May 24, 2022–Congratulations to the 2022 Katie HerzogApalachicola Riverkeeper educational scholarship winners. The recipients are Savannah “Sage” Brennan, Myia Maxwell and Annie Smith, all graduates of Franklin County School (FCS). The students will each receive $2000 toward college tuition. Sage, Myia and Annie, along with family members, joined the Apalachicola Riverkeeper staff and selection committee at the Riverkeeper office for a recent boating trip and reception. The following day, Tom Herzog and Georgia Ackerman attended the FCS awards ceremony. Photo album is here.

Sage, Annie, Myia at Scipio Creek (L-R)

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. The essays were impressive; they inspired us all. They introduced us to three remarkable, capable and determined young women who we believe will each make their mark in life.    

The scholarship was formed to memorialize environmentalist Katie Herzog by her husband, Tom Herzog. Katie passed away in 2021. “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.”

Georgia Ackerman remembers Katie as one who worked tirelessly for Apalachicola Bay and River. “Katie walked the walk,” says Ackerman. “She brought so much enthusiasm to her work throughout our community. Katie Herzog put care into action.” Katie was instrumental in both the Apalachicola Blueway Map project and  National Scenic Trail designation along with other advocacy and community projects.

Meet the Recipients:

Annie Smith, scholarship recipient, will be the first of her family to attend college. She was member of the National Beta Club and the National Honors Society. She has been involved in numerous volunteer efforts in the community including working with the Franklin County Animal Shelter.  Annie’s writes in scholarship application essay, “I am a true believer in working hard to achieve what you want in life.  If you don’t have that diligent mindset, then how do you expect to thrive in life? For my whole life, all I’ve wanted was to be successful.”

Annie Smith’s art teacher, Karyl Gavigan, has high praise for her student in a letter of recommendation to the scholarship committee. She explains that Annie “is studious, hard-working and extremely talented.” Gavigan adds, “She was a joy to work with and I feel honored to recommend her.”

Myia Maxwell will also be the first in her family to attend college and is a sixth-generation native of Apalachicola.  Myia’s goal is to receive an elementary teaching degree (she begins class this fall at Gulf Coast State College).  She explains in her scholarship essay, “My favorite thing to do is to help others”.  She adds that she wishes to bring her gained knowledge and dedication to the Apalachicola Bay Charter School on college completion saying, I cannot help but to want to stay in Franklin County.  It is truly a paradise.”

Myia was President of her senior class and Vice-president of the National Honor Society.   Melanie Copeland, Myia’s school counselor, writes in a letter of recommendation, “I have witnessed Myia’s dedication to her academic success.  She is not only an excellent and hard-working student but is also an extremely caring individual.”

Sage Brannan also brought high credentials to the Katie Herzog -Apalachicola Riverkeeper scholarship committee.  She is President of The National Honor Society, Vice President of her senior class, and Vice President of The Beta Club.  She has also volunteered with Franklin County Emergency Management and as a youth leader at her church. Sage is a 2021 Sunshine State Scholar, achieved a GPA of 3.98 to be first in her class, and will also the first in her family to attend college. She has been involved in numerous extracurricular activities including sports and community affairs.

Kathryn Strank, Sage’s instructor in History and Economics, summed up her student’s worthiness in a letter to the scholarship committee.  “I can personally attest to her attention to detail and seeing each and every job through to completion,” she writes. “Sage excels, and it gives me great pleasure to offer her my highest recommendation. “

Congratulations again! We all look forward to hearing of your future college academic accomplishments.

By Richard Bickel. Richard is a photojournalist and long-time supporter of Apalachicola Riverkeeper. He serves on the Katie Herzog-Apalachicola Riverkeeper Scholarship committee. 

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