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Littleton Rotary awards scholarships

While the always well-attended annual Rotary Scholarship Auction was canceled this year, that didn't prevent the Littleton Rotary Club from awarding more than $40,000 in funds to North Country graduates. (Photo by Angel Larcom) (click for larger version)
July 03, 2020
LITTLETON — The annual Littleton Rotary Club Scholarship Auction Event has historically raised all funds for the organization's annual scholarship program. This year's event was canceled due to coronavirus-related gathering restrictions. But that didn't prevent organizers from awarding $41,500 in funds to 21 high school seniors.

"We have income from endowments and a rainy day fund that helped us support our graduating seniors. The continued success of this annual event and auction has allowed us to increase both the dollar amounts and the number of scholarship recipients. The cancellation of this year's event certainly had a big impact," said Russ Gaitskill, President of the Littleton Rotary Charitable Club.

Last year, more than $46,000 was awarded to 22 students. Gaitskill said the slight decrease in scholarship money this year was not due to any funding issues but was based entirely on the applicants' needs and qualifications.

"All of the funds last year were raised at the event. We have money invested in the New Hampshire Charitable Fund, which has income. If we have a good year at the auction we put that money back and continue to grow the principal," explained the Rotarian.

Gaitskill continued, "We also had the money from last year's students who didn't claim their scholarships. Fortunately, we were able to do it this year, but we can't afford to do this all the time. The committee felt that we should go ahead even though we didn't have the event."

Scholarship amounts range from $1,000 to $2,500 per student. Gaitskill said it's the success of the annual auction that has allowed the Littleton Rotary Club to increase amounts, making them more meaningful to the students.

Two new elements were added to the scholarship program this year, said Gaitskill. Now, students who wish to can defer their scholarships for one year if they provide written notice. Additionally, they are eligible for subsequent year scholarship to continue their higher education through the Rotary Club's Enrichment Fund.

"We've done everything from providing dental tools for kids going to dentistry school to providing welding equipment. Several Rotarians endowed the fund over the years. It can't be given for high school scholarships but it can be used for those same students to continue their education," explained the Rotarian.

The 2020 scholarship recipients list includes Chris Ford and Lyndsi Stone from Profile School and Cortney Patterson From White Mountains Regional High School. Dean Proctor, Kayla Bishop, Desiray Murphy, Precious Rodriguez, Chloe Houston and Emmilee Golden from Lisbon High School also received funds.

Littleton students included Madison DeCoste, Elisabeth Thompson, Kelsey Houghton, Payton Silvers, Kaylee Quinones, Cole Jacques, Austin Hastings, Parker Norman, Haylie Williams, Josslyn Hagan, Jacqueline Maker and Faith Santo. Scholarships are need-based with additional consideration for class rank and community service.

"The Guidance Departments at Littleton, Lisbon, WMRHS, and Profile did a great job processing applications for review by our committee given all the year-end disruptions," Gaitskill said.

Next year's auction event has been scheduled for May 14, 2021, at the Mountain View Grand Resort.

"We hope to make this our biggest fundraiser ever as we have a lot of ground to make up," Gaitskill stated.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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