MONTICELLO – Wayne County High School senior Denise Franks was recognized Friday, May 10, as one of first recipients of an “I Am UNITE” scholarship.

Wayne_Denise_Franks 5-10-13This is the first year for the scholarships, valued at $1,500 each.

Franks was presented the scholarship by Mikkah Rogers, UNITE’s youth programs coordinator.

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.

“Drugs are easy to come in contact with, especially in school,” noted Franks, president of this year’s UNITE Club. “Students have to be strong and stick to their morals. I want people to know they have a choice, and the best choice is to say no and stay sober.”

The scholarship also comes with a desktop award naming the recipient a “UNITE Ambassador,” a reminder to keep inspiring others each day of their lives.

This school year, Wayne County High’s 20-member UNITE Club was one of 118 clubs with more than 9,500 student members in 26 counties – the largest number of participants since the initiative began in 2005.

“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,” Rogers said. “UNITE believes that prevention, particularly among our youth, is the best way to reduce drug use and its deadly consequences.”