In 1982 Valerie Echols-Gardner was a Rotary Club scholarship winner awarded by the Rotary Foundation of Asbury Park.
This year she was a guest speaker at a recent Rotary Club of Asbury Park meeting held at the Renaissance ballroom in Ocean Township.
Echols-Gardner, of Neptune, graduated from Asbury Park High school in 1982 and attended Rutgers University, graduating with a BA in economics and an MBA from Monmouth University.
The Rotary foundation of Asbury Park awards four $2,000 scholarships annually given directly to the recipient for books, classes or whatever else a new college bound student may require.
The Rotary Club is currently running a mega 50-50 awarding the winner $10,000 if all tickets are sold. The other half of the prize will go directly to the Rotary Foundation for scholarships and other community giving.
Echols-Gardner joined the Rotary Club as a full member at the clubs evening meeting held recently at Simko’s restaurant in Neptune. She was a unanimous choice among members present.
President Kip Daly said the Rotary Club of Asbury Park is honored to have Valerie as a member.
“Valerie is giving back to the organization that helped her achieve greater goals in her life,” he said.
Scholarships awarded from Rotary are earned. Students submit applications (which can be found on the website at Asbury www.asburyparkrotary.org) and open the scholarship program window / then AP Scholarship Application to apply.
A committee chaired by Tama Campbell reviews each application and grades them on criteria set up by the committee. Valerie has come full circle. As a past scholarship winner Echols-Gardner decided to give back to the community that helped her along the way and inspire other students to do the same. She said she wants to promote the Rotary motto of “Service above self” and help our community wherever there’s a need.