For Molly Young, it was her family’s fighting to make ends meet that drove the Armuchee senior to excel in school. Young’s top grades and extra-curricular involvement paid off when she earned the 2013 Horatio Alger Scholarship, making her the recipient of a $20,000 college scholarship and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. where she will participate in the 2013 Horatio Alger National Scholars Conference in the spring.
As one of the nation’s largest college financial aid programs, the Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program is the only major scholarship effort that specifically assists high school students who have faced and overcome great obstacles in their young lives.
“I grew up in a family with five kids and my parents divorced when I was young,” Young said.
“We just had those struggles with trying to make do in a family with so many kids. My home life always made me want to strive for more and provide more. It has inspired me to do my best in school,” Young said
But the scholarship’s requirements are deeper than just going toward students who have overcome tough times. According to the scholarship association’s website, while many aid programs are directed primarily to recognizing academic achievement or leadership potential, the Horatio Alger program also seeks students who have a commitment to use their college degrees in service to others.
As a child Young dreamed of becoming a doctor, but in high school she found out that would take eight years of college or even longer. However, when her younger sister had knee surgery, Young went to her physical therapy sessions with her and found she loved it. She also works with an autistic child with his own physical therapy sessions.
She will graduate from Armuchee High this spring, where she ranks fifth out of 144 students, with an Honors College Preparatory Seal.
During her time at AHS, Young has been involved in a plethora of both school activities and volunteer opportunities in the community. She was involved in the National Honor Society for three years and served as the group’s historian.
Young was a founding member of the Key Club and is serving as vice-president. She participated in the marching band for four years, playing the mellophone, and she also played French horn in the concert band for four years and participated in Winter Guard.
Young was secretary for the Academic Decathlon team and participated for two years, participated in Governor’s Honors in biology in 2012 and was named Optimist Student of the Month in October 2012. She gave of her time at the school and in the community by participating in STARS (students teaching abstinence, self respect and responsibility) for three years. Young also accumulated more than 100 hours of volunteer service at Floyd Medical Center and tutored underclassmen at Armuchee High.
Young intends to pursue a degree in physical therapy at the University of North Georgia, where she was accepted into the honors program.
The scholarship has “opened up so many doors for me,” Young said. “We were worrying about how we were going to pay for my school and it’s taken a huge weight off my shoulders. It allows me to focus on academics instead of how I’m going to afford it.”