The Assemblies of God National Youth Department and The Alliance for Assemblies of God Higher Education recently selected the recipients for the 2009 J. Robert Ashcroft National Youth Scholarships. Applicants for this honor, high school seniors, were judged in several categories including academics, extra-curricular involvement, Christian service, Christian life, financial need, essay and references.
The winners were: Christina White of Midlothian, Texas; Kevin Van Slyke of Manhattan, Kansas; and Benjamin May of Macomb, Michigan.
First place, a scholarship for $8,000, was awarded to Christina White. Daughter of Greg and Keri White, she will graduate fourth out of a class of 95 students at Academy Northwest High School.
Throughout her high school career, Christina made the honor roll and played various sports. She lettered in basketball and track and field and received an ACE Award in volleyball and placed third during regionals for Junior Olympics Track. She also participated in student government during her senior year.
Christina served her community by assisting with the elderly during nursing home visits. She has also helped out with parades and worked as a volunteer for sports team fundraisers. Christina also participated in her church as a Sunday School teacher, a children's church and nursery volunteer and regularly attended Sunday School. She has actively participated in her youth group as a student leader, a worship band keyboard player, small group leader, greeter and altar worker. Christina participated in Fine Arts and in 2006 and 2007 she was the State Merit Award winner in drama solo. She also made several appearances at Nationals including 2006-2008 for drama solo, 2007 in worship band, 2008 in Large Human Video and 2006 for short sermon. In the fall of 2009, she will attend Southwestern Assembly of God University in Waxahachie, Texas.
"I am continually working to put God first in my life," Christina says. "In my personal devotions, I endeavor to read my Bible, pray everyday and memorize Scripture."
The second place scholarship of $4,000 went to Kevin Van Slyke. Son of Thomas and Barbara Van Slyke, Thomas will graduate 21st out of 402 students at Manhattan High School. He received numerous academic honors including making the honor roll all four years. He was also a Rotary Club Student of the Month and a Kansas Honor Scholar. He served in numerous positions including president of the National Honor Society, a representative on Student Council, a member of the debate team and team captain of the Intramural Basketball League.
Kevin participated in a jazz ensemble, wind ensemble, marching band and received two first place awards at state for a small brass ensemble. He has lettered in bowling, played basketball and participated in track and field. Kevin has also served his community by working as a counselor for the Royal Family Kid's Camp and assisted walkers during a Heart Walk.
Kevin regularly attends Sunday School, participated in Children's Church and was a Royal Ranger up through Pioneers. As a member of the youth group he has led worship, small groups and preached. He was also the leader and founder of the Youth Alive Bible study at his high school, See You At The Pole coordinator and participates in Fine Arts, which included a win at Nationals for puppetry in 2005. In the fall of 2009, Kevin will go to North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
"The last few years, I have grown closer than ever to God," Kevin says. "I have been developing my time of devotions starting with prayer and worship and then studying God's Word."
Third place, a $2,000 scholarship, was awarded to Benjamin May. Son of Theodore and Rhonda May, Benjamin will graduate 30th out of 500 students at Henry Ford II High School. He was a member of the National Honor Society and made the honor roll all four years. During his high school career, he participated in karate. He was a State Tournament Grand Champion (2005), an International Tournament winner (2006), and a 4th degree Junior Black Belt (2008). Benjamin also served as a member of Student Council and was leader of "Students Taking Action Together In Christ."
Benjamin served his community buying and giving Christmas gifts for kindergarteners, selling ribbons for breast cancer awareness, helping an inner city children's church, filling Christmas stockings for underprivileged children and offered free karate lessons for a day care. He served in his youth group as a leader, participated in Fine Arts, took an AIM trip and participates in Teen Bible Quiz. He attended Sunday School regularly and served in children's church and was a Sunday School assistant teacher. This fall, he plans to attend Valley Forge Christian College in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.
"God's given me a heart for His people, so I fast and pray daily," Benjamin says. "I read my Bible often and always look for ways to show God's love to others."
The Assemblies of God National Youth Department and The Alliance for Assemblies of God Higher Education sponsor the J. Robert Ashcroft National Youth Scholarship Program annually. Scholarships are awarded to high school seniors who attend Assemblies of God churches (or are dependents of Assemblies of God missionaries) and who plan to attend an Assemblies of God endorsed college upon graduation. Applications are available from district youth directors after November and are accepted from December 1st to February 1st each year at the district youth directors' offices.