A local student has been awarded a major scholarship to attend Western Kentucky University.
Trinity Melton, a senior at Southwestern High School, is among 17 recipients selected by WKU for the 2022-23 Cherry Presidential Scholarship. The school's most prestigious academic award, the scholarship is valued at $16,000 annually and worth $64,000 during a four-year period.
The daughter of Byron and Crystal Melton of Somerset, Trinity plans to major in Communication Sciences & Disorders (CSD). She had initially planned to attend Eastern Kentucky University, where her father attended, on an alumni scholarship but applied at WKU as well because it also offers the CSD program.
"I'm looking more into the clinical side of speech pathology than school speech pathologists," Trinity said. "I was really looking for a career that combined both Science and English because that's what I really love. It's a weird combination, I know, but I really love those subjects."
The senior added that she was also inspired by the speech pathologist who helped her grandfather with aphasia. "I really want to help people," she said. "Once I saw that, I knew that's what I wanted to do."
In September, about a month after she had applied to Western, Trinity was invited to compete for the Cherry Presidential Scholarship. She first submitted an essay about overcoming challenges, then traveled to Bowling Green in November for an interview before a three-member panel.
"I had just taken a public speaking class," Trinity explained, adding the panel was interested in applicants who could communicate well. "I'm not that good at public speaking but I'm pretty ok with one-on-one conversations."
She believes that WKU officials may have also been swayed by her academic record (including AP and dual-credit courses) as well as diverse extracurricular activities which include three years in Marching Band, two years on the former SWHS Student Council, Conservation Club, HOSA (Future Health Professionals) and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
"I was shocked," Trinity said of finding out last month that she'd been selected, joking that her father was so excited that he'd been ready to "ship her off" right then. "I had to re-read the first line over and over, because I really wasn't expecting it."