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Spooner earns $20,000 scholarship

Rising junior Austin Spooner of Bainbridge has been awarded a $10,000 per year Servant Leadership Scholarship to attend Darlington School in Rome, Ga.

The award, effective for the 2010-11 school year, is renewable for two years.

“Austin represents Darlington’s motto and mission perfectly,” said James Milford, director of admission and assistant headmaster at Darlington School. “He has dedicated himself to academic achievement and helping others in his community. His work ethic, determination and academic ability make him an ideal candidate for Darlington. We are excited to have him join our school community, and we look forward to seeing his efforts impact the people of Bainbridge.”

As part of the Servant Leadership Scholarship requirements, Spooner will complete a 40-hour community service project in his hometown of Bainbridge each year that he is enrolled at Darlington. For the first year, he plans to focus on a Vote Decatur County voter registration campaign designed to register at least 100 new voters.

“We are excited about Austin’s interest and commitment to voter registration,” Milford said. “It shows that he has political understanding and responsibility that stretches beyond the boundaries of a political party. We know that Bainbridge and the surrounding areas will be stronger because of Austin’s efforts.”

Spooner said he choose to pursue this project because roughly one-third of the eligible voters in Decatur County do not vote.

“I see that as a major problem,” Spooner said. “We live in a country where our right to vote has been paid for with the blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors, so ensuring that everyone has a voice in our democracy is a cause to which I am very committed.

Spooner said he plans to host a total of five four-hour voter registration drives at local businesses and public events in an effort to reach as many people as possible.

In addition, he said he will go door-to-door in an effort to get the message across to citizens that their vote does matter. Last, he said he will meet with the elected officials in the community in hopes of influencing these policy-makers to craft plans of their own that promote voter registration.

“The beauty of my plan is that anyone can do it, and by following through with this initiative, my goal is to start a movement in my community. After all, all great movements start on a small scale,” Spooner said in Darlington’s news release.

Spooner said he looks forward to attending Darlington School this fall.

“I want a superior college-preparatory education, and that was the major factor that helped me make my decision to change schools,” he said. “Darlington offers me a chance to really be challenged academically. I knew the moment I stepped on the campus that it was where I am meant to be.”

Spooner is the son of Tammy Tully of Bainbridge and Bill Spooner of Colquitt, Ga.