Seven local high school students were recently honored for being selected as the Edgar L. Dessen Community Service Award scholars for the 2018-19 school year during the Junior Leadership Hazleton graduation ceremony.

Brinn Gammer, Lorrin Surmick and Julia Ruggiero of Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences; Ann Marie McGrogan and Jenna Welch of Hazleton Area High School; Benjamin Putnam of MMI Preparatory School; and Rachel Caccese of Weatherly Area High School were all selected as Dessen Scholars and received a scholarship to participate in the Junior Leadership Hazleton program.

The Edgar L. Dessen Community Service Award was established in 2001 to honor CAN DO’s founder, Dr. Edgar L. Dessen, and mark the organization’s 45th anniversary. The scholarship is facilitated annually by the CAN DO Community Foundation. Since its inception, the award has been given to more than 90 students to attend Junior Leadership.

The Dessen scholarship recognizes area high school students and their volunteer efforts in the community. Through the award, a scholarship to Junior Leadership Hazleton is awarded to eligible high school students to further their experience in service and learning leadership and teamwork skills.

Nancy Stasko, CAN DO Community Foundation secretary and board member, said, “For the past 17 years, the Dessen scholarship has encouraged students to become active in their community. The Leadership program has provided a wonderful opportunity for students to grow and become more self-confident as they prepare for college and beyond,” she said. “I have been honored to chair the Dessen selection committee since its inception. On behalf of the CAN DO Community Foundation, I’d like to congratulate all the members of this year’s Junior Leadership Hazleton graduating class. I’d like to extend a special thank you to Joe Clark and the Junior Leadership board of directors and advisors and would like to acknowledge this year’s other Dessen selection committee members, Charles Burkhardt, Lani Drobnock and Elaine Judd.”