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Students at Rockdale schools will be eligible for scholarships in memory of Kate Caruso

The Light the Way Scholarship, founded in memory of Kate Caruso, will be awarded to drama students from Heritage High, Rockdale High, Salem High, and Young Americans Christian School. Caruso was a graduate of Heritage and went on to become a fourth-grade teacher at YACS before she passed away. (Special photo)

The Light the Way Scholarship, founded in memory of Kate Caruso, will be awarded to drama students from Heritage High, Rockdale High, Salem High, and Young Americans Christian School. Caruso was a graduate of Heritage and went on to become a fourth-grade teacher at YACS before she passed away. (Special photo)

CONYERS – Drama students of Heritage High, Rockdale County High, Salem High and Young Americans Christian schools are eligible for the Kate Caruso Light the Way Scholarship, named for the late Heritage graduate.

Kate Caruso, who died in March 2011 at the age of 26 after succumbing to a 12-year battle with cancer, had a passion for drama and theatre, often entertaining her family with musical performances as a child. After graduation from Heritage High School, she attended the University of Georgia and then became a fourth-grade teacher at Young Americans. Originally from the Massachusetts area of Cape Cod, she moved to Conyers with her family in 1990, where she lived for the remainder of her life.

According to Kate’s mother, Jane Caruso, the scholarship is awarded to drama students who embody the same qualities that Kate demonstrated in her life, including dedication, compassion, enthusiasm and concern for others.

The Light the Way scholarship is presented to a high school senior who participated in his or her school’s drama program for all four years of high school, and who showed strong commitment and character throughout those years. Each school’s drama department will determine which students will receive the scholarship.

Although the scholarship was previously awarded to Heritage and YACS students only, this is the first year that RCHS and Salem students will also be considered for the scholarship.

“This year we are delighted to include the Salem and Rockdale High School drama departments in the event and we will be offering scholarships to students from those programs, too,” said Caruso in a message to the Citizen. She went on to add, “we didn’t want Rockdale and Salem to feel like the ugly step-children.”

The recipients of $750 Light the Way scholarship will be announced at each high school’s Senior Night. Awards of scholarships of lesser values will also be awarded to various school drama departments.

Funding for the scholarships will be raised at the third annual Kate Caruso Light the Way Balloon Launch on April 21 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Heritage High School football field. For each $10 donation, donors will be given a balloon to release in honor of Kate. Donations can be made at the event, or online at www.katecarusoltw.org. For more information, contact Jane Caruso at 770-922-5126.