worth of scholarships so far. And we’re just getting started.
My objective with the scholarships has been to empower the next generation into leadership and service.
To ensure young people follow their passions along a path that best fits their hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Sure, a $500 scholarship might not seem much when it comes to tackling the ever-increasing cost of higher education, but every little bit goes a long way.
It’s been an honor getting to meet talented and passionate students who are limitless in their pursuit of their education.
Every year, I gain a more positive outlook for the future because of them. They inspire me to do and be better.
This year’s recipients are very worthy of the recognition and award. First, let’s start with my alma mater. Here are the Thornton Academy graduates: Noah Poulin, Natalie Ben-Ami, and Ashley Gonzalez.
I’ve known these three for many years now either from Saco Middle School or freshman year of high school onward.
They’ve volunteered and interned with me in the community and shadowed me at the state house. I’ve watched them grow up into the young adults they are today.
Noah Poulin wants to go into law enforcement and will be attending Thomas College for an accelerated baccalaureate/ master’s program.
Natalie Ben-Ami wants to go into policy, politics, or law and will attend the University of Southern Maine.
Ashley Gonzalez wants to go into medicine and will be heading south to attend the University of South Florida Honors College for biomedical science.
At Old Orchard Beach High School, this year’s scholarship recipient is Cierra Albert.
Cierra was a student representative on the local school board in addition to being class president for several years. She plans to pursue a degree in international relations at Syracuse University.
I have no doubt that they will all do amazing things in the future. They are hardworking, smart, creative, and passionate about helping people in their own way.
This is the next generation of leaders right here. It’s critically important we empower students like this to reach their greatest potential.
In total, I was able to offer $2,000 worth of college scholarships this year to some very deserving students.
Last Fall, we were thankful to receive a grant from Town & Country Federal Credit Union, but I rely on the support of community members who like to help support students in their academic endeavors.
We’ve held fundraising nights at Otto pizza, Painting with a Twist, and participated in the Hannaford Bags program to name a few. We’ve also helped organize volunteer groups for the annual Ironman Triathlon, that’s used a fundraiser for nonprofits.
If you’d like to support the Chenette Scholarship Fund at Thornton Academy and Old Orchard Beach High School, you can visit www.chenettescholarship.org or mail in a tax-deductible donation to P.O. Box 315, Saco, ME 04072.
The more money raised, the more scholarships we can offer. Your continued support of this nonprofit and its scholarships, means the world to me and I know it does the students.
Investing in the future generation yields major dividends for our community, state, country, and even the world.
Justin Chenette is serving his second term in the Maine Senate representing Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Hollis, Limington and Buxton. He is the chair of the Government Oversight Committee, co-chair of the Democracy Reform Caucus, and a member of the Environment & Natural Resources Committee. He is also a Citizen Trade Policy Commissioner. Outside the Legislature, Justin is a Realtor with the Bean Group, Marketing Coordinator of Saco Sport & Fitness, and is Vice President of Saco Main Street.
Beyond the Headlines
Weekly Column featured in The Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier Newspaper by Rep. Justin Chenette of Saco