For the past 30 years the Freeport Rotary Club has been serving the Freeport and the surrounding communities; through volunteerism and monetary donations.  One of the more significant contributions is in the form of education scholarships for graduating high school seniors.  One of the largest fundraisers, which proceeds go to the Scholarship Fund is the Close to the Coast 5k & 10k on June 21, 2014. Help pitch in by signing up.  For more information check the link in our "events section."  To sign-on up online go to:


The club currently gives out 3 scholarships per year: The Joan Benoit-Samuelson Award for $2000, named for the Freeport Resident and 1984 Gold Medal winner, The Stephen S. Leighton Award for $2000, named for charter member Edgar Leighton’s son, who passed away and the Technical Program Award for $1000.  To be eligible, students must be residents of Freeport, Durham or Pownal.  Academic achievement and financial need are considered in the award of these Scholarships as well as community service projects.

Over the past 30 years the Club has awarded well over $190,000 in scholarships and helped over 80 graduating seniors from the Freeport area attended college. Below are a few stories of some scholarship winners as written in their own words, so please take a moment to read them.  You never know how your small donation towards the scholarship fund may not only profoundly affect the life of one student but the lives that student may touch as well.

Dr Jimmy Hendricks

I was awarded a $2000 scholarship from the Rockland, Maine Rotary Club in 1991.  Given the fact that my yearly tuition in my first year of college was $11,000, that was significant amount of money.  I grew up as the youngest in a family five in the Rockland, Maine Area, my mother was a Postmaster and at the time I graduated high school, my father had just retired. With four children in my family going off to college by the time it was mine turn, financially things were a little tight. With the support of the Rotary Club and other scholarships I received it made the dream of going off to college a reality.   I went on to graduate from Springfield College in Springfield, MA with my BS in Sports Medicine and then went directly off to Chiropractic school to finish with another BS in Human Biology and my Doctorate of Chiropractic. When I came to Freeport, I became a member of the Rotary Club.  I have served as President of the club and have been on the board for 10 years.  I also direct the Close to the Coast 5k & 10k which all the proceeds go to our scholarship fund.  I think now more than ever with college costs rising, aspiring college students and their families need our help.

Joe Rotondo

I received a Rotary scholarship in Concord, Mass. in the good old days(1956). The scholarship was $1000.00.  In those days a $1000.00 was a lot of money. I was the fifth child in a family of six kids. My father made his living on a small truck farm. Needless to say money was scarce. Two of my older brothers were already in college at that time. I graduated from Babson and went to work for John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance company. My office was in Framingham,Mass. and was one of the company's most successful agency's. I retired at 55 and moved to Maine. Helen and I have always loved antiques and we built the red building where Frost Gully violins is today on Route 1 South in Freeport. We ran an antique store for six years until my back gave out. Then I started work at LL Bean and have worked there since. I joined Rotary back in 1996. I'm a past president and Paul Harris Fellow. Rotary did a lot for me and I'm glad to give back as best I can. 

Tyler Davis

I graduated from Freeport High School in 2003 and received a Rotary scholarship of $2,000.  I left Maine in the late summer of 2003 to attended Montana State University in Bozeman, with the intent to become a Graphic Designer.  I completed my art education in the spring of 2007 with a BFA in Graphic Design, graduating with honors 3.51 GPA. After college I found a interest in Web Design and followed a lead at L.L. Bean, working on their website in the Fall of 2008.  After six months, I traveled back to Montana to snowboard and then on to Portland, Oregon where I have been developing my Wed Design career, working for a large home-goods retailer on their website.

Kristen Poulin

My name is Kristen Poulin and I was the recipient of the Joan Benoit Samuelson Scholarship from the Freeport Rotary Club when I was a senior at Freeport High School.  In a few weeks, I will be graduating from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.  It’s hard to believe that I have already reached this milestone in my life - it went by so fast!  I had the most amazing college experience and I know that my education would not have been possible without the generous support from the Freeport Rotary Club and other scholarship programs that I was so fortunate to have received aid from.  I will be forever thankful to the Freeport Rotary Club as they made it possible for me to attend Bates College, which has opened so many doors and has offered more opportunities for me than I ever thought possible.

Freeport is my home - I have grown up here and my whole extended family lives in the area.  When choosing a college, I knew that I could not possibly venture out of the wonderful State of Maine.  I visited Bates College during the fall foliage and immediately fell in love with the beautiful New England campus.  I felt that the school was just the right distance away from home where my family would not be knocking at my door everyday, but I could still come home easily whenever I pleased.  Additionally, the idea of a liberal arts education was very appealing to me, as I was undecided on a major.  I had my heart set on attending the prestigious NESCAC school and with the Freeport Rotary Club’s support, I was able to pursue my dream.

During my freshman year, I took many classes in all types of departments and found an interest in Economics.  In May, I will be graduating from Bates with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and General Education Concentrations in (1) Applying Mathematical Methods and (2) Philosophy and Psychology.  At Bates, I have also been an officer of the Investment Club for the past two years and volunteer as a mentor at the local schools.  The Bates Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Teams, however, take up the majority of my time at Bates.  I love being a member of a sports team at College – we are almost like a little family - an “automatic” group of friends that I can always count on.  And I have made the best of friends and created amazing memories over the years.

My family and I could not be more impressed with Bates and the tremendous amount of resources and opportunities that they offer their students.  As a junior, I had the amazing opportunity of traveling overseas with other Bates students and two Bates professors and studying abroad in France.  For four months, I lived with a French family and was completely immersed in their culture.  It was a truly eye-opening experience that Bates made possibly. 

Additionally, through an Alumni internship program conducted by Bates’ outstanding career development center, I was offered a competitive internship at an Asset Management Firm in Boston, MA last summer.  The internship was an amazing opportunity for me to explore my interest in finance and it’s very exciting to say that I am the first intern and only student directly out of college that the firm has ever hired full-time.  I will be heading to Boston after graduation to start my career and life in “the real world”. 

I can’t help but think that where I am today and the opportunities I have had along the way have a lot to do with the Freeport Rotary Club’s very generous support of my education.  They made it possible for me to afford a Bates College education and have the opportunities and experiences that I did.  The Freeport Rotary Club is an amazing organization with a wonderful scholarship program that can really change students’ lives more than they may even realize.  I am so thankful to have been a recipient of one of their very generous scholarships.

Katee Sue Poulin

In 2011, when I was a senior at Freeport High School, I was awarded the Freeport Rotary Academic Scholarship. With the help of the Rotary Club, I have been able to further my education and work towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. I recently finished my sophomore year at the University of Southern Maine.

Growing up in Freeport has impacted my life significantly. I am the fifth generation in my family to grow up in Freeport so I have a lot of family in the area. Because of this, and my involvement in the community, I knew I wanted to attend a college that was close to home. Attending the University of Southern Maine has allowed me to continue to spend time with my family as well as remain involved in the Freeport community.

From a young age I always really enjoyed math, so I knew I wanted a career that would involve working with numbers. After hearing about the possible paths I could take, accounting appealed to me the most. USM has a very reputable School of Business, so I knew I would earn a great education there.

Upon graduating from USM, I plan to further my education by earning a Master’s Degree.  My career goal is to become a Certified Public Accountant.  I also hope to continue to be involved in the community in which I live, whether it be in Freeport or elsewhere. 

Receiving a Rotary Club Scholarship was an honor. I am so thankful for the generous contribution towards my education. It has allowed me gain great skills in my desired profession. Thank you again to all of the Rotary Club members for being committed to helping the community. 

more stories to come...