MT Standard: 28 students receive $1,000 each for fulfilling Mariah’s Challenge

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Twenty-eight area students each received a $1,000 scholarship Tuesday night for accepting and fulfilling the Mariah’s Challenge promise — that they would not be involved with alcohol.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock was featured speaker at the ceremony at Montana Tech, said Jon Wick, Mariah’s Challenge spokesman.

The annual ceremony serves as the crowning achievement for students who pledged to avoid drinking alcohol and getting in a car with someone under the influence throughout their middle school and high school careers.

Mariah’s Challenge was formed after Mariah Daye McCarthy died after an underage drunk driver hit her on Oct. 28, 2007, near her home in Butte.

Friends Valarie Kilmer and Kaitlyn Okrusch, walking with Mariah that evening, were hit and injured by the driver. At Mariah’s funeral, Mariah’s father, Leo McCarthy issued a challenge to the Butte community to change the culture that accepts underage drinking and turns a blind eye to drinking and driving, as stated on the foundation website:

The following 2016 scholarship winners are all Butte students, except for Ashley Benner of Whitehall, Anniston Driear of Jefferson High School in Boulder and Shelby Shourds of Frenchtown:

Cody Baszler, Ashley Benner, Jacob Bentley, Nolan Boyle, Abigail Burke, Josh Colvin, Joshua Cox, Quinn Cunneen, Anniston Driear, Megan Dupuis, Robert Dwyer, Tracie Farabee, Kaleb Ferriter, Kevin Foley, Sean Foley, Kyle Harrington, Kyle Komm, Conor Larson, Braden Loyola, Bailey Luoma, Katlyn Norton, Hannah Renouard, Joseph Riordan, Shelby Shourds, Lindsey Skeel, Shalia Tadday, Kali Taylor, Taylor Vercella.

Mariah’s Challenge co-founders Jimm Kilmer and McCarthy also spoke, showed a video describing the organization’s story and handed out certificates.