Provided through the Rymer Foundation, the scholarships honor local student achievement and encourage these gifted high school students to remain in the Cleveland area.
A total of nine students were selected as Rymer finalists for 2011: Josiah Augustine, Rachel Boltniew, Tanner Gwaltney, Derek Murray, Dillon Rader, Adam Spivey, Andrew Strike, Madison Vaught and Jordan Willcutt.
Three finalists have been designated as Rymer Gold Scholars, three as Rymer Silver Scholars, and three as Rymer Bronze Scholars.
Principals from Bradley Central High School, Cleveland High School and Walker Valley High School have selected faculty representatives to serve alongside Lee University representatives chosen by Lee President Dr. Paul Conn, to form a selection committee.
The committee has conducted an interview with each finalist. The winners will be announced at the annual Rymer Scholarship Banquet Tuesday.
Winners are selected based on their leadership in extracurricular, athletic and church-based activities, high school rank, grade point average, college-board exam scores, and a personal interview.
Josiah Augustine is a senior at Walker Valley High School. He is the son of Jonathan and Daniela Augustine, has earned a 4.0 GPA, and ranks 12th in a class of 355 students. Augustine was the winner of Walker Valley’s Poetry Out Loud Contest and a member of the Spanish Club, National Honor Society, and the Circle of Champions. In 2010, Augustine also had the unique opportunity to participate in Stanford University’s EPGY Summer Institute studying international relations. He is heavily involved in Mount Olive Church of God’s youth group and assists with the church’s media department, the drama team and more.
Rachel Boltniew is a senior at Bradley Central High School. She is the daughter of Victor and Karen Boltniew and ranks first in a class of 355 students. She has also earned a 4.0 GPA. Boltniew has been or is a member of the Student Council, National Honor Society, Girls State Delegate, Jazz Choir, and the Principal’s Advisory Council. She was also a Bachelorettes Historian and was voted Miss Bradley County High School for 2011. Boltniew has served the community by volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club, the Rotary Club, nursing homes and more. Boltniew is involved in the youth choir at First Baptist Church of Cleveland, where she attends and has also served as a recreation assistant for Upward soccer.
Tanner Gwaltney is also a senior at Bradley Central High School and has earned a 4.0 GPA. The son of Ralph and Lisa Gwaltney, he ranks sixth out of a class of 355 students. Gwaltney has been a part of his high school’s marching, concert, jazz and rock bands. He stays involved with the local community by volunteering at the Chattanooga Nature Center as well as the library. Gwaltney has been a part of several missions trips throughout the United States with Apison Baptist Church.
Derek Murray is a senior at Cleveland High School. The son of Doug and Laura Murray, he has earned a 3.8 GPA which ranks him 27th in a class of 289 students. Murray is a Tennessee and Raider Scholar, is involved in the Anchor Club, Interact Club, Honor Guard and the Beta Club, and is the captain on the varsity baseball team. He has served his local community by teaming up with the Tennessee Aquarium, Arnold Elementary School, South Cleveland Church of God, and Westmore Church of God, where he served on the children’s media and student leadership teams. Murray is also heavily involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Dillon Rader, son of Michael Lee and Carla Ann Rader, is a senior at Walker Valley High School. Ranking 49th in a class of 355, Rader has earned a 3.7 GPA. He is a Tennessee Scholar, a member of the Circle of Champions, the German Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the soccer team. Rader was highlighted in Who’s Who Among High School Students from 2007-09, and volunteered in his local community through the Ocoee Outreach and Feed the Children. Through his church, First Baptist Church of Cleveland, Rader has served on several missions trips to Philadelphia, Chicago and Ecuador. He has also helped with First Baptist’s vacation bible school.
Adam Spivey, son of Donnie and Lisa Spivey, is a senior at Cleveland High School and has earned a 4.0 GPA. A Tennessee Scholar, he ranks 71st in a class of 289 students. Spivey has been involved in the Cleveland High marching band, concert band, and the Southeast honor band. Spivey attends New Covenant Church of God, where he is involved with his youth group, and volunteers with vacation bible school and The Caring Place.
Son of Andrew H. and Billie Jean Strike, Andrew Strike is a senior at Walker Valley High School. He has earned a 3.9 GPA and a class rank of 33rd out of 355 students. Strike is also a Tennessee Scholar, a part of the Circle of Champions, president of Walker Valley High School Technology Student Association, and is involved in the Walker Valley High School band and jazz band. He also played major roles in three musicals as well as the lead role in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.” Strike helped restore the local charity organization The Caring Place and has served through his local church, Candies Creek Baptist, in a variety of ways. The drama team, media team, praise band, and children’s ministry have all been helped by Strike’s willingness to serve.
Madison Vaught, a senior at Cleveland High School, earned a 4.0 GPA and was ranked first out of a 289 student class size. The daughter of Laud and Pamela Vaught, she has been a member of the National Honor Society, Anchor Club, and was a National Merit Commended Scholar. Vaught stayed involved during the summer of 2010 by volunteering with Girls’ State and has served the community countless times through her church, Hopewell Church of God. She’s helped with food deliveries, nursing home visits, and served on the youth and adult drama and music teams.
Jordan Willcutt ranks second in a class of 355 students and has earned a 4.0 GPA during his time at Walker Valley High School. Son of Robert and Susan Willcutt, he is a member of the National Honor Society, Circle of Champions, National Technical Honor Society, and is a Tennessee Scholar. Willcutt has volunteered on Lee’s campus as a junior instructor for Kay McDaniel’s and Tony Cavett’s Tennis Clinics. He has also volunteered with First Baptist Church by serving at Winterjam concerts as well as at Camp Cherokee church camps.