HINDMAN – Three Knott County Central High School seniors were recognized Thursday, May 9, as recipients of an “I Am UNITE” scholarship.

Knott scholarships 5-9-13This is the first year for the scholarships, valued at $1,500 each.

Seniors Brian Catron, Kennedy King and Avery Shrum were presented the scholarships by Paul Hays, UNITE law enforcement director.

A total of 19 “I Am UNITE” scholarships are being given this year by the UNITE Foundation, funded through private donations and proceeds from two National Rx Drug Abuse Summits.

To receive a scholarship and be named a UNITE Ambassador, students had to demonstrate: commitment to their school’s UNITE Club, personal contributions to his or her school and community, exemplify UNITE’s goals by living a drug-free lifestyle, and write an essay.

“I have seen too many of my family and friends’ lives negatively impacted by the use of drugs,” King stated in her essay. “It is one of the most difficult and saddest things to see … a life full of potential to not only be distracted but stopped by at-risk behavior.”

“Although drugs have never affected my family in a close way, I still feel as if it is a duty of mine to help make my community a better place,” Catron wrote.

Shrum stated that his family has been directly impacted from substance abuse. “These tragedies involving drugs really hit close to home … and they have only added to my desire to participate in the UNITE Club and help to raise awareness to the realities of drug misuse.”

Scholarship recipients also received a desktop award naming them a “UNITE Ambassador,” a reminder to keep inspiring others each day of their lives.

“Someone dies every 15 minutes of a drug-related overdose. Ensuring that every person in every community understands the dangers posed by prescription drugs, and what to do when a loved one struggles with an addiction, is one of UNITE’s top priorities,” Hays said. “UNITE believes that prevention, particularly among our youth, is the best way to reduce drug use and its deadly consequences.”