CHS senior Valerie Davidheiser earns Elevate scholarship
The Elevate Foundation, of Bethlehem, named its first scholarship recipient - Catasauqua High School senior Valerie Davidheiser.
“I applied for the scholarship because I saw it as an amazing opportunity,” Davidheiser said. “I also really liked how they emphasized volunteering in your community with the scholarship.”
The Elevate Foundation was founded in 2020 on the tenets of promoting basic human needs, education and care for the neglected. The Bethlehem-based organization performs charitable projects throughout a number of municipalities in the area.
The scholarship opportunities are for those looking to pursue educational goals and who may be restricted by financial circumstances. Each student is also linked with internship and employment opportunities in his or her field.
Davidheiser is actively involved in many activities at CHS. She is a varsity captain for both the volleyball and cheerleading teams. She is also part of the track and field team. She is the vice president for the CHS Drama Club, secretary for National Honor Society and a member of the Varsity “C” Club.
Additionally, she serves as a student representative to Catasauqua Borough Council.
Despite all these activities, she still finds time to give back to the community through her volunteer efforts.
“I volunteer mainly with Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center, where I have assisted with many different volunteer projects,” she said, noting she mainly focused on its Weekly Weeders program, where she helped maintain the native plant gardens and the DiscoverE summer camps, helping teach children about different topics such as amphibians and watersheds.
“This helped me discover my passion for environmental science,” Davidheiser said.
She ran her own educational program in October 2021 called “Don’t Leaf Me Hanging.” In this program, she discussed trees and how they prepare for winter.
In addition to Jacobsburg, she also volunteers with the garden group at Lehigh Gap Nature Center and “extensively in my community as well as through my school.”
As part of the scholarship criteria, she must complete a community service project. Davidheiser does different conservation projects through Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center.
“Recently, I helped install wood duck boxes along the Bushkill Creek,” she said.
Elevate also partners the scholarship recipients with a mentor to help guide the student. Her mentor is Leslie Estrada, a Spanish teacher at CHS and an Elevate board member.
“She is actively involved in the community and has assisted with and planned many different community service projects, especially through The Elevate Foundation,” Davidheiser said of Estrada.
After high school, Davidheiser is planning on studying ecology and biology at Susquehanna University.
“After college, I hope to be able to perform research in the environmental field and help to create a better future for younger generations,” she said.
“I think it’s important to volunteer in your community because it gives you a sense of purpose. I know that I am doing good and making a change for the better, which gives me pride,” she said, according to The Elevate Foundation.
The Elevate Foundation is still accepting applications for its scholarship program.
To apply, students must submit an application, along with a letter of recommendation. Students must also complete a community service project for each year they are granted the scholarship.
To apply, go to elevatefoundation.net/scholarship.
The application deadline is May 20.