McLaughlin, who graduated this year from Spring Lake High School with academic and athletic honors, said winning the $1,500 scholarship funded by Fifth Third Bank was “exciting.”
“I’ve been coming to the Coast Guard (Festival) since I was little,” she said. “I grew up in the Los Angeles area and so we spent our summers here and I came here frequently — and I’ve loved the Coast Guard Festival all my life. And it’s a completely different experience ... as a resident — getting to see it as someone that now lives in the Tri-Cities and gets to still enjoy it on an almost deeper level.”
McLaughlin is the daughter of Larry and Anne McLaughlin of Spring Lake. She will be attending the University of Michigan beginning in September, and plans to major in economics or political science.
Nichol Stack, the chairwoman of the scholarship program, said a panel of judges selected the finalists based on their personal maturity, volunteerism and youth leadership potential.
“Collectively, they have volunteered hundreds of hours for the Grand Haven (Area) Community Foundation, National Honor Society, Haiti: I Care, Love INC, Senior Congress, church youth groups, student council and Interact — and the list goes on,” Stack said.
Noah Thelen was first runner-up, winning a $700 scholarship; and Jill Dutmers was second runner-up, winning a $300 scholarship. The other finalists were Colin Pellegrom, Chelsea Vink, Amy Potter, Allison Steggles, Jameson Steffel, Carolyn Coutre, Mike Queen and Alyssa Adamovich.
Last year’s youth ambassador, Elizabeth Shay, was presented a gift for her year of service during Friday’s ceremony.