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Ten Gratiot County Students Receive ACE Scholarships

The Alma College Community Engagement (ACE) Scholarship Program rewards students for their active volunteer service and involvement in their schools and local communities.

ALMA — Alma College has announced the winners of the 2021 Alma College Community Engagement (ACE) Scholarship award. The ACE program rewards students for their active volunteer service and involvement in their schools and local communities. Graduating seniors from Gratiot County or Gratiot County high schools were eligible to apply.

Ten highly-involved and community-minded Gratiot County students are the recipients of full tuition scholarships to attend Alma College in fall 2021.

“It was very difficult to select this year’s recipients of the ACE award,” said Alma College President Jeff Abernathy. “We’re very excited to welcome this group of highly involved and academically successful students to the Alma College campus.

“We look forward to seeing how these students, who are already local to the Gratiot County area, continue doing work to benefit their community in the years ahead. We’re pleased to offer these students the opportunity to pursue their education goals at Alma College, where they will be prepared for leadership opportunities and a rewarding career.”

Community service is a major component of the ACE Scholars Program. It not only rewards community involvement that students demonstrate in high school, it supports continuing community service and leadership.

During their four years at Alma College, the scholars will volunteer with local agencies, serve as community engagement ambassadors, attend workshops and professional development conferences and participate in service/leadership student organizations.

This year’s recipients represent the fourth class of ACE Scholars, bringing the total number of recipients from Gratiot County to 38 students. Each ACE Scholar has been awarded full-tuition scholarships, inclusive of institutional, state and federal aid.

Gracie Allen, an Ithaca High School senior, will go to Alma College and merge her interest in business management with environmental studies. She is a member of the National Honor Society and on the executive board of her Student Council. Gracie is also involved in various community efforts through the Katie Tobias State Farm agency and has received several honors for academic excellence. After college, Gracie will pursue a career in sustainable business. She is the daughter of Steve and Samantha Allen of Alma.

David Apple, an Alma High School senior, is a leader on the field of play as well as in the classroom. He is an academic all-state football player who is involved in his local Police Athletic League. He is a class leader of the Youth Advisory Council and is also a member of the National Honor Society, Above the Influence and Youth for Christ. After college, David will pursue a career as a college coach — basketball or football — or an athletic director. He is the son of Scott and Lori Apple of Elwell.

Lottie Carman, an Ithaca High School senior, is involved in a wide range of service activities. She helps out with lunch deliveries to her hometown of Sumner, assists as a tutor at Ithaca Junior High School, packs supply boxes for people on active duty and volunteers with blood drives In Ithaca. She’s also a star softball player, having been named as an honorable mention for the all-district and all-league teams. After college, Lottie will pursue a career in dentistry. She is the daughter of Karen ’92 and Rollie Carman ’98 of Sumner.

Dallas Conn, a Berrien Springs Virtual Academy senior, is already getting involved in government work. He is a student representative on the Ithaca City Council, a member of the Student Council and Youth Advisory Council. Dallas’ extracurricular activities don’t end with government work, however — he is involved in the Drama Club, track and field team, Business Professionals of America, and he works at the Commission on Aging. After college, Dallas will pursue a career in political science. He is the son of Jamey and Heather Conn of Ithaca.

Madison Davidson, an Alma High School senior, balances cheerleading with stellar academics. She is a member of the academic all-state team for competitive cheerleading and has received the Panther Sportsmanship Award. She is also a member of the Youth Advisory Council and the National Honor Society and is on the executive board of her Student Council. After college, Madison will pursue a career in elementary education and coaching cheerleading. She is the daughter of Magen Davidson of Alma, and Kevin Lyon of Alma.

Ergen ErgenLydea Ergen, an Ashley High School senior, is involved with FFA, Above the Influence, basketball, softball, drama and the Ashley Polar Express. Her most inspiring high school teacher is Mrs. Smith, because “she is always there for her students.” After college, Lydea will pursue a career as a registered nurse. She is the daughter of Tera and Jeremy Ergen of Ovid.

Gotaas GotaasVictoria Gotaas, an Alma High School senior, is involved in Student Council, her class board and 4-H. She has been on the academic honor roll every year since ninth grade. Her favorite teacher is Mrs. Puffpaff, because “she wants me to be my best self.” After college, Victoria will pursue a career as a surgical physician assistant. She is the daughter of Jennifer and Jeff Gotaas of Alma.

Dalanie Mott, an Alma High School senior, is known for helping outside. Through the Gratiot County Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council, she is involved in the annual community parks clean-up event, and she is known for assisting elderly neighbors with leaf-raking and yardwork. Through the National Honor Society, Dalanie assists with food drives, freshman orientation and making cards for a local nursing home. She is a first-team all-county and second-team all-conference softball player. After college, Dalanie will pursue a career as a teacher. She is the daughter of Dan and Mindy Mott of Alma.

Olivia Robinson, an Alma High School senior, is involved in National Honor Society and HOSA – Future Health Professionals. She is also a member of the varsity swim team and she teaches swimming lessons. Olivia is undecided what she will pursue after college. She is the daughter of Alma College graduate Erin Binger ’02, of Alma, and Matthew Robinson, of Alma.

Abigale “Abi” Whitford, an Ithaca High School senior, is a musician who gives back to the community. She is the lead singer of a band, Switching Seasons, that performs at charitable events; leads music worship in church every Sunday; and performs solo at the Ithaca Senior Activity Center. She’s also a member of the National Honor Society, serving as a childcare service provider for parent-teacher conferences and works with children at an after-school Latchkey program. After college, Abi plans to pursue a career in elementary education. She is the daughter of Alma College graduates Kent ’06 and Jennifer Whitford ’99 of Ithaca.

Story published on May 11, 2021