Winner chosen as young women vie for new title of Carrousel Scho - | WBTV Charlotte

Winner chosen as young women vie for new title of Carrousel Scholar

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Fifty-eight area high schools will participate in the 2011 Carrousel Scholarship Program, which is affiliated with the Belk Carolinas' Carrousel Parade.

Each school has selected a senior girl as its 2011 Carrousel Representative, who will compete for the new title of Carrousel Scholar -- formerly Carrousel Queen.

After the award ceremony earlier on Wednesday, the Representatives will enjoy some of uptown Charlotte's exciting attractions.

Carolinas' Carrousel, Inc., the non-profit organization that produces the parade, began its Carrousel Scholarship program in 1967. Since then, the top scholarship winner has been crowned the Carrousel Queen, and four runners-up also have received scholarships.

Starting this year, the top award winner was named the Carrousel Scholar to emphasize that the scholarships recognize academic excellence and community involvement.

Winner:   Molly Walker, J.M. Robinson High School in Cabarrus County.

1st runner up:  Shannon Elaine Kay from Ashbrook HS in Gastonia

2nd runner up:  Sarah Elizabeth Clarke from North Lincoln HS in Lincoln County

3rd runner up:  Samantha Forlenza from South Meck HS in Meck County

4th runner up:  Jessica Brugman from Forestview HS in Gaston County

To further change the perception that the Carrousel program is a pageant, this year's Scholarship Awards Ceremony was a luncheon rather than an evening event, and the Representatives wore business attire instead of formal gowns.

The Carrousel Scholar and Runners-Up and the York Scholarship winner receive college scholarships ranging from $700 to $3,000.  All scholarship winners also receive trophies.

"We feel strongly that these are very positive changes to the Carrousel Scholarship Program," said Linda Healy Vespa, executive director of Carolinas' Carrousel, Inc. "The title Carrousel Scholar communicates the importance the organization places on the winning student's achievements and aspirations."

Copyright 2011 WBTV.

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