WINCHESTER — The Winchester Star began recognizing student leaders at area high schools more than 60 years ago.

This is the 64th time The Winchester Star will present the Star Leadership Award to graduates of Clarke County, Handley, and James Wood high schools, the 24th time at Sherando High School, and the 14th time at Millbrook High School.

Former U.S. Sen. Harry F. Byrd Jr. established the Star Leadership Awards in 1954, while he was editor and publisher of The Winchester Star. He died July 30, 2013.

A scholarship winner is one “who best exemplifies a combination of excellence of character, qualities of leadership, and devotion to duty.”

General Manager Thomas W. Byrd selects the committee members, each of whom lives or works within the newspaper’s coverage area of Winchester, Frederick County, and Clarke County.

Serving on this year’s selection committee are chairman Kevin Callanan, along with Joe Crane, Nikki Klebieko, Josh Phelps, Steve Williams, Janie Shirley and Terri Catlett.

The Winchester Star has no voice in selecting the scholarship winners.

The process starts at each of the five high schools, where the principals provide four students for consideration.

After interviewing all 20 of the applicants, the committee chooses one from each school to be the winner.

Each winner receives a $10,000 cash prize. The recipients can use the money to further their education or pursue a career.

Including this year, the Star Leadership Award program has presented 262 area students with more than $922,000.

The Star Leadership Awards will be presented at graduation for Handley (10 a.m. May 27), Sherando (7 a.m. May 31), James Wood (7 p.m. June 2), and Millbrook (9 a.m. June 3). Clarke County High School’s award will be presented at its Senior Recognition ceremony at 6 p.m. May 21.

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