Suffolk Foundation announces Mast scholarship winners

Published 9:39 pm Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Suffolk Foundation has announced that there are two winners of $5,000 Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarships this year — Brianna Ramos of Lakeland High School and Paige Summers of King’s Fork High School. This is the second time for the Mast scholarship, administered and maintained by the Suffolk Foundation, to make two awards.

In this unusual circumstance, the committee was able to stretch its guidelines providing for one scholarship each year by obtaining $5,000 in donations in order to award a $5,000 scholarship to each of these two outstanding applicants.

The Mast Scholarship was established in 2007 to honor Howard D. Mast after his death in 2006. Mast helped thousands of youth as Suffolk’s Parks and Recreation Director from 1947 to 1966. He is especially remembered for creating a public tennis program that produced Virginia girls’ and boys’ state champions and Mid-Atlantic and nationally ranked tennis players. His was effectively the farm team for Suffolk High School’s six straight boys’ state tennis championships. In the absence of high school tennis teams for girls, Mast created a Suffolk City girls team and got other cities in Virginia to do the same. Mast also touched the lives of many more youth through other athletic and non-athletic activities, including sock hops at the Birdsong Recreation Center; fun and games at the public parks and playgrounds; midget and junior football, basketball, baseball, track and field; dancing and indoor skating at the old city hall gym; and much more.

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Ramos was an academic star at Lakeland High School. She lettered in academics all four years, was selected for membership in the National Honor Society and excelled in rigorous honors and Advanced Placement courses throughout her four years at Lakeland, graduating with a class rank of 3 out of 206. An outstanding athlete as well, Ramos lettered in softball each year and captained the team as a senior. In addition, Ramos served as an element leader in the JROTC program; was chosen as Suffolk Peanut Princess representing Lakeland; performed more than 60 hours of community service during her high school career; and has held down two part-time jobs during school. She will be the first in her family to attend college.

From left, Award Committee member Michelle Waller, of Suffolk; Chair of the Mast Award and Fundraising Committees Robert Blair, of Washington, D.C.; scholarship winner Paige Summers, of King’s Fork High School; Award Committee member and presenter Sandy Tucker, of Richmond; and Award Committee member Cheryl O’Connor, of Suffolk. (Submitted Photo)

This fall, she will enroll at James Madison University, where she intends to major in intelligence analysis and thereafter apply her education to combating world terrorism.

Summers had an outstanding academic record at King’s Fork High School. Earning a class rank of 9 out of 273 in the International Baccalaureate program, Summers was selected the Most Outstanding International Baccalaureate Mathematical Studies Student in 2016; was an AP Scholar; was selected for membership in the National Honor Society, where she served as vice president; and excelled in rigorous IB and honors classes throughout her high school career. Also an outstanding athlete, Summers was a member of the King’s Fork soccer team all four years; the swim team, which she captained her senior year; and the varsity girls’ and boys’ cross country and girls’ track teams, being both the girls’ and boys’ cross country captain her last two years and earning King’s Fork’s Sportsmanship Award. Summers also served as president of the Key Club, a school service organization sponsored by Kiwanis, and co-founded a community service organization, Helping Paws, to engage in beautification projects throughout Suffolk.

Summers will attend the University of Virginia this fall, intending to major in chemistry on a pre-med track. She hopes to someday providing medical care to the underserved in third-world countries.