Jamestown High School graduate receives Sharonsteel Scholar Award

Sabrina Donner is this year's recipient of the prestigious Sharonsteel Scholar award, a four-year, full-tuition grant to Penn State funded by the Sharonsteel Foundation. The award, presented by Sharonsteel Trust Administrator Lori Darby, marks the 15th year that an incoming Penn State Shenango freshman student has been presented with this honor.

During the presentation, Darby, who works with the Sharonsteel Trustees, said that they have been very pleased with the bright, young students chosen for this scholarship and were impressed with Donner’s ability to overcome some difficult circumstances. Donner was described as persevering, resulting in becoming a wonderful young lady who they are proud to have as one of the Sharonsteel Scholars. In the last 15 years, the Sharonsteel Foundation has contributed more than a half a million dollars to the Sharonsteel Scholars grant program at Penn State Shenango.

Throughout her four years of high school, Donner consistently made high honors and was a member of the National Honor Society. She participated in numerous clubs and activities at Jamestown High School and, in her senior year, held the following leadership roles: secretary of the National Honor Society, president of Student Council, treasurer of the Drama Club and senior class treasurer. During her junior year, she worked with the Greenville Record-Argus as a student reporter for its High School Newspapers in Education program where more than 30 of her articles were published. From 7th through 12th grades, she competed in the Grove City Reading Competition program.

In addition to her studies and extracurricular activities, Donner continues to care for her 89 year old great-grandmother and works as a manager at the Pymatuning Deer Park during its tourism season, where she has been employed for five years.

From a young age, Donner said she has believed in helping those who are less fortunate. Her first experience with fundraising was in 8th grade when she and her teammates raised more than $2,000 for the local Relay for Life, a nationwide effort which raises money for cancer research. Since then, she has participated in several philanthropic efforts to raise money for special causes, including Spina Bifida, Breast Cancer, the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C., the Children’s Miracle Network for Tod Children’s Hospital, and Pennies for Peace.

“Sabrina Donner is an excellent example of a self-motivated teenager who has overcome a myriad of challenges and obstacles in her short life and turned these impediments into accomplishments," one of Donner's recommendation letters reads. "She is an inspiration to those that she works with and always strives to be the best role model possible, ‘she walks the walk.’”

Donner is enrolled at Penn State Shenango in the University's Communications program. She resides in Jamestown with her great aunt, Joyce Pettigrew, who, as a single parent, has raised her since she was an infant.

The guidelines by which a student is chosen for this scholarship include outstanding academic achievement, school and community involvement, financial need, and recommendations. Recipients of this scholarship are encouraged to continue their community involvement and academic achievement throughout their higher educational experience.

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Last Updated September 13, 2010