Caravan delivers Southampton Lions Club scholarships

  • Anne Curran, left, and Katy Taylor share a moment in Curran’s driveway after Taylor drove over. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 6/17/2020 6:25:31 PM

SOUTHAMPTON — Caravans of vehicles have been a popular way to celebrate birthdays and graduations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the Lions Club of Southampton, for the first time in its history, has delivered annual scholarships in this way.

“We decided, ‘Hey, why don’t we have the whole club go?’” said Mike O’Neill, president of the Lions Club.

The club’s two scholarships were awarded to Katie Taylor and Anne Curran, both 2020 graduates of Hampshire Regional High School. Although their parents had been informed, neither student knew they would be receiving their scholarships until more than a dozen cars pulled up in front of their houses.

“This is so nice,” Taylor said. “I never would have expected anything like this.”

Southampton Police Officer Scott Gove gave the caravan a police escort. He said the department has provided a number of escorts for caravans but that this was the first time he’d seen one for scholarships.

“I’m just happy for the two winners,” he said.

Normally, the scholarships would have been given out at Hampshire Regional High’s graduation ceremony. However, with no group ceremony yet this year, the Lions came up with the caravan as a substitute.

Taylor and Curran were given honks of appreciation, as well as applause, from those who gathered to see them receive their scholarships, which were $1,500 each.

Curran was playing her saxophone when the caravan pulled up.

“I’ve been to birthday parades and I had a graduation parade,” Curran said. “This is definitely unique.”

After Taylor received her scholarship, she drove over to Curran’s house, and the two winners had pictures taken together.

The girls received their scholarships based on service work. Taylor served as a member of the student advisory committee for the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, while Curran has volunteered for years with the Easthampton Community Center, and did her Gold Award project for the Girl Scouts there.

Curran was the salutatorian at Hampshire Regional, while Taylor ran track and played basketball and soccer there and plans on playing soccer in college.

Taylor is planning to go to Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, while Curran is planning on attending the University of Virginia. Taylor hasn’t yet decided on a major, while Curran is looking to study biology with the intent of entering a pre-med track and eventually earning a doctorate in medicine.

“It will definitely make such a big difference,” Taylor said of her award.

The scholarships this year were made possible thanks to an anonymous donor, as the pandemic drastically reduced the ability of the Lions to fundraise.

“Thanks to a donation we were able to stay with the $3,000,” said Norman Smith, chair of the club’s scholarship committee.

Curran expressed appreciation for the donor.

“We’re so lucky to have organizations who care about the citizens, who care about us seniors,” she said. “It just makes me so proud and happy to live in a community that supports its people so well. We really are like one big family.”

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