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EWIB scholarship recipients have big plans for future
jill conway
Karen Stephens and Marian Hodge of Effingham Women in Business present a $500 EWIB scholarship to Effingham County High School graduate Jill Conway. - photo by Photo by Paul Floeckher

David Lariscy enlisted in the Army National Guard while he was still in high school, and he plans to continue serving in the military while pursuing careers in engineering and education.

Jill Conway has earned national recognition as a gymnast, and she wants to run her own gymnastics center that will provide a positive environment for the athletes training there.

Conway and Lariscy are this year’s recipients of the Effingham Women in Business scholarships, given annually to local students who demonstrate leadership and entrepreneurship.

Lariscy, who graduated last month from South Effingham High School, will attend Georgia Southern University. He will be in the University Honors Program and the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at GSU.

Lariscy plans to major in engineering, specifically mechatronics, which combines electronics with mechanical engineering.

“My goal is to develop adaptive technologies to assist those with special challenges,” Lariscy said. “After retiring from the military and the private sector, I would like to return to high school as an educator.”

Conway, an Effingham County High School class of 2014 graduate, will attend Armstrong Atlantic State University. She intends to earn a health sciences degree with a focus in business management.

Following her college graduation, Conway wants to open a training facility where athletes “strive for excellence not only in the sport on gymnastics, but throughout their lives.”

“My ultimate goal is to give gymnasts a place to train with high-quality instructors who also impart life skills to inspire success on and off the mat,” she said. “This scholarship will not only help pay for part of my education, but will fuel the success of many others.”

Lariscy helped organize International Food Night, the SEHS National Honor Society chapter’s primary fundraiser for Relay For Life. He also was president of the Interact Club and a member of the praise band for the Fellowship of Christian Students.

The involvement that had the greatest impact on Lariscy, though, was in the Navy Junior ROTC. He led cadets as a platoon commander, as an older student had once done for him.

“I respected and appreciated my platoon commander,” Lariscy said. “I wanted to be that person to a group of incoming freshmen. I wanted to make a difference in their lives.”

Lariscy enlisted in the Georgia Army National Guard during his junior year. While fellow students were on vacation, he spent last summer in basic training at Fort Sill, Okla.

“Those 10 weeks had a tremendous effect on my personal leadership philosophy and how I handle the responsibilities of leadership,” he said.

Conway called herself “blessed” to have been involved in work-based learning in high school, which enabled her to receive school credit for her job coaching gymnastics and working in the office at the Islands Family YMCA of Coastal Georgia.

An accomplished gymnast herself, Conway was the top finisher for the Islands team that competed against 1,700 gymnasts from 22 states in the 2012 YMCA national championship in Milwaukee. She was one of only 25 in her division to qualify for the championship event, and finished 12th overall while being named to the all-America team.

“I am a part-time coach, but a full-time gymnast,” she said. “I train 16 hours a week and have been competing for 11 years.”

Along with her schoolwork, job and competitions, Conway volunteers at Liberty Christian Fellowship Church in Guyton. She helps clean the church and is one of its preschool ministry teachers.

“I love being a positive example and role model for the children of the next generation,” Conway said.