Photo: Corynne Emmerson Facebook

An essay on Alzheimer’s awareness has landed a Salem teenager a third-place award from 3,000 entries submitted nationwide. It also earns her a college scholarship as she prepares for a career in gerontology. Corynne Emmerson has spent considerable time with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related patients at an area senior living center. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones.


NEWS RELEASE: The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) named Corynne Emmerson, of Salem, Virginia, the third place winner of its national 2019 Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness Scholarship Essay Contest.  Corynne, who earned a $1,500 college scholarship for her essay about her volunteer work at an assisted living facility, was chosen from nearly 3,000 entries across the country.

“Corynne’s moving essay about her experiences as a volunteer at an assisted living facility, and forming relationships with the residents, will help raise Alzheimer’s awareness and provide and provide strength and support to millions of families who are dealing with the same challenges,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s president and CEO.  “We congratulate Corynne on being a winner in this competition, thank her for sharing her story, and appreciate her efforts in making a difference for individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease.”

Corynne’s essay focused on her volunteer work at an assisted living facility.  She found that working with individuals living with dementia-related illnesses gave her an added purpose in life. “There is so much love coming from these people and sitting and talking to them always puts me in a good mood,” she wrote.  The experiences and relationships she developed proved so meaningful to her, Corynne worked with her high school’s Pathway Project to connect other students and residents together as “pen pals.”

Volunteering has inspired Corynne to work in the geriatrics field, and she will be pursuing her college degree at Virginia Tech in the fall.

AFA’s annual Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness Scholarship Essay Contest asks teens to describe how Alzheimer’s disease impacted their life, what they’ve learned in the face of coping with Alzheimer’s disease and how they plan to help others who are affected by the disease. This year, AFA awarded $34,500 in college scholarships to 36 students from across the country.  AFA has awarded more than $250,000 in college scholarships since the essay competition began in 2008.