Emelia Paullus and Abigail Marx from St. Helens High School, and Emma Phillips from Scappoose High School are being recognized for their accomplishments by the St. Helens Elks Club.

The three are 2019 graduates from the schools.

The Eks honored Paullus with the Teen of the Year award, and Marx and Phillips were honored with the Most Valuable Student Award and Scholarship.

Paullus received an engraved plaque, $75 for being the St. Helens High School September 2018 Teen of the Month, a framed certificate, and $125 for being Teen of the Year.

Marx was awarded a total of $10,300 in Elks Scholarships: $1,500 from the St. Helens Lodge, $1,800 from the Northwest District, $3,000 from the State Elks, and $4,000 from the National Elks. Phillips was awarded a total of $2,600 in Elks Scholarships: $1,200 from the St. Helens Lodge and $1,400 from the Elks Northwest District.

St. Helens Elks Lodge Scholarship Chairperson Don Kielblock presented the awards during the June 11 ceremony at the Elks Lodge.

The Elks National Foundation awards $4.1 million annually in scholarships to graduating high school seniors, with the Most Valuable Student Scholarship being the topmost award. The St. Helens Elks Lodge, in conjunction with the program, awards more than $3,000 each year to Columbia County graduating seniors. To receive the award, students apply at the local level, and then their application is sent upwards to the district, state and national levels, according to Kielblock.

Marx was awarded first place at the local level, and then also earned distinction at the Northwest District level, as well as State of Oregon level. Phillips was awarded the second-place honor at the local level, and then third place at the Northwest District level.

The scholarships will help each of the young women finance their college education.

Phillips said winning the Elks scholarship was significant to her because she has been active in the community all her life. In addition to an impressive academic record, Phillips boasts a long resume of leadership and community involvement. Phillips has volunteered at the Columbia County Fair for five years, was the junior leader for the local dog 4H program for three years, served as the St. Helens Youth City Council volunteer for four years, and served as chair/president for two years, among many other activities.

Phillips said she felt like she never really fit in as a child, and that getting involved in the community helped her become more connected.

“I was in 4H and through that I was able to get involved in other things,” Phillips said. “Being active in the community really helped me grow as a person.”

Paullus said her award was a way to prove herself wrong. She said she had a lot of fears entering high school about being mediocre and not being able to measure up.

“So this is kind of cool to show that I am not mediocre,” Paullus said. “And how getting involved has really improved my life throughout high school.”

Paullus has mainly gotten involved through sports, being a member of both the golf and basketball team since her freshman year of high school.

“By senior year I was captain of each team, so I really started from the bottom and made it to the top,” Paullus said.

Being involved in sports also helped Paullus get involved with volunteering. Paullus said she helped at tournaments and volunteered with her younger sister’s basketball team. Outside of sports, Paullus helped with fundraisers like doing canned food drives for Columbia Pacific Food Bank. She was also a part of National Honors Society.

Abby Marx also commented on how she felt about receiving her scholarship.

“It’s a huge surprise, I’ve just been applying to scholarships like crazy throughout the year. It’s just a huge honor to get the scholarship that I did,” Marx said.

Kielblock said that Marx is the first person from Columbia County to be awarded the Most Valuable Student scholarship at the state level.

Marx also has a long resume of activities and leadership positions. Along with being the valedictorian of the St. Helens High School Class of 2019, she served as Key Club president for three years, Marching Band drum major for four years, and is currently doing an engineering internship.

She also participated in numerous other activities throughout her high school years, including National Honor Society, St. Helens High School Jazz Band, St. Helens High School Wind Ensemble, Dog 4H and Horse 4H, earning a State Champion title in show jumping in Horse 4H and qualified for the state championship in Dog 4H.

The application process for the 2020 Most Valuable Student award opens on August 5. Applicants are judged on their academic and leadership achievement as well as their financial need. The deadline to apply is November 5.

For more information, contact the St. Helens Elks Lodge at 503-397-1999.

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