Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Three local students recently were awarded scholarships from the Dorchester Free School Board (DFSB)
Morganne Phillips, a student at the Medical University of South Carolina, has received the Medical Scholarship, which will be applied toward her last year of medical school.
Trinh Chu, a rising junor at Clemson University, and Brittany Taylor, a rising junior at the University of South Carolina, have had their Tommy Cuthbert Memorial Scholarships renewed for their third year of schooling. The Cuthbert Scholarships honor the memory of one of Summerville's gifted golfers who was an ambassador for the sport.
Selection of candidates is based on academic promise with consideration given to financial need.
Ms. Phillips is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Scott Phillips, Mr. Gene Acr, and Ms. Stephanie Anderson, originally from Hazleton, PA. She currently attends the Medical University of South Carolina and will receive her Medical Doctorate in May 2014. She is active in extracurricular activities on MUSC’s campus, including being involved with intramural sports, volunteering and teaching opportunities. She volunteers regularly at a student-run weekly health clinic at Crisis Ministries, a local homeless shelter. She also tutors other College of Medicine students in their basic science studies.
Ms. Chu, a graduate of Fort Dorchester High School, is majoring in Biological Sciences at Clemson where she is a member of the Calhoun Forensics and Debate Team which competes on national and international levels. Her interests outside the classroom include playing tennis, running and martial arts. After graduating from Clemson, she plans to attend medical school to become a physician.
Ms. Taylor, an honor graduate of Summerville High School, attends the Honors College at the University of South Carolina and is on the Deans List. In the fall she will attend the South Carolina College of Pharmacy in Columbia.
The scholarship approvals were made recently at the 279th Annual Meeting of the Dorchester Free School Board, which is is believed to be the oldest operating school board in the country. The board traces its roots to 1724 when the Colonial Legislature created a free school board to serve the children of the Puritan settlement of Dorchester, which was located on land that now is Old Fort Dorchester State Park. In early colonial times, a “free school " was one in which school fees were paid by all but the poorest pupils.
The board has been involved in the education of students in Dorchester County for almost three centuries. In the early years the need was to build schools. The first school was burned by the British during the Revolutionary War. It was re-built in 1797 and remained in operation until 1817 at which time the board was granted permission to move the school to the growing town of Summerville.
The school in Summerville opened in 1818, flourished during the antebellum years and eventually fell into disrepair. In 1906 the board built an elementary school on Laurel Street. That school educated the children of the community for half a century and was taken down in the 1950s to make room for a playground.
Around that time the focus of the DFSB shifted from bricks and mortar to the challenge of providing college scholarships to students in the county who meet certain criteria.
The funding of scholarships comes from several sources, including interest earned on invested assets, annual membership dues from the trustees and tax deductible contributions from individuals and corporations. Three scholarships are offered by the board - one four-year scholarship for pursuit of a medical school discipline and two four-year general scholarships.