May 31, 2023–Congratulations to the 2023 Katie Herzog–Apalachicola Riverkeeper educational scholarship recipients, John River Sheridan and Colin Wefing, Both are graduates of the Franklin County School (FCS). The students will each receive $2,000 toward their college tuition. Colin and River, along with family members joined a recent Apalachicola River boating trip after a reception at the Riverkeeper office. The following day, Tom Herzog and Cameron Baxley attended the FCS awards ceremony.
In 2021, the academic scholarship was established by Tom Herzog to memorialize environmentalist Katie Herzog by her husband, Tom Herzog. Katie passed away in 2020. “Katie and I were both high school educators, so supporting students is what we have always done,” explains Tom. “Katie was greatly involved with Apalachicola Riverkeeper for many years. The scholarship and this organization are a perfect match.” Katie was instrumental in both the Apalachicola Blueway Map project and National Scenic Trail designation along with other advocacy and community projects.
Cameron Baxley admired Katie as a caring and steadfast friend and advocate for the community. “Whenever I get around to growing up, I hope to be just like Katie. She was twice my age and could out-hike and out-paddle me any day of the week. Tom and Katie took me in as one of their own and are like family to me.”
The students were selected by a committee that weighed leadership qualities and academic achievement. Also considered were applicants’ outside interests as well as their overcoming of hardships. Their essays spoke to their respect and care of the Apalachicola River and Bay.
Meet the Recipients:
Colin Wefing spent his childhood on the Apalachicola River and Bay. He is a member of the National Beta Club and the National Honors Society. He will be enrolling in Gulf Coast Community College. Colin writes in his scholarship application essay, “My aspiration and proclivity of our exceptional local ecosystems has opened the door for me to get away and enjoy what the outdoors has to offer. Our river system, in all of its beauty, never seems to disappoint, as well as our gorgeous beaches and landscapes within our Bay. Overall, a career involving my love of the outdoors would be a dream come true and the Katie Herzog scholarship can be another huge step in accomplishing my career goals.”
John River Sheridan grew up spending time on Apalachicola Bay helping with his family’s clam and oyster farm. He is a member of the National Beta Club and president of his class and the National Honor Society. He will be enrolling in Florida State University to pursue a degree in Physics. River writes in his scholarship application essay, “For years, I have helped my family’s shellfish aquaculture business, regularly riding on our boats out to the lease to work with oysters and clams. My mother and father started the business when my father was out of work after the net ban in the 90s made him a displaced fisherman. In part,we owe a huge deal to the Apalachicola River for filling the bay and surrounding areas with freshwater that allow for oysters, clams, and other aquatic species my family and the whole community rely on for a living to thrive. Through my work ethic and diligence attained for my family’s business, I hope to make a difference in the improvement of the river, the bay, and the world.”
Congratulations again! We all are cheering for you and know you will go far.