Hopkins County Central’s Hailey Stokes was focused helping customers in the drive-thru at Hometown Pharmacy in Madisonville last Thursday and didn’t notice when her parents, grandmother and employees of Madisonville’s branch of Independence Bank entered the business.

The group had successfully pulled off a well-orchestrated surprise by delivering a $10,000 Maurice Reisz Memorial Scholarship to the senior.

Stokes said she knew that she had been awarded a scholarship, but just didn’t know how much was coming her way.

“I’m feeling great,” she said, after finding out how much her scholarship was worth. “It is a great surprise. I didn’t know which scholarship I had won. It was a lot bigger than I thought it would be. They told me I was a finalist, but the amount and which scholarship I had received was unknown.”

The $10,000 is one of the larger scholarships presented annually to students throughout Kentucky by the bank.

“It is really going to help me out,” she said. “I will have a lot of college to go to. I want to go to the University of Kentucky. I am in the human health science majors with a specialty in pre-pharmacy so I can get my undergraduate done.”

Stokes said she hasn’t started any college classes while in high school and is focusing on finishing high school, taking a break in the summer and starting college in the fall.

“I’m so proud of her,” her grandmother Cheryl Slaton said. “I found out yesterday. I wasn’t told how much, but I guessed it would have been a lot since they were bringing the media in.”

The Maurice Reisz Memorial Scholarship is awarded to one student each year — according to a ceremony presentation posted on the bank’s Facebook page — and is given annually to someone pursuing a degree in the pharmacy field.

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