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Earning the award from Watauga is Spencer Louis Schlenker, son of Erich and Lynn Schlenker of Deep Gap. Photo submitted



Originally published: 2014-05-30 10:17:50
Last modified: 2014-05-30 10:18:35

Park scholarship recipient

Forty-one high school seniors, including one from Watauga County, have been named to the N.C. State University Park Scholarships Class of 2018.

Earning the award from Watauga is Spencer Louis Schlenker, son of Erich and Lynn Schlenker of Deep Gap.

Schlenker will graduate from Watauga High School where he is founder and manager of the Swipe for Schools Fundraising Program, president of the Friends of Rachel Club and coordinator of the Recycling Program through the National Honor Society School Service Committee.

He tutors students in math and chemistry at his school, is a recipient of the Education Partnership Award from theWatauga County school board, and was honored to attend North Carolina Governor's School for mathematics.

Schlenker plans to major in chemical engineering.

The new class was selected from a record of nearly 1,700  candidates who submitted applications by the Nov. 1 deadline.

A network of nearly 250 selection dommittee members  -- N.C. State alumni, faculty and friends -- participated in this year's selection process.

The committee assists with application review, interviews and outreach.

"In this landmark year for the Park Scholarships and N.C. State, the Class of 2018 joins us at a transformational time," said Park Scholarships director Eva Feucht. "As the Park Foundation has launched a new endowment for the program with their extraordinary $50 million commitment this year, the Class of 2018 will be part of an exciting new chapter for Park Scholarships. They will build on the legacy of innovation, leadership and service that more than 900 Park scholars have established, and their ambitions to use their talents for the broader good will come to life at N.C. State."

The Class of 2018 is an accomplished group whose members include numerous student government leaders, Eagle scouts, and varsity athletics captains, foundation officials said.

One teaches horseback riding to a bilateral amputee; another teaches Hinduism to kindergartners.

Two cultivate gardens and donate fresh produce to their local soup kitchens.

Members of the class serve as editor-in-chief of their school's scientific research publication, board member and instructor for cotillion club, and president of Young Political Leaders.

Others have volunteered many hours in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and with the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

They perform in community theater and a nationally recognized show choir, serve as drum major of the marching band, and compete nationally in Science Olympiad tournaments.

Members of the class have also founded programs to stop human trafficking, educate middle school runners on proper nutrition and hydration, and provide summer camp opportunities for disabled children.

The Park Scholarships program brings students to N.C. State University based on outstanding accomplishments and potential in scholarship, leadership, service and character.

The program develops and supports Park scholars in these areas, preparing them for lifelong contributions to the campus, state, nation, and world, officials said.

Approximately 40 scholarships are awarded each year.

Park scholarships include opportunities for innovative enrichment activities, such as grants for undergraduate research and study abroad, making this award one of the most prestigious and comprehensive undergraduate scholarships in the nation, officials said.

The Park scholarships are named for the late Roy H. Park, an N.C. State alumnus who created the charitable Park Foundation, dedicated to education, media and the environment.

In 1996, the Park scholarships were established at N.C. State with a  grant from the Park Foundation.
Since the inaugural class of 25 scholars, the number of Park scholars on campus has increased to approximately 175, along with a growing network of alumni.

To date, the Park Foundation has committed nearly $140 million to support the scholarship, including its September 2013 commitment of $50 million to begin an endowment at N.C. State.

The endowment, along with others' support, will sustain the program in perpetuity, officials said.

The four-year scholarship is valued at $92,000 in-state and $149,000 out-of-state, including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, travel and other expenses.

 For more information, visit the Park Scholarships website http://park.ncsu.edu.