Davyn Mengeling, Lily Plewniak receive Rotary scholarships

Susan EspirituFarragut, Karns/Hardin Valley, Our Town Youth

Rotary was the world’s first service club, started in Chicago in 1905. More than 1.2 million members in more than 35,000 clubs in 200 countries volunteer their time and talent to further the Rotary motto “Service Above Self.” Clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious and open to all cultures, races and creeds.

Founded in 1915, the Rotary Club of Knoxville is our community’s oldest and largest civic organization. As is the Rotary being the world’s largest private source of college scholarships, the Rotary Club of Knoxville is also steward of the Rotary Foundation of Knoxville, which funds college scholarships and special projects locally.

On Tuesday, June 20, at the downtown Crowne Plaza, the Rotary Club of Knoxville will award four-year, $20,000 college scholarships to Davyn Mengling of Hardin Valley Academy and Lily Plewniak of Farragut High School. Both awardees are headed to the University of Tennessee in the fall and spoke at the meeting.

“This is always one of the best meetings of the year,” says Rotary president Bill MacGrath. “Awarding scholarships is one of the most important things we do, and it’s so rewarding to keep track of the previous recipients and their successes in college and life.”

Davyn Mengeling graduated from Hardin Valley Academy with a 4.33 GPA and earned a 31 on the ACT. He will receive the Samuel L. and Juanita Weaver Scholarship and study engineering at UT. A childhood cancer survivor, Davyn continues to live with two brain tumors. His family has incurred massive medical expenditures in his lifetime.

Lily Plewniak graduated from Farragut High School with a 4.39 GPA and scored 29 on the ACT. She will receive the Rotary Club of Knoxville Scholarship and study business and art at UT with the goal of opening an art gallery/coffee shop in Knoxville. A talented artist, Lily runs a small art business already and hosts a podcast called Two Truths and a Lie. She is the second of five children. I wrote an article on Lily and her brother Zeke in May.

The process for selecting these recipients was in-depth and intense. Jennifer Sepaniak chairs Rotary’s Scholarship Awards Committee. “This year we reviewed 36 scholarship applications from 13 schools and one homeschooler,” says Sepaniak. “We selected six applicants for interviews, which we held in person. All the finalists were impressive young people.”

These two young brilliant, creative minds will definitely continue to impact our world for the better!

(Brooks Clark contributed information for this article)

All of us have a story and I want to tell yours! Send them to susan@knoxtntoday.com


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