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Gainesville senior gets first Whalen scholarship
Award named for founder of Featherbone Communiversity
Gainesville High senior Hannah Martin is named the first winner of the Gus Whalen Scholarship Tuesday morning at the graduation of Featherbone Communiversity Academy. Martin's parent Blake and Becky, right, slipped into the back of the Whalen Auditorium, unknown to Hannah, to witness the event.

Gainesville High senior Hannah Martin was named the first winner of the Gus Whalen Scholarship, announced Tuesday at the graduation of Featherbone Communiversity Academy.

The $2,500 scholarship is named for Whalen, a Gainesville business leader and the founder of the communiversity. He died in June at the age of 70.

The academy is for high school students from East Hall High School, Gainesville High School and Lakeview Academy. It is a year-long program that exposes students to a variety of business and community leaders.

Martin said she packed her schedule until this year.

“I’m really enjoying my senior year,” she said.

Martin is a varsity cheerleader and took up tennis as a junior. She worked on the yearbook for two years, is in the National Honor Society and Beta Club and participated in Youth Leadership Hall.

She said she took eight Advanced Placement courses in her first three years of high school, and she worked at Chick-fil-A during her sophomore and junior years.

Martin plans to attend the University of Georgia in the fall and major in finance.

“I’m super excited about that,” she said.

She explained she was accepted to Auburn University, UGA and Georgia Tech, in that order. She wanted to stay in-state, and she took about two months to decide between UGA and Georgia Tech. UGA’s Terry College of Business tipped the scales, she said.

She also has an internship at the Norton Agency through the high school’s Work-Based Learning program. She said she has done some marketing work, preparing brochures, and general office work at the real estate company.

The plan for after college “is not quite as clear,” she admitted, but said she always has been interested in business. She said she had a “school supply” business for her classmates when she was in fifth grade.

The announcement of the scholarship winner was a surprise, and Martin’s parents, Becky and Blake Martin, were in the back of the auditorium — unknown to her.

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