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Niswonger Foundation selects five new scholars

January 23rd, 2014 4:00 pm by Staff Report

Niswonger Foundation selects five new scholars

The Niswonger Foundation, founded by Greeneville, Tenn., businessman and philanthropist Scott M. Niswonger, has selected five high school seniors to join the Niswonger Scholars program. 

The newly-selected students for 2014 bring the total of Niswonger Scholars to 23. The program also has 49 alumni.

The Niswonger Foundation’s guiding philosophy of “Learn, Earn and Return” is firmly embedded in the Niswonger Scholars program. The program takes the brightest young leaders in Northeast Tennessee, provides them the opportunity to attend the college or university that will best prepare them for their chosen career, and supplements that education with four years of leadership development activities.

The plan is to see Niswonger Scholars come back to the region with not only strong earning potential, but an entrepreneurial spirit and overwhelming desire to return their talents and energy to this region. The goal is that at the end of their experience as Niswonger Scholars, they will embody the values most important to the mission of the Foundation: exceptional leadership ability, exemplary personal character, and a strong commitment to building community.

The five new Northeast Tennessee Scholars are Hope Adkins, Volunteer High School; McKenzie Reynolds, North Greene High School; Kristen “Alora” Ricker, South Greene High School; Dillan Shults, Cosby High School and Madeline Standbridge, Sullivan East High School.

* Hope Marie Adkins is a student at Volunteer High School. She is a TN/VA Scholar and serves as Executive Board Secretary for the Student Government Association as well as Mu Alpha Theta Club vice president. She is an active member of Key Club, County Wide Appreciation Team, National Junior Beta Club, United Student Ministries, First Priority, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and All-East Choir. Hope enjoys volunteering with the Hawkins County Lunchbox Program, Special Olympics and American Legion Auxiliary. Her plans are to attend Carson Newman University and major in political science. Her future plans are to attend law school. Hope is the daughter of Jeffrey and Tonya Adkins of Church Hill.

* McKenzie Breanna Reynolds is a student at North Greene High School. She has maintained a 4.0 grade point average (GPA) and ranks first in her class.  She serves as senior class secretary, Science Club secretary, FCA president, Anti-bullying Club secretary, volleyball team captain and basketball team captain.  She is a member of DECA, Youth Council, First Priority, Youth Leadership, Future Farmers of America, Student Council, Spanish Club, Tennessee Scholar and Chorus. She has volunteered with Kids Basketball Camp and also holds a part time job. Her goal is to attend the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and pursue an undergraduate degree in business management. She is the daughter of Jon Reynolds and Edwina Orr of Greeneville. 

* Kristin Alora Ricker attends South Greene High School. She is ranked first in her class and maintains a 4.0 GPA. She has earned all-state honors in volleyball and all-district honors in both basketball and tennis, and serves as volleyball team captain.  She is an active member of the National Honor Society, SADD 12, Executive Student Council, School of Promise, and the Letterman Club.  She was the Exchange Club recipient and Greeneville Sun calendar girl. She has earned academic awards for the highest average in all of her classes and been recognized by the Academic Booster Club. She is active in her community through her church choir, the Food Bank, Keep Greene Clean and assisted in Camp Creek cleanup after tornado damage. She will be attending Maryville College, majoring in biology. She is the daughter of Chris and Beth Ricker of Greeneville.

* Dillan Wayne Shults is a student at Cosby High School. He has maintained a 4.0 GPA. While at Cosby, he has earned Seymour High School marching band grand champion, Cosby Academy community service pin, Freshmen Academy service pin and Cosby Academy Junior Member of the Year. He has been very active in his community, logging more than 194 hours of service and is a member of Skinactity International Community Involvement Board.  Dillan plans to attend Tennessee Technological University and major in chemical engineering. He is the son of Angela Shults of Newport.

* Madeline Danielle Standbridge attends Sullivan East High School. She is ranked first in her class, and maintains a 4.0 GPA. She attended Governor’s School for Emerging Technologies. She has earned Beta Honors Award, South Holston Ruritan Award and attended the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Conference. She serves as volleyball team captain, National Honors Society project coordinator, Student Council president, Beta Club president, as well as being a member of Key Club, SCOPE and HOSA.  She has actively served her community through numerous organizations. Madeline plans to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering. She is the daughter of Jeff and Stacy Standbridge.

Established in 2001, the Niswonger Foundation’s mission is “To create opportunities for individual and community growth through education and other sustainable projects.” The Foundation’s primary programs are the Scholarship and Leadership Program, and the School Partnership Program. To learn more about the foundation, visit

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