According to all who knew her, Avery Drew Swenson was intelligent, thoughtful, and showed leadership capabilities beyond her years. At Greensville Elementary School, she participated in Girl Scouts, the student council, and the Art Enrichment Program. Most importantly, she was a kind-hearted, selfless spirit who touched so many in her few years of life.
Sadly, in January 2013, Avery Drew lost her life at the age of 8 after a snow sledding accident. Had things turned out differently, she would have graduated from high school this summer. Later in 2013, in honor of their lost daughter, sister, and friend, the Swenson family established the Avery Drew Swenson Memorial Scholarship, which provides $1,000 worth of financial assistance to any Greensville County High School senior who “demonstrates not only high standards of academic achievement, but also exemplifies selflessness and the ability to put others’ happiness before their own.”
Initially, the scholarship was not intended to get off the ground until this year -- the year of what would have been her high school graduation class. However, thanks to the overwhelming support and generosity of the community, the family could begin awarding scholarships immediately.
This year, Greensville County’s recipients of the Avery Drew Scholarship were Brianna Bowen, Zackary Dickens, Jordyn Epps, Henry Moore, and Harlee Pluta. Dickens and Pluta were the valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, of GCHS Class of 2022.
Avery Drew’s sister, Addison Swenson, presented the scholarships to the Greensville County recipients on May 26.
“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate each of you. Graduating high school is a major accomplishment and you should be very proud of yourselves,” said Addison. “My wish is that each of you will continue to use your talents, interests, and knowledge to make a positive difference in this world!”
In honor of what would have been Avery Drew’s high school graduation year, the Swensons decided to extend eligibility to schools outside of Greensville County. This year, scholarships also went to seven seniors from Southampton High School, two from Southampton Academy, and four from Brunswick Academy.
Last but not least, Anne Charlotte Robinson of Fluvanna County High School also received a scholarship. According to Avery’s mother, Kim Swenson-Bell, Robinson was a “very special friend” of Avery Drew.
The 19 scholarships in total that the Swensons have awarded this year is more than the number of scholarships — 12 — that they had awarded over the previous nine years combined.