KINGSPORT, TN – The Kingsport Chamber has announced Hannah Casey from East Ridge High School in Lick Creek, Kentucky is the 2016 recipient of the Santa Train Scholarship, sponsored by Domtar.
The Santa Train Scholarship was established in 1989 and is a four-year, $5,000 scholarship ($1,250 each year) awarded annually to a graduating high school senior along the 110-mile Santa Train route.
There are 23 high schools along the route which stretches from Elkhorn City, Ky., through Virginia and into Kingsport.
Students apply for the scholarship and the winner is selected by the Santa Train scholarship committee. The winner is chosen based on grade point average, extracurricular activities, a counselor or teacher’s recommendation and financial need.
Casey is currently at the top of her class with a 4.0 GPA. She plans on attending Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky to major in Elementary Education.
After losing her father to colon cancer in 2008, Casey says that no matter what she does, she knows she will make her father proud.
“I just hope that somehow I can pursue my dreams for him,” Casey said.
Casey has been involved in many extracurricular activities and completed countless hours of community service. Some of these include PCYLC Full Council, Kiwanis Fall Festival, Coats for Kids, Headstart Thanksgiving Boxes, Spread the Love Campaign, Christmas Toy Giveaway and many more.
“Each time Hannah drops by my office, I feel uplifted by her sweet spirit,” said Krista Bell, Guidance Counselor of East Ridge High school. “Having known her since she was a child, I can attest that both her character and her circumstances make her the best candidate for this honor.”
For seventy-four years now, the Santa Train has been running through Appalachia delivering 15 tons of new toys, clothes, candy and gifts to thousands of children in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. With a 110- mile route and 14 stops, the Santa Train touches many lives and provides memories that will last forever.
“Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, so the Santa Train was always the beginning of the Christmas season for me,” Casey said. “My whole family goes so I have the memory of my dad putting me on his shoulders so I could see Santa and whichever celebrity was making an appearance that year.”
The Santa Train is sponsored by CSX, Dignity U Wear, Food City and the Kingsport Chamber.