Li­brary awards col­lege sav­ings grants to sum­mer read­ers

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JES­SICA IAN­NETTA jian­netta@ce­cil­whig.com

ELK­TON — Eight county teens re­cently re­ceived a $250 col­lege sav­ings grant through the Ce­cil County Pub­lic Li­brary’s sum­mer read­ing pro­gram.

The read­ing pro­gram, which wrapped up last month, en­cour­aged chil­dren, teens and adults to read reg­u­larly through­out the sum­mer and then sub­mit their read­ing logs for a chance to earn prizes. While all par­tic­i­pants got smaller prizes such as ear buds and fid­get spin­ners, they were also en­tered into a raf­fle to win one of the larger prizes avail­able, which for the first time this year in­cluded $250 to start a 529 col­lege sav­ings ac­count.

One teen from all seven branches plus the Book­mo­bile were cho­sen at ran­dom to win the col­lege sav­ings grant and on Thurs­day night, two of those teens for­mally ac­cepted their prizes dur­ing an ice cream so­cial re­cep­tion at CCPL’s Elk­ton branch.

“I was so ex­cited. This is my first schol­ar­ship,” said Geneva Brown, 16, who won the Ch­e­sa­peake City branch prize.

The grants were pro­vided cour­tesy of Mary­land 529, a non­profit state agency for­merly known as the Col­lege Sav­ings Plans of Mary­land. The agency has worked with other li­brary sys­tems around the state to pro­vide sim­i­lar sum­mer read­ing grants but this is the first year it has worked with CCPL. To claim their prize, all the win­ners have to do is fill out the proper forms and they will get a Mary­land Col­lege In­vest­ment Plan ac­count with $250 in it. The fam­i­lies can then add to if they wish or just sim- ply let it grow.

Un­like tra­di­tional sav­ings ac­counts, these ac­counts have bet­ter tax ben­e­fits and can only be used for ed­u­ca­tional ex­penses, such as text­books.

Brown, a ju­nior at Bo­hemia Manor High School, said she was en­cour­aged to par­tic­i­pate in the sum­mer read­ing pro­gram by the branch’s li­brar­i­ans and counts “Wild” by Ch­eryl Strayed as one of her fa­vorite books she read this sum­mer. In the fu­ture, she hopes to go to col­lege and ma­jor in mi­cro­bi­ol­ogy and now with her first schol­ar­ship, she’s ex­cited to start ex­plor­ing her op­tions.

Ethan Lacher, 15, who won the prize from the Ris­ing Sun branch, said he’s par­tic­i­pated in the sum­mer read­ing pro­gram for years but this is the first prize he’s won. Lacher said he was es­pe­cially sur­prised to hear he’d won con­sid­er­ing he turned his log in at the be­gin­ning of the sum­mer and then for­got about it.

“I was kind of like ‘Oh,’” he said of his re­ac­tion. “I kind of for­got I did it (the sum­mer read­ing pro­gram).”

Lacher, a ju­nior at Ris­ing Sun High School, hopes to even­tu­ally go to the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land to study hu­man engi­neer­ing.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IAN­NETTA

Geneva Brown and Ethan Lacher were two of the eight win­ners of col­lege sav­ings grants through the Ce­cil County Pub­lic Li­brary’s sum­mer read­ing pro­gram.

Sa­man­tha Ball, who died from can­cer in 2016, lives on in the Samm’s Lym­phoma Fight Foun­da­tion. Ball, 23, is pic­tured here with her son Liam.

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