by Susan Driscoll
Ruby Carey would have been proud.
James Oddy of Youngstown has been named this year's winner of the Youngstown Free Library Ruby Carey Memorial Scholarship.
The 18-year-old also won the hearts and minds of the current library board, when he joined them for a recent award ceremony and scholarship picnic. James was accompanied at this event by his parents and two sisters. Afterward, board members were in complete agreement that James was "such a nice young man" and "a very deserving winner."
"I think Youngstown is the most wonderful place in the world," James told one board trustee. James went on to say that he enjoys the river, the lake, the scenery, and "all the kind people who live here."
James is heading to Niagara County Community College in the fall where he will study math and science. He is considering a career in archeology and/or engineering. The Ruby Carey scholarship award will help him achieve his goal.
"It is a great honor to be chosen for this scholarship," James said in a letter to the library board. "To all those who contributed to this scholarship and now my life, I thank you, because it will help me in more ways than you will ever know.
"I sincerely believe that in receiving this scholarship, it will give me the mental optimism I need to begin and end college with high grades. I look at this sum of money that I received from you as the first step of my adult life. What a great first step it will be and what a good life it will be, thanks to you."
James was also chosen to receive an accompanying award from the Friends of the Youngstown Free Library.
The late Ruby Carey helped organize the Youngstown Free Library in 1949.
The scholarship in her name is designed to help deserving students purchase textbooks in their pursuit of higher education.
Scholarship applicants must be a Youngstown resident graduating from Lewiston-Porter during the current school year. They should also be a member-in-good-standing of the Youngstown Free Library. And the scholarship winner must be accepted and attend an accredited higher education institution within one year of receiving the award.
The Ruby Cary Scholarship application process includes submission of a 200-300-word essay.In his winning essay James describes libraries as: "Places where I can go if I seek peace and quiet, if I desire a safe adventure, if I need a fantasy to escape reality, and if I want to comprehend something in history."