Pizza arrives with unusual topping for Papa John's scholarship winner


May 20, 2002|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

LIKE MANY seniors throughout the county, Westminster High School senior Adam Auerback was thrilled when he was accepted to the college of his choice, but he shared his parents' concern about paying the $29,000 tab.

His sisters Lacey and Salina are college students in Chicago. A third sister, April, is planning a wedding this year - a 200- guest-scenic-location-complete- with-horse-and-carriage-wedding.

So, like other seniors across the county, Adam applied for scholarships big and small. He applied for scholarships linked to his talents, his hobbies, his community service, even his favorite foods. He also tapped the local Kiwanis, Rotary and Lions clubs.

"I've written essays to at least 32 places," Adam said. "One of my favorites was the `Got Milk?' scholarship. I am the man for milk. I love it and I drink almost a gallon a day."

Last week, Adam's persistence paid off.

In the middle of his newspaper production class, a group of people appeared with a stack of freshly baked pizzas and cool drinks.

"Who ordered more than $50 worth of pizza? Who would pay the bill?" asked John Appleby, manager of several Papa John's Pizza stores in Carroll and Baltimore counties.

The students looked pretty confused - and a little concerned that these adults (including Adam's mother) were up to something "weird." When Adam opened the first box to distribute slices to his classmates, he realized that the surprise was for him.

Inside that box was an announcement that he had earned a $1,000 Papa John's Scholar Award. His seven single-page essays about his hobbies, community service work and leadership skills had earned him one of two Papa John's scholarships awarded in Carroll County.

The other scholarship went to a Papa John's employee, Elizabeth Grace-Rutledge, from the Eldersburg store. Elizabeth and Adam are eligible to win the national $10,000 "Works" Scholarship, which is funded by Papa John's and Scholarly Pursuits.

The pizza company awarded 41 scholarships to students in the Baltimore area, and more than $1,000,000 to high school seniors throughout the country. Recipients wrote essays about a variety of topics, including community involvement, academic achievements, life goals, obstacles they had overcome, and leadership skills.

"This is great. Thank you," Adam said.

"It's really great," said his mother, Linda Auerback, who works at St. John's Roman Catholic Church in Westminster. "My husband has been walking around in a coma since he added up all the tuitions and the wedding bill."

However, Steve Auerback, an insurance claim analyst, shared his wife's confidence that their son's dedication to his community, his integrity, and talents would pay off.

Adam is a national honor student who has coached a middle school basketball team for years, helped teachers sort and clean school supplies, and served as captain of his Westminster recreation basketball team.

This is a student who draws a cross on the pitcher's mound and dedicates every ballgame to his late grandmother, Virginia Auerback. He has worked part time to have enough money to buy a '95 black Beretta and cover all associated costs, such as insurance and maintenance.

He wrote "God Bless America" on the window of the family car after Sept. 11, and vowed to join the military if his country needed help.

He has written a thank-you note to Papa John's for the financial assistance.

In the fall, Adam will attend Washington College in Chestertown, where he plans to major in business. His dream is to be a financial adviser for a sports team.

"We are really proud of Adam," his mother said. "We're proud of all our children and of the fact that we are a close family."

Living Treasure

Shawn McDonald, a pupil in Dick Thompson's language arts class at West Middle School, honors his grandfather Wilson B. Horsey as his Living Treasure.

"He has been working all his life because he didn't finish his education," Shawn writes. "He was drafted at a young age into World War II and Vietnam. After he served his time, he built his own boat by hand."

Shawn adds, "Wilson Horsey has spurs in his spinal cord which he has been living with for about five years. Now because of that, his life has been cut in half, but he says he will make the most of his time here."

Brighten the day of someone who has made a positive difference in your life. Send a name and specific reasons why someone has been your living treasure to: Lisa Breslin, 35 Ridge Road, Westminster 21157.

Lisa Breslin's Central Carroll neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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