Submitted by Clark Judge, KAA.
(May 26, 2021) — For the third time in the past four years, five Killingworth seniors – including four from Haddam-Killingworth High School — are recipients of Killingworth Ambulance Association scholarships.
Haddam-Killingworth’s Jasmine Byrne, Thomas Perry and Ryan and Sam Luther received their 2021 awards Tuesday evening at the school’s Seniors Awards Night, while Mercy’s Kayla Fordyce was honored May 20 at a celebration for seniors at the Middletown school.
Perry and the Luther brothers are the first male recipients in the past three years.
The KAA annually grants scholarships to high school seniors who meet the following criteria: They must reside in Killingworth, have been accepted to a two-or-four-year colleges, plan to major in the medical, emergency services or allied fields, participate in community service and have GPAs of 3.0 or better.
All five did as one of the most accomplished groups of scholarship winners in recent history. Here are their stories:
JASMINE BYRNE – As a high-school freshman, she attended a Crime Scene Investigation Program at the University of New Haven and immediately set her sights on attending the school. And so she will – studying forensic science, with a concentration in biology. “Going to college was never a choice,” she said, “but a next step for me to take in order to lead a life where I could be happy and fulfilled.” An active member of the Spanish Honor Society, a math and science tutor for younger students and the National Anthem singer at the annual Killingworth Road Race, Jasmine accumulated an astounding 500 hours of community service while at HKHS.
RYAN LUTHER – When he was hospitalized five years ago, Ryan was struck by the kindness shown him by doctors and nurses at Yale New Haven Health. “It reminded me that I wanted to be a doctor since I was young,” he said. So he will attend St. Anselm College and pursue that dream, with biology his major. Ryan volunteered with his twin brother, Sam, at the Killingworth Land Trust, helped raise $10,000 for the JDRF Type One Diabetes Walk and, until the pandemic, played a sport every year.
SAM LUTHER – Ryan’s twin brother, Sam helped with the Diabetes Walk and Killingworth Land Trust, too. And, like Ryan, he volunteered to help with the elderly, played a sport every year until the pandemic struck and will attend St. Anselm. But unlike his brother, he will pursue a degree in nursing … a pursuit he followed when he helped to look after Ryan following his hospitalization. “He knows that I know … and I know that he knows … I want to help people,” he said.
THOMAS PERRY – Some people dread AP Biology. Not Thomas Perry. It awakened his love for science and reminded him how much he loved experiments. “Not only that,” he said, “but I loved the learning and every bit of information we were required to obtain.” Thomas will take that passion to Middlebury College where he plans to major in biology and maybe, just maybe, pursue a career as a physician. Thomas has also worked at the Killingworth Land Trust and helped to feed the homeless in New Haven.
KAYLA FORDYCE – Kayla was always interested in biology, but it wasn’t until she attended the Inspiring Women in Engineering and Medicine workshop at the University of Connecticut that she found her passion: orthopedic surgery. “(It) increased my already motivated self,” she said, “to proceed with my study of medicine and opened my eyes to the world of orthopedic surgery.” Kayla will attend Providence College where she plans to pursue a major in biology and a career in medicine. She completed 213 hours of community service at Mercy, including 95 as an assistant athletic trainer and 53 as a Mercy Ambassador.
Photo by Clark Judge.