By Sean Barron
JoAnn Armour fondly recalled when her 6-year-old daughter, Victoria Armour, rescued, cared for, fed and treated a bunny that had been attacked in the family’s yard.
The girl was saddened by the sight of the injured animal, but equally determined to do what she could to nurse it back to health.
So it’s not surprising to anyone who knows the Austintown Fitch High School senior that she plans to go to college, then pursue a career in helping animals.
Her academic ambitions received a big financial boost when she received an $8,000 scholarship during Thursday’s 2014 Edward J. DeBartolo Memorial Scholarship luncheon at Antone’s Banquet Centre, 8578 Market St.
Armour was one of seven high-school seniors in the region who each received scholarships of the same amount based largely on their academic performance and community work as well as being positive role models and overcoming adversities to excel.
The others were Brea Brazzon of Niles McKinley High School; Bridgette Kelly, United High; Mary Kenney, South Range; Christian Parks, Liberty; Caleb Roth, LaBrae; and Martin Strong, Boardman.
Also when she was a child, Armour faced an emotional upheaval when her parents divorced, which led to financial challenges and her mother’s having to raise her alone, Armour recalled.
“My mom put herself through school. She’s the reason I learned to work hard,” added Armour, who plans to major in biology at Ohio State University, with a focus on pre-veterinary medicine.
“I couldn’t ask for a better daughter,” JoAnn Armour said, noting that she instilled in her child the value of working hard and staying positive in the face of adversity.
Consequently, Victoria has maintained straight A’s throughout her school years, her mother added.
The past year has been especially trying for Mary Kenney, whose father, Mike Kenney, was slowly recovering from having been in an accident with his tractor. Despite the painful recuperation and pressure on the family, Mary was able to persevere by keeping her grades up and focusing on school, she noted.
“I feel really blessed,” she said, referring to her scholarship, which will make it easier for her to attend Johnson University, a small Christian College in Knoxville, Tenn., and pursue a career in social work.
During the past 17 years, the Edward J. DeBartolo Memorial Scholarship Foundation has awarded more than $600,000 in scholarship money to high-school students who fit the requirements, noted Denise DeBartolo York, owner and co-chairwoman of the San Francisco 49ers.
“My father believed that all students who have demonstrated intensity and desire, regardless of their financial situation, should be afforded the opportunity to receive a college education,” she said.