Leaping for the stars

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC – Heritage Academy Senior Britnee Kratochvil will receive the 2013 Jeff Katon Memorial Scholarship at her school awards night Tuesday evening.

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Britnee, who maintained a 4.94 overall GPA taking all honors or AP classes, will attend Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia next fall. She will major in Biology and Chemistry with a minor in Equine Science as she continues on her path toward a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine.

“My chosen educational and career path is a very demanding area of study, which I feel prepared to tackle,” she said.

In an essay to the selection committee, Britnee explained her lifelong passion for horses and demonstrated the ability to balance a demanding training schedule with rigorous school work.

During her interview, she showed the character trait of turning negatives into positives and distinguished herself as someone who was determined to succeed.

Britnee’s parents are Lynne and Mark Kratochvil of Island West, Bluffton. Lynne, a teacher at Heritage Academy, composed a letter to the foundation on behalf of her daughter.

“When we moved to Hilton Head I was concerned as a parent and educator because I know the impact a major move can have on a child,” Mrs. Kratochvil said. “However, Britnee took the move in stride and never missed a step academically, always making the Distinguished Honor Roll.”

Mrs. Kratochvil explained that her daughter has always worked hard to achieve excellent academics and in middle school she began her seriousness for her extra-curricular activity of being an avid equestrian.

“In high school her desire to compete became even stronger and she began her travels throughout the Southeast competing at many different levels,” Mrs. Kratochvil said.

Britnee has competed at the local and Progressive Show Jumping levels and has earned many accolades. She has also been honored with several sportsmanship awards throughout her equestrian career.

“As a parent I could not be more proud of the teenager and young adult that she has become,” her mother said.

Committee members were impressed with the lessons Britnee learned from her father Mark Kratochvil. He is owner of Dan’s Fan City in Plantation Park, Bluffton. The store was destroyed by arson as a diversion for a jewelry store robbery in November 2010.

“My Dad taught me to never lose sight of what’s really important in life and that’s being there for those you love,” she said.

The Jeff Katon Scholarship Foundation is a private tax-exempt foundation established in loving memory of Jeffrey Paul Katon, who died in August 2006.

This scholarship is available to any student living in Beaufort County, South Carolina, who has a GPA of 3.0/4.0, is planning to attend a four year accredited college and demonstrates financial need.

Since its inception in 2007, the Jeff Katon Scholarship Foundation has awarded nearly $20,000 to Beaufort County students to help them pay for college.

 The foundation’s mission is to give something back to the Hilton Head Island community that Jeff called home.

A committee of Jeff’s family and friends gather each spring to interview finalists and award scholarship funds to students who best exhibit Jeff’s qualities of generosity and friendship. Britnee headlined an impressive class of students representing high school students across Beaufort County.

In her essay to the committee, Britnee said “If I were to receive this scholarship, it would help me to receive the best education possible so that I could move onto one of the top veterinary schools in the country and then begin saving the lives of hundreds of horses in my career.”

“I believe that I would be emulating Mr. Katon, in the sense that I would be exhibiting his qualities of kindness and generosity, because just as Mr. Katon did, I would be doing anything for anyone and expecting nothing in return.”

The Jeff Katon Scholarship Foundation was established as a charitable fund in partnership with the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, a local nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. All contributions to the Jeff Katon Scholarship Fund at the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry are fully tax deductible as allowable by law.

To donate on-line, click on:http://www.cf-lowcountry.org/give/donate-online, once there select the Jeff Katon Scholarship Fund.

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