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VAN WERT — The Van Wert Service Club has initiated its annual search for area youths who best exemplify self-reliance. The school presentations were completed during the last few weeks at Van Wert, Lincolnview, and Crestview High Schools and Vantage Career Center.

The R.K. Thompson Self-Reliance Award is designed to provide recognition and cash awards for high school seniors who “do the best with what they have.” First place boy and girl winners will receive $1,000 each and the eight finalists will receive $500 each.

This is the 44th year for the award, which is sponsored by the Thompson Family Trust through the Van Wert County Foundation in honor of the late R.K. Thompson, Sr. and R.K. Thompson, Jr. They both worked closely with young people and encouraged them to set high, but attainable goals and then apply themselves to obtain these goals. This has been the guiding philosophy of the award.

According to Breanne Sudduth and Andy Gearhart, Chairpersons of the Van Wert Service Club committee whom administers the award, the applications are due back to the high school guidance counselors by Friday, March 7. All Van Wert, Crestview, Lincolnview and Vantage (whose home schools are Van Wert, Lincolnview or Crestview) seniors are urged to complete an application.