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January 28. 2013 10:49PM

Campbell High scholarship winner among select group of achievers


ADAM MULLEN 

LITCHFIELD - Challenged by his visual impairment, a local high school student is impressing educators and being recognized for his academic achievements.

Adam Mullen, who is legally blind, has been awarded a $10,000 college scholarship from Jewish Guild Healthcare. He is one of 16 high-achieving students throughout the nation to receive the prestigious scholarship.

"We are mindful of the often unexpectedly large sums of money needed to accomplish a successful transition from high school to a college or university, and we think that this scholarship money can be put to excellent use during this phase," said Alan Morse, president and CEO of The Guild. "The GuildScholar program will help assure that more blind students are able to enroll in colleges or universities that might otherwise be beyond their reach financially."

According to Morse, his organization is eager to help educate this country's next generation of leaders, a group that he says must include individuals with vision impairment. The 16 winners were chosen after a rigorous application process that included criteria such as academic excellence, community involvement, legal blindness, financial need and citizenship, according to a release.

Mullen, 17, is a senior at Campbell High School who is still undecided about where he will attend college. Born legally blind, Mullen says he has become empowered by his visual challenge. "It doesn't bother me anymore," said Mullen, who has a positive outlook on his situation and his future. "I am looking forward to a new set of experiences."

As captain of the high school First Robotics team, Mullen said he became inspired by various engineering concepts. His lifelong goal is now to become a mechanical engineer for the Department of Defense or a defense contractor. Meanwhile, he is scoping out different colleges, considering George Washington University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Worcester Polytechnic Institute where he intends on studying mechanical engineering. As part of the process for the scholarship, each applicant was asked to write an essay about a teacher whose encouragement and support made a great difference in their lives, helping them to be their best. Mullen wrote his essay about his former first-grade teacher, Penny Shupe at Griffin Memorial School, who he says was instrumental in shaping his future and keeping him optimistic despite his challenges.

When he isn't working with the robotics team, Mullen is busy serving as the high school mascot, a cougar.

Jewish Guild Healthcare, housed in New York, has been serving blind, visually impaired and multi-disabled children, adults and the elderly since 1914, says the release.

khoughton@newstote.com


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