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Paying for college just got a little easier for three students at Joint Base Andrews. Marissa Howk, Jewell Saunders and Franklyn Abedi each received a $3,000 scholarship from the Michaels Organization Educational Foundation (TMOEF).

Mary Jette, Liberty Parks’ community manager, presented the scholarship to the three military dependents.

“Over the past 20 plus years TMOEF has given more than three million dollars in scholarship grants,” said Jette, during a scholarship luncheon held in their honor Aug. 21 at the Liberty Park Welcome Center on Joint Base Andrews.

“Last year TMOEF gave more than $450,000 in scholarship grants to 16,000 students nationwide,” said Jette.

After the luncheon, the scholarship candidates were given the opportunity to introduce their families and publicly share their aspirations and express their gratefulness for the scholarships.

“I want to be head athletic physical therapist on a USA Women’s Sports Team, CEO or head manager of a professional sports team,” said Howk, a 20-year-old junior, currently attending Frostburg State University. She was happy to receive a TMOEF scholarship grant totaling $3000 and is majoring in athletic training with a minor in business. “I’ve known what I’ve wanted to do with my life since my sophomore year in high school.”

Howk has strong ties to the community both on and off base. “She was our lifeguard this past summer at the Liberty Park Pool,” said Mary Jette. Her athleticism and humanitarian efforts led her to participate on the Frostburg University lacrosse team, volunteer at local Red Cross blood drives, run in the American Cancer Association’s Relay For Life. Her parents are Paul and Laurie Howk.

Saunders is working toward a degree in public communications with a double major in literature and cinema focus at the American University. She has aspirations to enter the entertainment industry.

“I would like to be in the entertainment world, either writing or working with a public relations agency and also travel,” said Saunders. “I’m on a scholarship now, but it’s not enough to really cover the cost. I’m currently taking five classes, and I have two part-time jobs.”

Saunders noted she is not only grateful to TMOEF, but also for the support her parents provide. “I’m happy to receive the $1,500 per semester that was given to me.”

“I gladly used part of my GI Bill the cover some of the expenses for Jewell the first year,” said her mother, Master Sgt. Jaimie Saunders. Jamie serves as NCO in charge of Protocol at the Air National Guard Readiness Center. “We’re very proud of her,” added her father, Mike Saunders.

Franklyn Abedi recently graduated from the University of Maryland College Park (UMDCP) last May with a bachelor’s of science degree in kinesiology.

“I’m pursuing a master’s degree in occupational therapy, which will allow me to work with military personnel and veterans who suffer from traumatic brain injury,” said Abedi.

“I applied for this scholarship during my senior high school year. Getting this scholarship means I’ll be able to take the class I need without paying back a loan,” she said. “Getting this scholarship makes it less stressful.”

Abedi has been awarded the scholarship grant for the past five years. “I’ve received this scholarship every year, since my freshman year at the UMDCP. This scholarship allows me to finish up my occupational therapy prerequisites for graduate school and I’m very thankful to The Michaels Foundation for their support.”

Abedi is the daughter of Capt. Yvonne Abedi, a 779th Medical Group- Surgical Operations Squadron Surgical Unit Registered Nurse at the Malcolm Grow Medical Clinics and Surgery Center.

At the conclusion of the luncheon, Jette presented the parents with a bouquet of flowers, thanking them for their continued support of their daughter’s academic achievement.

In a closing statement, Jette said “This year, TMOEF program reached a milestone — awarding for the first time ever more than $500,000 in grants. They are very proud of their contributions to worthy students. However, parents play a big part in their children’s lives, which motivates them to achieve greater academic levels.”

If you are interested in applying for The Michaels Organization Educational Foundation Scholarship you must submit an application or resume, participate in community service and live in a Michaels Housing Community. For more information visit www.themichaelsorg.com.