Salem High School senior Avery Reagan recently was presented a $5,000 check from the Diego Rincon Scholarship. In the fall, Reagan plans to attend the University of Evansville in Indiana to major in theater. She is pictured with, from left, Rockdale County Commissioner JaNice Van Ness, Rockdale County Public Schools Superintendent Richard Autry and Rockdale County Board of Education Chairman Jim McBrayer.
CONYERS -- Ten years after the death of a Salem High School graduate, his memory continues to live on.
The Diego Rincon Scholarship has been awarded to Avery Reagan, a graduating senior at Salem High School, this year. She received the award last week during the Rockdale County Board of Education's monthly meeting at Heritage High School.
All Rockdale County graduating seniors who will attend college in the fall were eligible to apply for the scholarship this year -- they had to write an essay about what freedom means to them. In the past, the scholarship was open only to Salem High School seniors.
This year, 47 students applied for the scholarship. A group of community volunteers scored the essays, and Reagan was determined to be the winner.
In the fall, Reagan plans to attend the University of Evansville in Indiana to major in theater. The scholarship funds will be sent directly to the college.
The scholarship was given in honor of Diego Rincon, who was a 2000 Salem graduate.
After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Rincon said he wanted to fight for his adopted country. Diego, a native of Colombia, joined the U.S. military and became a member of the 3rd Infantry Division.
In 2003, his unit was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. On March 29, 2003, Rincon and three fellow soldiers died from a bomb. He was 19 years old.
Afterward, Rodger Rehorn with The Rehorn Professional Group in Stockbridge decided to honor him by creating a $5,000 scholarship in his name. This year is the ninth year in awarding the scholarship.