2011 HFA Scholarship Winners

William R. "Bill" Higdon, chairman of the HFA scholarship committee, has announced this year's taented recipents of the $1000 Higdon Family Scholarship: Lauren Nuckols, of Mesa Arizona; and Jaclyn Higdon, of Shady Side, Maryland. Both young women were praised by those who recommended them as being outstanding candidates for the scholarship. Lauren Nuckols, who is entering Briham Young University this fall as a freshman, is the granddaughter of HFA member Nola Higdon Matthews of Mesa, Arizona. Jaclyn Higdon, who will be a transfer student at the University of Maryland, is the great-granddaughter of HFA member Francis X. Higdon, Julian Pennsylvania.

One of Lauren's teachers stated, "Lauren is one of the most conscientious students I have had over the last eighteen years of teaching." Another teacher wrote, "Her radiant smile exemplifies her attitude towards life and other people. She is always gracious, appreciative and complimentary of others." Among her high school accomplishments were winning a spelling bee, earning an Orange Belt in Tae-Kwon-Do, serving as studnet body treasurer, and being elected to the National Honor Society her senior year, as well as being named a National Merit Finalist. She plans to major in elementary education at Brigham Young U.

Jaclyn's teachers praised her as "an enthusiastic, focused, and hard-working young woman." One wrote, "In high school, in addition to achieving Honor Roll status every year, she was a dedicated member of the music and drama department of her school, participating in multiple choirs and small group ensembles as well as acting in the school plays every year." She received the Director's Award for Choral Music and acted in Jekyll and Hyde, Little Shop of Horrors, Into the Woods, and Big River. While working full time, Jaclyn successfully completed two years of study in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Mary washington, Fredericksburg, Virginia. This fall she will continue her pursuit of a degree in psychology at the University of Maryland.

In their applications both women introduced themselves and told of their plans for the future. Here are excerpts from what they wrote:

Lauren Nuckols 11

LAUREN: "I am the second of four children; I have an older sister, Catherine, a younger sister, Morgan, and a younger brother, Jacob. I have lived in mesa, Arizona since the age of seven, except for my freshman an sophomore years of high school during which time I lived in Guayamas, Mexico with my family. While there I became fluent in Spanish and experienced a new culture that I have come to love. Throughout my time in high school, I have dedicated myself to my education. However, I have still found time to develop myself outside of school through hobbies, community service, and by being activew in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
As a sophomore living in Mexico, I participated in a speech contest. I wrote, memorized, and delivered a speech in Spanish in front of an audience and a panel of judges. I was surprised when, out of my sophomore class, I was named the winner. My junior year, I was recognized as the female Student of the Year. I love working with my hands and creating. Baking and cooking, sewing, and writing are all favorite pastimes of mine. I love teaching and helping others. For the past two years I have been in my church choir and this year joinged my school choir. I am also interested in sports an dplayed tennis my junior year.

My family is very important to me. I love spending time with them, whether it be simply watching movies, going out to dinner, or playing games in the park. My older sister, Catherine, is currently attending BYU in Provo, Utah where I too have been accepted I am excited to be able to attend such a great school with my sister, [Editor's note: Catherine Nuckols was awarded a Higdon scholarship last year.]
Throughout my high school years, I have given service to my community through events organized by my school, church and simply with my family. All in all, I have more than 150 hours of service. I am continuing this service through my involvement in the National Honor Society and Student Council at my school. In Church, I received what is called the Young Women's Medallion. This award s given after a young woman has completed experiences and projects that develop her talents and testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In total, the amount of time spent on these requirements exceeds 70 hours. In addition to my medallion, I also received the Honor Bee after reading the Book of Mormon again and serving others for at least 40 hours.
I have may goals that I wish to accomplish in my life. I wish to increase my understanding of the world around me, enlighten and educate my mind, and improve my skills and abilities. I hope to serve an LDS mission and plan on being married in an LDS atemple and becoming a mother. I also hope to make teaching others a large part of my life and have therefore decided to pursue a career in elementary education with a minor in Spanish, in order to qualify myself more for work and to pass on the love I have for Spanish."

Jaclyn Higdon 11

JACLYN: "Don't forget, you are third on my list!" That is what I have said to any boy in the past if things started to get serious. The first two items on my list are my family and my education. I have a long term goal to receive a bachelor's of science degree in psychology and then to go on to receive my master's degree in marriage and family counseling. The heartwarming moments I experience growing up, especially around the dinner table, are memories that drive me to attain the education I need in order to assist individuals to develop that sense of family. I feel strongly about the need for family therapists in today's society, A supportive and encouraging environment is vital for the formation of any human being.
When I was younger, my mother felt that it was very important for my sisters and I to learn charity and selflessness through volunteer work. She took us to an assisted living home. We painted the female residents' nails, and we exchanged stories. I also brought my guitar and sang for them. As I looked at the elderly in front of me I was deeply touched. They were enjoying my singing voice but in that moment I represented their sister, daughter, or great aunt Sally. Whoever I was to them, I bruoght them the gift of reliving the moments they shared with the individuals closest to them. This is a great example of another key aspect of family life that I regard as very important: the intermingling of different generations. This allows the spread of education, values, and respect for the simple things in life.

One key aspect of my family life that has helped us overcome great challenges is music. I love music because it can carry people through the worst of times. My primary instrument is my singing voice; however, I also play guitar and have played the flute for over ten years."
Jaclyn adds that since high school she has held jobs as a waitress and shift manager in various eating establishments to help with college expenses. Of her volunteer work experience she writes, "In August 2010, I volunteered my time to set up my stand and serve champagne to guests entering a Gala which raised money for Cancer research. This event has been running for 29 years. It has raised over 4 million dollars for Cancer research." She volunteered at Cedar Lane Special Education School 2005-2009, where she "performed with many different musical groups for holiday parties, graduations, and school functions." In the summer of 2007, she "traveled to Tijuana, Mexico, with a small grup from St. Mary of the Mills Church, where together we volunteered at a summer camp for small children, visited an orphanage, and helped to rebuild houses."
In 2006, "I visited and provided musical entertainment for the residents at Lorien Nursing Home. I also provided services such as playing games with residents and giving manicures to female residents." At Sunrise Assisted Living in 2005, "I provided musical entertainment during the holiday season by singing with a group."
At Mary Washington U., in addition to continuing in musical activities, she was a member of a campus S.A.V.E (Student Anti-Violence Educators). "I was the secretary of this non-profit organization on campus. We hostd both The Red Flag Campaign and The White Ribbon Campaign. We raised awareness and educated students about the issues of all types of relationship violence from domestic abuse to sexual and emotional abuse. We focused on spreading aswareness about the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses. We were also advocates for victims on campus who were seeking the resources to help them heal from any negative experiences." A final note: One of Jaclyn's neighbors wrote of the Higdon family's influence in Shady Side, Maryland: "The Higdon family has long history in our community. Jackie's grandfather [Robert Higdon] was a founding member of Cedarhurst on the Bay. Her father [Chester Higdon] rebuilt the Community house after hurricane Isabel destroyed it in 2004. Jaclyn follows in her family's footsteps and volunteers at community functions painting children's faces and entertaining us with her voice. She looks out for the elderly neighbors delivering gift baskets with the social committee during the holidays.”

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