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ADA – The Pontotoc County Drug Free Coalition has awarded its first-ever scholarships to two area high school seniors – both with plans to attend East Central University in the fall.

The $1,000 scholarship – $500 for the fall semester, and $500 for spring – has been awarded to Ethan Elliott, Latta High School, and Kaylyn Rowsey, Allen High School.

“The scholarship is just another way that PCDFC is investing in our community,” said Vicki Orsburn, chair of the coalition. “I can’t think of a better way to reward students for educating the community about addiction issues.”

Normally, PCDFC officials would personally attend area high school assemblies and present the scholarship awards, but coronavirus has prevented that this year. Instead, coalition members, honoring social distancing guidelines, met virtually to honor Elliott and Rowsey.

Orsburn, who is also executive director of the Addiction and Behavioral Health Center, and Holli Witherington, PCDFC member and director of the Brandon Whitten Institute at ECU, presented Elliott and Rowsey with their scholarship award certificates, while members virtually posted signs of congratulations.

Other coalition members participating in the virtual award ceremony included Jason Potter, Amy Ross, Whitney Megehee, Sharon Croy, AshLee Griffin, and Brandon Smith.

Each year, PCDFC hosts an annual gala that raises funds to support various substance abuse prevention and recovery strategies within the community. The coalition’s executives voted to use a portion of those funds to initiate the scholarship program.

In order to apply for the scholarship, a student must complete a drug-free community project. The purpose is to incentivize youth to engage in peer-to-peer and/or community substance abuse education and advocacy.

For more information, contact the coalition via email at, by phone at 580-559-5990, or visit the website at

Photo cutline: Pictured on the top row, from left, are Capt. Jason Potter, Ada Police Department; AshLee Griffin, Drug Free Communities Grant; Amy Ross, Mental Health Awareness Training Grant; and Brandon Smith, Addiction and Behavioral Health. Pictured on the middle row, from left, are Vicki Orsburn, PCDFC chair and executive director of Addiction and Behavioral Health Center; Elliott; Rowsey; and Holli Witherington, director of Brandon Whitten Institute at ECU. On the bottom row, from left, are Whitney Megehee, Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Grant; and Sharon Croy, Citizens Bank of Ada.


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