WATERVILLE — The recently established Mary L. George Foundation has announced the two Waterville Senior High School graduates who are the firsts recipients of the foundation’s scholarships.

The children of Mary L. George, a 1955 graduate of Waterville Senior High School, have established a scholarship in her name to benefit graduating seniors at the school. Photo courtesy of James O’Connor

Emma Ackerman, 19, and Phoenix Gatlin, 18, both of whom graduated Thursday, have been selected to receive the scholarships, named for George, a 1955 graduate of Waterville High who was known for donating time, resources and money to those in need.

Ackerman plans to attend the University of Maine at Augusta to study in its veterinary technician program. Gatlin also plans to attend UMA, but for its aviation program.

Each scholarship is worth $5,000 a year for up to four years. To be eligible, students must be planning to attend a two- or four-year college or advanced technical training, and remain in good academic standing for the scholarship to be renewed.

In its inaugural year, the foundation received about 25 applications.

Alan and Keith Derosby, two of the three educators who were asked to determine the strongest applicants and present them for the foundation’s consideration, are alumni of Waterville High. Both work at Messalonskee High School in Oakland, Alan Derosby as a social studies teacher and Keith Derosby as a guidance counselor.

“Believe me, it’s very difficult to choose two recipients” due to all of the applicants having a level of financial need, said James “Jim” O’Connor, the son of George and a member of the foundation’s board. “It’s very important to us that these young women continue their education.”

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