Hermitage student earns Civitan scholarship

Pat Robson (left) of the Greater Richmond Civitan Club with Hermitage High School senior and scholarship recipient Samuel Richardson.
Hermitage High School senior Samuel Richardson, who will graduate next month, plans to help pay his way through his four years at University of Virginia. The Greater Richmond Civitan Club helped him get off to a good start, awarding Richardson its $4,000 scholarship Wednesday night at the Civitan Honor Key Awards Banquet at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Richmond.

Richardson was one of 31 local high school students honored at the banquet but was the only one awarded with the scholarship.

Those who chose the scholarship winner had been impressed with Richardson pledging to put $10,000 of his own money each year to help pay for his tuition, said Pat Robson, secretary of the Greater Richmond Civitan Club and master of ceremonies for the banquet.

“He’s not just riding the family cab,” Robson said.

The pledge fit well with the words of the banquet’s guest speaker, Nora Raum, who works as a part-time newscaster for NPR and attorney. She joked that she should become a used-car saleswoman to “hit the trifecta of jobs with a bad public perception.”

During her speech, Raum spoke about her unusual path through education and preached the importance of avoiding large student loans, adding that it’s better to take eight years to finish college with no debt than to do so in four years with a lot of debt.

Richardson plans to earn his degree at UVA without student loans, Robson said.

Richardson said he felt lucky and blessed after winning the scholarship. He thought his commitment to public service may have set him apart to the other candidates. He plans to spend some time in the Army as an officer after college.

Among many activities, Richardson is an Eagle Scout, plays first chair trombone in his high school marching band and played volleyball and cross country, he said. He has a 4.84 GPA, though he said others at Hermitage had higher GPAs.

He plans to pursue a double major at UVA, with one of his majors being Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures.

The Honor Key Awards, which were given to all 31 students, have existed since the World War II era, Robson said. Those honored must have shown excellence in scholarship, sportsmanship and leadership, he said.

Five other Henrico County students – Alexander Althoff (Deep Run HS), Lakshmi Ravindra (Henrico HS), Aubrey Temple (Highland Springs HS), Joseph DiTrapani (J.R. Tucker HS) and Alpha Mansaray (Varina HS) – were among the 31 honored at the banquet.

The Greater Richmond Civitan Club is part of the larger Civitan International, an organization of volunteer service clubs with chapters in 25 countries, Robson said. The club was started in 1917 in Birmingham, Ala., and places a special emphasis on helping people with developmental disabilities.
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