GREENVILLE — Lily Preston, a 2020 graduate of Tri-Village High School, is the 10th recipient of the Sarah Whittaker Memorial Scholarship administered by the Darke County Foundation. The scholarship is awarded each year to a Darke County resident in memory of Whittaker, a Greenville student who died in 2008 at the age of 17.
“I feel highly honored to receive this award,” said Preston, after she was surprised by Sarah’s father, Allen Whittaker, at her martial arts class in Greenville. Whittaker presented Preston with a certificate indicating an award of $2,100 following her first semester in college.
“I am very grateful in knowing that this will help make my career dreams a reality and significantly reduce my college expenses,” Preston said. She is a freshman at the University of Findlay pursuing a double major in pre-veterinary studies and western equestrian riding/training.
The scholarship fund was established by Sarah’s parents, Allen and the late Karen Whittaker of the Greenville area. From 2008 to 2015, Allen and Karen organized motorcycle poker runs to raise money for the fund, donating more than $60,000 to the Darke County Foundation. Investment income from the fund provides an annual scholarship while keeping the original gifts intact.
The annual scholarship is awarded to a student who is active in 4-H and/or FFA, as Sarah was. This year’s winner said her interest in agriculture and animals evolved through her involvement in the Kountry Kids 4-H Club and the FFA chapter at Miami Valley Career Technology Center. Preston’s awards and leadership reflected the enthusiasm that Sarah had for animals and exhibiting them at the Darke County Fair.
“The experiences and wisdom that I gained from 4-H and FFA are second to none, and they surpass the value of any banner, ribbon, or trophy that could ever be awarded,” said Preston. “I have discovered my forever passion for agriculture and have grown into a passionate, driven individual and leader,” she said.
After the scholarship presentation, Preston said to Allen Whittaker, “I am truly grateful to be carrying out your daughter’s memory and will do my very best to honor her name by working honestly and hard and exhibiting integrity in and out of the classroom.”
The Darke County Foundation enriches the community by receiving, managing, and distributing charitable funds for the benefit of Darke County residents. For more information on establishing a scholarship or community fund, call 937-548-4673 or email [email protected]