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Local Moose Lodge Awards Scholarships to Outstanding Seniors

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On July 11, Moose Lodge 521 of Spring Hill awarded scholarships to four outstanding high school seniors. The lodge has given out four $1,000 scholarships each year for the past eleven years based on a student’s qualifications in four areas: academic achievement, community service, character, and leadership.

“This year we had eleven very qualified scholarship applicants−more than any other year,” stated Chuck Moehle, who has been chairperson of the scholarship committee for the past five years. “This is the best quality of applicants we’ve ever had. They are the cream of the crop. We could have given out more [scholarships] if we had more money.”

In terms of academic achievement a 2.5 grade point average is the minimum, but most of the applicants have a GPA that is far above that. Leadership is determined by a student’s participation in athletics, clubs, and organizations. Community service is based on the ways in which the student helps their community. To determine character, each student is required to provide three or four letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors, and other adults who know them well.

After the scholarship committee, made up of five lodge members, receives the applications, they determine the four best applicants by scoring each category for each student on a scale of one to five.

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The four students who received scholarships this year were Liel Shachr from Weeki Wachee High School and F.W. Springstead High School students Emma Rodriguez-Pajerski, Allie Briggs, and Emily Beam.

Liel Shachr will be attending the University of Florida in the fall and plans to major in Ecology, Conservation, and Environmental Science. “Those are passions of mine,” Ms. Shachr stated. In addition to focusing on her school work, she has done a lot of community service in these areas. She worked for the Humane Society and participated in environmental clean ups, even organizing some herself. “Doing community service and giving back to the community has helped me to find out who I am. I continue to volunteer because I really love it,” Ms. Shachr concluded.

Emma Rodriguez-Pajerski plans to go to Florida Southern College. She’ll be majoring in Technical Theatre with an emphasis on Costume Design. “Over the past four years I’ve done a lot of community service, especially working with kids,” Ms. Rodriguez-Pajerski remarked. “Helping younger kids is one of my passions and helping them navigate the school world.”

Allie Briggs and Emily Beam could not be at the presentation. Ms. Briggs plans to attend Florida State University and major in Marketing. Ms. Beam will be attending Pasco Hernando State College and will major in Education.

Giving scholarships to deserving students is just one of the ways in which the Moose Lodge members serve our community. They also raise money for their “Heart of the Community Fund.” Some of the money they’ve raised has gone to projects such as collecting socks for people who need them, like nursing home residents, and buying masks for elementary school students.

Moose Lodge members also enjoy social activities such as dinner dances, card games, fish fries, and Bingo. Since last year, women have been admitted as members into the Moose Lodge organization as well. There’s also a women’s auxiliary and some belong to both.

The Loyal Order of Moose goes all the way back to 1888 and has lodges throughout the United States, in four Canadian provinces, and in Great Britain. The organization supports the Mooseheart Child City & School, a 1,000-acre community for children and teens in need and Moosehaven, a 70-acre retirement community for its members near Jacksonville, Florida.

Moose Lodge 521 is located at 5214 Mariner Blvd. in Spring Hill. For more information about the scholarship program or the local Moose lodge call 352-686-5666 or go to their Facebook page listed under The Spring Hill Moose Lodge. For more information about the Loyal Order of Moose organization log onto www.mooseintl.org.

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