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The NISWONGER FOUNDATION has selected five high school seniors to join the Scholarship and Leadership program in Fall 2019.  Currently, there are 19 Niswonger Scholars, with the newly selected students bringing the total to 24.  The Foundation also has 72 Alumni of the program. 

Unique to other scholarship and leadership programs, the goal of this Scholarship and Leadership program is to identify and develop leaders for Northeast Tennessee. These students commit to returning to Northeast Tennessee to work in their chosen career path, one year for each year they receive our scholarship.  The plan is that by enabling these students to pursue their academic passion and by cultivating their leadership abilities, they will be committed to returning to the region as catalysts for the growth and improvement in their home communities. 

Niswonger Scholars are selected through a nomination process that seeks to identify the region’s best and brightest future leaders.  They are given the opportunity to attend the college or university that will best prepare them for success in their field of study, while participating in a four-year leadership program. Through an emphasis on leadership, educational excellence, business management, community service and ethical decision making, the Scholars are provided travel, training, internships, and personalized support to become model leaders and citizens.  

The five new Scholars are Makayla Davis, West Greene High School; Trent Dickerson, Morristown East High School; Aisling Hagan, David Crockett High School; Erica Seal, Hancock County High School; John Turner, Jefferson County High School.

Makayla Lashay Davis
attends West Greene High School. She served as an officer in FCCLA and president of the Blue and Gold Club.  She is a member of the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, Tennessee Tomorrow, and Future Business Leaders of America.  She is a cheerleader; and is a student athlete, playing both soccer and tennis at West Greene.  She is active in her community through her church. She is employed at Food Country USA.  Makayla is the daughter of Carolyn Dean, Greeneville.

Trenton Chase Dickerson is a senior at Morristown East High School. He is class president, Ambassador for the Student Congress on Policies in Education, and captain of the cross-country team. He has served as president and librarian of the school choir. He is a member of the School Board Advisory Council, 31+ ACT Club, and DECA. Trent’s awards include the National Merit Scholarship, recognized as Commended Student; All East Tennessee Honor Choir; All State Tennessee Honor Choir; 1st place Regional DECA Conference; and 3rd Place State DECA Conference.  He serves as a Youth Worship Leader, Bible School volunteer, and through COPE. He completed a summer internship with Morristown Utility Systems.  Trent is the son of Phillip and Tina Dickerson, Russellville.

Aisling Grace Hagan is a student at David Crockett High School. She is president and former secretary of the David Crockett FFA Chapter. She serves as president, previously vice-president, of the Student Council; and is the Student Representative on Washington County School Board. She was chosen by the faculty to attend the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Conference and the Student Congress on Policies in Education.  Her awards include 1st place State Nursery/Landscaping, 2nd place National Forestry, 1st place State Forestry, and 1st place State Floriculture. Aisling participated in a Rotary Club Student Exchange to Austria.  She is a member of National FFA Organization, Student Council, BETA Club, Junior Civitan International, French Club, Creative Writing Club and the Washington County Youth Soil Conservation.  Aisling is the daughter of James and Kate Hagan, Jonesborough.

Erica Brooke Seal attends Hancock County High School.  She is president of her 4-H Club; and has served as vice-president and reporter of the Future Farmers of America. Erica is a student athlete, playing soccer at Hancock High. She serves her community through 4-H, the Adult Education Offices in Rogersville and Sneedville, and through Sneedville’s Annual Fall Festival.  Erica is the daughter of Jennifer Greene and Shane Seal, Sneedville.

John Henry Turner is a senior at Jefferson County High School.  He is president of Leo Club and a member of National Technical Honors Society, Scholars Bowl, Beta Club and Jefferson County Youth Leadership.  He was named Sophomore Business Student of the Year and was a Scholars Bowl competitor. John has completed 130 hours of community service.  He is the son of John and Crystal Turner, New Market.

Established in 2001, the Niswonger Foundation has a mission “To create opportunities for individual and community growth through education.”  In addition to the Scholarship and Leadership program, the Niswonger Foundation supports educational programs in seventeen Northeast Tennessee school systems. With the motto of “Learn-Earn-Return,” the programs of the Foundation are supported by charitable donations, grant funding and personal contributions from Scott M. Niswonger.

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