Maddie Potts Spirit of Community Leadership Award

Stephanie Potts, mother of the late Maddie Potts, and Community 2000 Foundation President Chris Phillips present a Maddie Potts Spirit of Community Leadership Award to Chariho senior Grace Hackley (above). 


The Westerly Sun

RICHMOND — Eight graduating Chariho seniors were recognized Thursday at the annual awards breakfast at Richmond Country Club. The event was organized by the Community 2000 Education Foundation.

Foundation President Christopher Philips explained that two different awards would be presented: two $1,000 Maddie Potts Spirit of Community Leadership awards, sponsored by the foundation, and six $1,000 Career Development Portfolio awards sponsored by area businesses.

Philips said that in addition to recognizing the students, the breakfast also brought together the award recipients with representatives of the companies that sponsored them.

“It’s always fun. It’s always exciting, Philips said. “It’s not easy, because this is the only chance that the donors get to get to know the award winners.”

Chariho Principal Craig MacKenzie said he enjoyed seeing the students sharing breakfast with their award sponsors.

“We know that the community members who are awarding scholarships are making an investment in Chariho students, and I think it’s so important that we take the time, which sometimes we don’t do, to get award donors and award winners together, so that on a personal level, they know each other,” he said.

Presenting the Maddie Potts Spirit of Community Leadership awards was Maddie’s mother, Stephanie Potts. 

“Chris Philips reached out to us very early on after we lost Maddie and presented this idea to us,” she said. “I present them, but Community 2000 actually sponsors them.”

Matthew Brady and Grace Hackley are this year’s recipients of the Maddie Potts awards.

Brady will study physics next year at the University of Rhode Island.

“It feels good to be recognized for just being a good person in the community,” he said. 

Matthew’s father, John, said he was proud to see his son win the Maddie Potts award.

“It’s a great testament to how hard he’s worked, but also to Maddie’s legacy,” he said. 

Grace Hackley will attend Colorado State University, where she will study horticulture.

“I’m going to be majoring in horticulture and they have lots of different specializations, and I’m probably going to choose floraculture, which is greenhouse management and growing for indoor spaces,” she said.

The Career Development awards were sponsored by Arrowhead Dental Associates, Dan’s Management Company, the Professional Planning Group, the Horace A. Kimball Foundation, Ocean State Transit Company, and Valenti Toyota.

Elizabeth LaCroix, who will study medicine at Bates College, received the award from Arrowhead Dental Associates.

“I’m more than proud,” said her mother, Kristen.

 Dr. Christine Benoit, who presented LaCroix’s award, said Arrowhead was fully committed to the Chariho school district.

“We love Chariho and the community that they educate for generations,” she said. “Many of our employees are alums of the Chariho school system, the patients we serve, the faculty and staff  that come to the practice, so it’s a wonderful way that we can give back to the community and applaud an outstanding student and citizen, Elizabeth LaCroix.”

Other career development award recipients are Claire Fox, who will study medicine at the University of South Carolina; Krysta Bouchard, who will study pediatric psychology at URI; Natalie Gray, who will study epidemiology at Bates College; Maura Beaudreau, who will study medicine at the University of Wisconsin; and Nickolas Williams, who will attend Johnson & Wales University, majoring in cyberintelligence and defense.


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