NICEVILLE — The Taylor Haugen Foundation board of directors on May 14 welcomed the 2019 recipients of its $1,500 scholarships.

The scholarship selection committee chose the winners from a pool of highly qualified Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Bay and Walton county seniors. Each applicant was evaluated based on academics, athletics, leadership, community service and Christian faith.

This is the first year the organization awarded a scholarship in Bay County. It is endowed by the St Joe Community Foundation. Two students from Niceville High and one from Baker School won the Okaloosa scholarships, one of which is endowed by the Parisot family. The foundation also awarded a scholarship for a Walton student from Seacoast Collegiate High School.

Samantha Accola of Santa Rosa Beach was the Walton winner. Her parents are Jim and Suzy Accola. At Seacoast, she was involved in volleyball, lacrosse, the National Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes while being active in her church and maintaining high academic performance. She plans to attend Belmont University and major in songwriting and global leadership.

Olivia Hurley of Baker was the Parisot scholarship winner from Okaloosa County. Her parents are Victoria and Drew Hurley. At Baker School, she was involved in volleyball track, basketball, weightlifting, the National Honor Society, student government and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, while being a dual enrollment student maintaining a perfect grade point average. She plans to attend University of North Florida and major in its pre-medical program. 

Riley Kirby of Milton was the Santa Rosa County scholarship winner. Her parents are Christal McNeal and Benjamin Kirby. At Milton High School she played on the volleyball, soccer and lacrosse teams, and was also involved in student government, the National Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She plans to attend University of Alabama in Huntsville and major in aerospace engineering while playing for the lacrosse team.

Madalyn Kish, also of Santa Rosa Beach, was an Okaloosa County scholarship winner. Her parents are Alex and Diana Kish. At Niceville High School she was on the track team while being active in Young Republicans, the National Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes while being involved in her church and maintaining excellent academics. She is planning to attend Mississippi State University and major in civil engineering.

Thomas Risalvato of Panama City Beach was the first Bay scholarship winner endowed by St. Joe Community Foundation. His parents are Sarah and Thomas Risalvato. At Arnold High School he played football and baseball while being involved in the National Honor Society, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and his church youth group. He plans to attend Florida Polytechnic University and major in engineering.

Wesley Shackelford of Destin was also an Okaloosa County scholarship winner. His parents are Fletcher and Gayle Shackelford. At Niceville High School he played tennis and was involved in the Science National Honor Society, Fellow of Christian Athletes and the National Honor Society. He plans to attend University of Georgia and major in finance and management information systems.

The Taylor Haugen Foundation was created in memory of the 15-year-old Niceville High School student who passed away after a traumatic abdominal injury suffered during a football game on Aug. 30, 2008. It builds and recognizes youth leaders and promotes abdominal sports safety. It also provides awareness, education and abdominal injury protection to secondary schools and leagues in contact sports, through its YESS Program (Youth Equipment for Sports Safety). The foundation also recognizes and supports outstanding scholar-athletes with scholarships and awards.