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Four recognized during Self-Reliance Awards

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AWARD: Nathan Ozenbaughis presented his Self-Reliance Award from Dr. Greg Garner of Midwest Eye Consultants and Elizabeth Miller of the Wabash County Kiwanis Club.
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GROUP: Kaitlyn Jones, Nathan Ozenbaugh, Noah Cressell and Kassie Burchett received scholarships as part of the 29th annual Self-Reliance Awards on Tuesday.

by ANDREW CHRISTMAN - achristman@wabashplaindealer.com

Four Wabash County seniors were recognized for their self-reliance during a scholarship ceremony Tuesday afternoon.

Kassie Burchett of Wabash High School, Noah Cressell of Wabash High School, Kaitlyn Jones of Southwood Jr. - Sr. High School and Nathan Ozenbaugh of Manchester Jr. - Sr. High School were presented with the annual Self-Reliance Awards by the Wabash County Kiwanis Club.

Former Kiwanis president and emcee for the event, Charles Chapman, says students were deserving of the award because of their ability to excel academically or athletically despite significant hardships in their lives.

“While we often hear about shortcomings of young people, there are success stories that are not being told,” he said. “These young citizens have established high, obtainable goals and then applied themselves to achieving those goals. That’s what the Self-Reliance Award is about; doing the best with the resources you have available to you.”

Burchett was recognized for her efforts outside of school, where she works 40 hours per week and is active in the “Kick it for Karsyn” fundraising event, named after her sister who died of cancer several years ago. Burchett has also completed 35 college credits, which she will utilize at Butler University, where she plans to study biochemistry.

Cressell was noted to be the oldest of seven siblings. He also volunteers as an assistant wrestling coach with Wabash Middle School and achieved a goal of being one of the top three wrestlers in his class at the state wrestling tournament.

Jones was recognized for her efforts around her home, for helping improve her school’s website, volunteering at the Wabash County Animal Shelter and taking needy elementary school children Christmas shopping. Jones was noted to be active in extracurricular activities like cheerleading, being a member of the student congress and an intern with the Wabash County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Ozenbaugh was recognized for being an active member in Boy Scouts and 4-H, where he achieved his goal of becoming an Eagle Scout by remodeling and reconstructing a 25-foot community sign, a project which took him 3,300 hours to complete. Ozenbaugh has also worked at Hi-Grade Egg Producers and Metzger’s Landscaping, as well as helping bale hay and straw during the summer.

Each student was presented with a $2,000 check on Tuesday.