York College has announced the finalists for its most prestigious academic financial award, the Presidential Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to one incoming freshman each year and recognizes academic achievement as well as high moral character.

Finalists for this award are Valerie Booher (Omaha), Hayden Brown (Lincoln), Carys Pitman (Bartlett, Tennessee), and Jaylynn Mast (Monroe, Washington).

To be considered for this award, students must meet high academic standards as well as submit written essays and other application materials. Top candidates visited campus on Monday, February 26 for interviews to determine the recipient of the Presidential Scholarship. All finalists not chosen for the top award will receive the Dean’s Scholarship. The Presidential Scholarship recipient will be announced in the coming weeks.

“The President’s and Dean’s Scholars are important to our campus and provide leadership that helps us maintain a culture and a social setting that are important to the growth and advancement of our school,” said President Steve Eckman.

About the Finalists

Valerie Booher is as studious as she is service-minded. The straight-A student and National Honors Society member volunteers regularly at Empty Tomb Ministry (providing meals to homeless people in South Omaha), Open Door Mission (serving families in need), and Kingsway Christian church, where she is a preschool bible class teacher and leads a girl’s bible study for teens. Booher is also an athlete: she lettered in track and field and is the captain of her soccer team. She has also volunteered with TOP Soccer, a program that teaches soccer skills to athletes with disabilities.

Booher intends to major in biology and is planning for a career in health sciences. “I want to be a difference maker, serving others by helping to meet their emotional and physical needs,” she wrote in her application essay, discussing her interest in this field.  

Hayden Brown is an Eagle Scout, an honor student, and an athlete. The 4.0 student is in the top 3 percent of his class and has completed advanced placement courses. He is also a member of the student council, National Honor Society, Principal Advisory Council and the Youth Advisory Council. He participates in the diving and swim team with his high school as well as a club team.

Brown is involved in community service activities through offering Spanish translation at his church, peer tutoring, and counseling at Nebraska Youth Camp. “My greatest passion in life is service to others,” Brown wrote on his application materials, chronicling the many service projects he has been a part of in the last ten years. “Through all of these great experiences I have learned that being able to help someone in ways I can provide has led me to enjoy and see the awesome value service provides.”  Brown plans to major in business communication and would like to work in a corporate setting as an interpreter and someone who can create relationships across language barriers.

Carys Pitman is a  quiet leader who is always looking to encourage those on the fringe of the group. She leads by example more often than trying to take charge of a group. She is a servant leader, who strives to make sure that others’ voices are heard and valued. Pitman is very active with her church, serving as a youth intern, teaching children’s bible classes and participating in service mission trips to St. Louis and Panama. Locally she has volunteered at a homeless shelter and participated in Memphis Workcamp.

A dedicated and talented student, Pitman is also involved in many dramatic and artistic pursuits, from playwriting (she won first place for a script she wrote and presented through Shelby County 4H), to ballet, to photography (she has won ribbons in local photography contests).  Pitman has been involved in Heritage Girls (similar to Girl Scouts) for several years, and has logged more than 170 hours of service hours in activities such as helping the elderly and the homeless, volunteering with Operation Christmas Child, community clean ups, and organizing events.

Pitman is considering a major in psychology and planning for a career in a helping profession.

Jaylynn Mast is active in missions and community service. She has traveled to Canada, Colorado, Ecuador, and Belgium for mission trips, as well as volunteered locally with her church’s youth offerings including youth rallies and vacation bible school programs. Mast has participated in Girl Scouts for eight years and has won medals for her involvement with that group. She is a member of the National Honor Society and is a tennis athlete, where she was recognized with a “Most Improved Player” award. She has lettered in varsity tennis and in varsity wrestling (team manager).

Mast is interested in a major in business or education. She loves children as well as entrepreneurship (she started her first business at the age of 7) and would love to one day own a candy store. Mast has worked as a nanny throughout high school and has a great passion for leading children. She often leads children’s classes, discussion groups, and youth activities through her church. In a letter of recommendation, her youth minister cites Mast for her consistency, servant leadership, and vital role in leading the girls in the youth group.

For more information on scholarship opportunities at York College, view our scholarships page or reach out to the admissions office at (402) 363-5627 or enroll@york.edu