Cape Cod Scholars Receive $12,000 from Military Officers

Students from Falmouth, Mashpee and Dennis Yarmouth high schools honored...
Scholarship recipients - Three students received a total of $12,000 from the Cape Cod Chapter of Military Officers Association America. (See story for full caption)

A total of $12,000 went to three high school seniors from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on May 4, 2019.  This was the second year for that sum following four years of presenting $10,000.  The Cape Cod Chapter, Military Officers Association of America awarded the three from among 47 applicants representing 14 institutions.  Recipients Brenna Donahue, Falmouth High School, Falmouth Massachusetts; Jessica Dillis, Mashpee High School, Mashpee, Massachusetts and Abigail Downes, Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, received their grants at a Coonamessett Inn, Falmouth, Massachusetts, luncheon ceremony.  Captain Eric Bader, United States Coast Guard, Senior Service Representative, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, served as guest speaker.  In addition to Chapter documents, each awardee received a certificate of achievement signed by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Brenna Donahue, East Falmouth, Massachusetts, is set to attend Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts, to study psychology at the school where Sigmund Freud famously lectured on psychoanalysis in 1909.  Brenna qualified by virtue of her sister’s service as a Navy nurse.  As one who benefitted  from therapy, she wants to “make a difference in someone else’s world,” perhaps as a school counselor or therapist.  Ranked nine in a class of 173, Brenna excelled in Advanced Placement science classes and was recognized in five honors societies the past two years.  Employed since age 14 in a local bookstore and in the past as a carrier for the Falmouth Enterprise newspaper, she serves at the altar, as Eucharistic Minister and as a donations counter in her Roman Catholic parish as well as assisting with the WIC (Women, Infants, Children) federal supplemental nutrition program.  A ballet dancer and symphony band member, Brenna is senior editor for a writers club publication.  As to the future, Brenna says “success will never be found by bringing others down, but by raising them up.”

Jessica Dillis, Mashpee, Massachusetts, wants to enhance her considerable artistic skills by spending the college freshman year in Florence, Italy, via Florida State University’s overseas study program.  Upon returning to the Tallahassee, Florida, campus, she will take up double major studies in animation and marketing.  Her work is on display in mural form at a pediatric clinic and at Mashpee High School.  It also supported the Centerville, Massachusetts, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals where her creation helped save the life of a dog set to be euthanized.  A student with three dual enrollment classes (high school and community college), Jessica ranks third among 110 in her class.  While starting the sport several years behind her peers, she became a competitive swimmer at the regional meet level by practicing six days per week.  Her abilities including story telling with her art work:  her senior project is a short film, the production of which benefits from her use of multiple computer programs.  She hopes to parlay her talent and ambition plus skills in entrepreneurship and marketing into building a company of her own.  A factor she considers beneficial was growing up as a military child with multiple family moves based on her father’s Air Force career.  One commentator, referring to those years, says the colors “appearing in her life’s painting were from exploring the far reaches of the grand place called earth.” 

Qualified to apply by virtue of her grandfather’s Connecticut National Guard service, Abigail Downes, Dennis, Massachusetts, aims high:  she desires a doctorate to advance her into a career in space exploration.  Having completed the highest level science and math classes offered at her school where she stands at number eight among 204, she will matriculate to Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, to study astrophysics.  Labeled in recommendations as “not a quitter,” Abbey was a Girl Scout for twelve years who refused to let her troop disband.  She would take it upon herself to research and provide for achievement badge programs including facilitating the entire troop’s becoming First Responder Certified through the local police department.  A leader by design and example, she capped her four years on the marching band drum line by becoming drum major.  With five years of German behind her, Abbey has taught special education students that language.  Known as competitive but kind, she helped cook and serve food to the homeless and craft clothing for Haiti’s needy.  Intensely inquisitive, Abbey’s motto as quoted by her school counselor is “There is nothing I can’t do or figure out - I just have to see it.”

Since the program’s inception the Chapter has awarded over $219,000 to graduating seniors who reside on Cape Cod and the Islands.  Applicants must be a close relative of someone who is serving or has served honorably in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Public Health Service or National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration of the United States in any component:  active, reserve or Guard.  Acceptance to a post-secondary educational institution is required.  Guidance offices have forms.  Application deadline is annually in mid-March.

The Military Officers Association of America is a membership organization constituted from active duty, retired and former officers of all seven uniformed services.  Any MOAA member is eligible to join the Cape Cod Chapter and participate in its functions, including scholarship, charitable and social activities.  Contact President Colonel Don Lynde, U. S. Army, retired, at [email protected], or write to CCC MOAA, PO Box 2272, Mashpee, MA 02649-8272.

MOAA is the nation's largest and most influential association of military officers.  It is an independent, nonprofit, politically nonpartisan organization.  With more than 370,000 members from every service branch, it is a powerful force speaking for a strong national defense and representing the compensation, benefit, life and transition interests of all members of the military.

Full photo caption:  Cape Cod Chapter, Military Officers Association of America, awarded $12,000 in scholarships apportioned among three graduating high school seniors on May 4, 2019.  Involved in the ceremony were recipients Brenna Donahue, Falmouth High School, Falmouth Massachusetts; Jessica Dillis, Mashpee High School, Mashpee, Massachusetts; Abigail Downes, Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, South Yarmouth, Massachusetts; and Captain Eric Bader, United States Coast Guard, Senior Service Representative, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, who was guest speaker for the occasion.  The luncheon event took place at the Coonamessett Inn, Falmouth, Massachusetts


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