Baker memorial scholarship awarded

Published 7:25 pm Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Lynell Oliver Baker Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to two female graduates of Suffolk Public Schools.

Jennifer Asbell of Lakeland High School and Alyssa Sperlazza of Nansemond River High School are the recipients for 2012. Each received $2,000 paid directly to their universities.


Asbell, an honor graduate, excelled academically while serving as captain of both junior-varsity field hockey and junior-varsity softball, playing varsity field hockey, volleyball, softball and indoor track, and serving on the student council. At her church, she led the Youth Discipleship Group, served on the Youth Group Student Servant Team and worked on a benefit to stop human trafficking. She has also directed her own screenprinting business for the last two years. She is attending James Madison University and plans to become a youth minister.

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Sperlazza, who graduated as salutatorian from Nansemond River, was a four-year letterman and captain of varsity swimming, two-year letterman in varsity cross-country track, and a one-year letterman in varsity track and varsity tennis. She was named the most valuable swimmer in 2012. She was a member of the Spanish Club, Beta Club, Science Club and the VOICE volunteer club. She volunteered in wheelchair ramp and set building, fundraising for leukemia, Edmarc Children’s Hospice and the Walk to Cure Diabetes. She is also a Red Cross-certified lifeguard and has worked as a lifeguard and head lifeguard. She is attending the University of Virginia with the goal of becoming a physician’s assistant.


The Lynell Oliver Baker Memorial Scholarship is awarded each year to outstanding female graduates of Suffolk Public Schools for exceptional achievement in five areas — athletics, academics, school activities, church and community activities, and a 500-word essay that expresses goals, family support and financial need.

The scholarship honors Baker, a 1989 Suffolk High School honor graduate, who was planning to attend Campbell College. She died July 9, 1989, after suffering head trauma from falling off a horse. Her parents, Robert Baker and Linda Drummond, and friends and family established the scholarship in her memory to recognize outstanding female graduates who, like Lynell, are compassionate leaders in their school and community.

Thirty-seven young women have been recognized since 1990.

Tax-deductible contributions to the scholarship fund may be made to Lynell Oliver Baker Memorial Scholarship, Care of Mrs. Paige Hill, 309 Bosley Ave., Suffolk, VA 23434. Applications for next year’s scholarship will be available by Dec. 1, 2012 at each Suffolk public high school.