BRANDON — OVUHS senior Grace Coolidge of Brandon was recently named one of The Vermont League of Women Voters 2021 Winona Smith Scholarship Awards recipients. She received $1,000 to help further her education.

Coolidge graduates from Otter Valley Union High School where she was deeply involved in a variety of school activities, including being a founder of the Student Ambassador Program, which promotes student involvement with businesses and civic experiences. She was also on student council, tutored other students, and was co-editor of the yearbook. She was a member of the school music program and founding member of the environmental action club.

Outside of school she worked for a local farm stand and greenhouse, offered pet care to neighbors and babysitting for community members. Coolidge has been accepted at several colleges and will be attending Northwestern University in Chicago. Her career objective is to become a lawyer in order to give voice to those who feel silenced. 

In her essay on voting rights, Grace wrote: “Here we are in 2021 and voting rights are still under threat…. In a country as great as ours, we must ensure that every vote counts… Voting polls must be accessible during hours and days that work for the voters who need them. Ballot boxes, mobile voting polls, early voting, are all examples of ways to help all voters act on their right and responsibility to vote. We must continue to be vigilant about equitable access to the ballot.”

LWVVT established its Scholarship Awards program in 1998 to honor the memory and legacy of long-time member Winona Smith. Four awards in the amount of $1,000 each are presented to Vermont high school graduates. Selection is based on student civic participation, community service, school activities, financial need, and teacher recommendation. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate civic ideals by writing two essays, one on voting rights and the other on a national or international event.

Although this was an especially tough year for students with the uncertainty of the pandemic and remote learning, our 2021 recipients are Hussein Amuri (Winooski), Meghan Cole (Manchester Center), Grace Coolidge (Brandon), and Bella Thayer (Swanton).

For more information about the awards, contact Scholarship Coordinator Becky Miller, bmiller8114@gmail.com, or telephone 802-223-0475.