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National Youth Scholarships Program Winners Announced

The Assemblies of God National Youth and Christian Higher Education departments recently selected the recipients for the 2008 J. Robert Ashcroft National Youth Scholarship Program. 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: Renée Griffith of Butte, Montana; Staci Wolford of Ridgeley, West Virginia; and JaNae Stevenson of Howard, South Dakota.

First place, a scholarship for $5,000, was awarded to Renée Griffith. Daughter of Lew and Christine Griffith, she graduated first out of 326 students at Butte High School.

Throughout her high school career, Renée was in the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Who's Who Among American High School Students and Montana Forensic Educators. As a pianist, she has performed at National Fine Arts and at several state festivals. Renée was also involved in cross-country as a runner and as a manager. She also played soccer and served as junior varsity captain. She participated in several clubs including Youth Alive, Student Council, Speech and Debate and Youth Legislature.

Renée served her community by tutoring students for National Honor Society, volunteered for and publicized a Multiple Sclerosis benefit, volunteered for Special Olympics, and participated in a Thanksgiving food drive and Toys for Tots. Renée also participated in her church as a children's church teacher, Timothy Team member, and regularly attended Sunday School and Missionettes. In the fall of 2008, she plans to attend Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri.

"I live out my commitment to God for purity and holiness in my environment while consistently reading the Bible, reading devotionals, worshipping God and praying for those around me," Renée says.

The second place scholarship of $3,000 went to Staci Wolford. Daughter of Donnie and Tammy Wolford, Staci graduated first place out of 148 students at Frankfort High School. She has received numerous academic honors including making the National Honor Society. She also served as president of Mu Alpha Theta, received the Optimist Award and was voted Outstanding Band Member. In addition, she participated in her high school's marching band, concert band and jazz ensemble, as well as the West Virginia Honor Band. She also led worship in chapel and in children's church and played junior varsity basketball. She has worked as a leader for Youth Alive.

Staci has served her community by raising funds for child abuse prevention, volunteered at a children's outreach, gave dinners to the homeless, volunteered to help children of inmates and volunteered at Vacation Bible School. She regularly attends Sunday School, works in the nursery and leads worship in children's church. In the fall of 2008, Staci plans to attend Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida.

"After my baptism in the Holy Spirit, reaching my unsaved family and friends became my passion," says Staci. "God became the true love of my life and everything I did centered around Him. Since that time, my walk with God has grown even deeper. I spend time with Him every morning, seeking His will and reading the Word."

Third place, a $1,000 scholarship, was awarded to JaNae Stevenson. Daughter of RaNette Stevenson, JaNae graduated fifth out of 37 students at Howard High School. She received several honors including the National Honor Society, Presidential Award for Academic Excellence and Who's Who Among American High School Students. JaNae participated in various bands including marching band, pep band, concert band, drum line and the Big East Honors Band. She lettered in volleyball, track and was statistician for football and boys basketball. Staci also played basketball and served as the captain for the softball team. Throughout her high school career she participated in various clubs and organizations such as FBLA, H-Club and Quiz Bowl. She also co-edited the school newspaper and yearbook and served as class president her freshman and senior years and class vice-president her junior year.

JaNae served her church by working in the nursery, children's church and regularly attended Sunday School. She also worked as the worship leader in the youth group and participated in Bible Quiz, AIM and First Priority. This fall, she plans to attend Trinity Bible College in Ellendale, North Dakota.

"I've been a Christian all my life," Staci says. "In the past few years, by reading the Bible and praying every day, I have grown a lot in my faith."

The Christian Higher Education and Youth Departments 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 January 1 to March 31 each year at the district youth directors' offices.

Dana Edson

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