The Belfast Garden Club has awarded its two annual scholarships to Meagan McKeon of Searsport and Alicia Gaiero of Belfast. Each will receive $1,000.
McKeon graduated at the top of her class from Searsport District High School. This fall, she’ll begin her freshman year at University of New Hampshire, studying environmental conservation and sustainability. She hopes to have a dual major in International Affairs to better prepare herself for a more interconnected world.
“All of the Earth’s systems are connected, so in order to solve the major environmental issues facing Maine and surrounding areas, people need to think on a global scale,” she said.
In high school, McKeon participated in soccer, track and field, sailing, theater, hosting an exchange student, being a student ambassador, robotics, student council, Class President, National Honors Society, Maine National Honor Society public relations officer, Dirigo Girls State, the Barbara Bush Foundation Teen Trendsetter’s Program, and her school mentoring program. She also received awards for Student of the Quarter and Student of the Year and graduated summa cum laude.
Gaiero graduated from Belfast Area High School and will be attending the University of Maine in the fall majoring in sustainable agriculture.
She was on the honor roll all four years of high school, where she was a member and captain of varsity field hockey and the outdoor track and field team. She was a member of the National Honor Society and the National Art Honor Society.
She was a three-year class officer serving as fundraising chair for her class and the former treasurer of the student-run nonprofit Liberian Education Fund.
Her interest in agriculture was sparked by early gardening with her parents, and being a member of the Ecology Academy at Troy Howard Middle School. In high school, she did research projects on GMOs and interviewed local farmers, including an owner of the largest cow farm in Maine.
“By earning an education in the agricultural field I hope I may learn sustainable farming practices that will protect and provide for the welfare of humans, animals and work towards environmental preservation,” she said.
The Belfast Garden Club provides two scholarships each year to Waldo County students going into earth-friendly fields. It raises money through its annual Green Thumb Plant Sale and its Open Garden Days, which are held Fridays from June to mid-August.