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posted: Sun, Jun 12th, 2016

Their final rainbow connections

Two graduating Mount Olive High School seniors who attended CMS have been awarded Rainbow Connection Scholarships. Victoria Andrews and Gargi Panigrahi each received $625 at MOHS’ senior awards night on June 7.

Rainbow Connections is the unofficial theme of CMS and underscores the importance of encouraging kindness and good character in students. A rainbow connection has come to mean any selfless act that lifts up others.

In 2007, author and community member Lisa Smith Wagner and teacher Ann Scotland published a book about ways to inspire rainbow connections and that also featured the essays of 22 of Mrs. Scotland’s students. These students are now among MOHS’ Class of 2016 so Mrs. Scotland and Mrs. Wagner wanted to use the proceeds from the book to give CMS graduates their final school rainbow connections.

Victoria and Gargi were chosen for the scholarships based on application essays they wrote describing the ways they have made a difference in the community and participated in specific acts of kindness.

“Realizing that one simple act can make a huge change in another person’s life has given me the drive to be better, kinder, and more giving of myself,” wrote Victoria, who went on to discuss her participation in MOHS’ Best Buddies program which pairs students with special needs students. “I learned from CMS how to treat people with respect and kindness… I have worked these past four years to educate my fellow students to be understanding of others.”

Gargi, who has volunteered at Hackettstown Hospital and a local food pantry, described her experience visiting a poor village in India during her sophomore year and handing out school supplies that she bought with her own money.

“A rainbow connection like this is something I can never forget,” Gargi wrote. “I remember seeing the smiles on these little kids as I passed out the new notebooks. Making them smile made me smile, and that is all I needed to see…

“That girl from second grade is still the same person as the girl now a senior in high school because we both are still making rainbow connections.”

The Rainbow Connections committee, composed of 21 staff members, narrowed down the scholarship candidates then Mrs. Wagner chose the final recipients.

In the fall, Victoria will attend Drew and Gargi will attend Virginia Commonwealth University.

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Chester M. Stephens Elementary School
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