GEORGETOWN — This summer, the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of many community events, including the Georgetown Working League’s annual fair, but Sheila O’Grady, the league’s chairperson, is determined that the organization’s spirit of “returning every dime of our profit to the town, wherever the need is most urgent” not be lost.

This year, the working league, an organization of women dedicated to supporting the community, gave away nearly $20,000 in scholarships to Georgetown residents wishing to further their education. Since their first scholarship in 1983, the working league has given away more than $350,000.

The scholarships, ranging from $500 to $2,000, are awarded annually to Georgetown community members who want to pursue higher education. Recipients have used the money to attend college, technical school and a variety of other post-secondary institutions.

The two feature scholarships are funded directly by the working league. This year Mary Carol Jarmusz, a nurse working on the front lines for Georgetown during COVID, won the Georgetown Working League Scholarship to help her get additional certification. Emma Roth-Wells won the Josephine Hooker Shain Scholarship for her academic achievement in high school. She will use the money to pursue a four-year college degree.

The combined $4,000 for these two scholarships comes primarily from their annual fair in August.

Generally, the fair is a community event featuring art, jewelry and crafts for sale, along with a silent auction and luncheon

While the fair was canceled this year because of the pandemic, O’Grady encourages community members to donate directly to local support services instead.

Typically, scholarship winners are presented with their checks at an annual luncheon in June, a community event that brings together students, donors and working league members. Like the fair, this year the luncheon was postponed due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, but members hope to offer a combined 2020/2021 celebration next spring.

Sally Jarmuz, a graduate student earning her degree in ocean mapping from the University of New Hampshire, knows firsthand the value of the organization’s scholarships.

A five-time working league scholarship recipient, Jarmuz used the awards toward her undergraduate degree in marine science from Maine Maritime Academy.

“They really made a big difference in helping me pursue my education,” she said.

Beyond the financial support over the last five years, Jarmuz also credits the working league with fostering a sense of community.

Their support, she said, “reminds you that you have a place to come home to.”

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