PUTNAM — Mix roast pork and bowling balls — and you get a college degree.
That’s the plan, anyway, for Putnam High School Class of 2016 alumna and UConn freshman Elyse M. Bergeron, who is this year’s recipient of the $1,000 Cargill Council 64, Knights of Columbus, Dr. Robert Johnston Memorial Scholarship.
The council raised the money for the annual, competitive scholarship by holding a bowling tournament and a pork dinner.
In keeping with the council’s policy, Bergeron was actually selected last spring. The scholarship program’s rules call for the winning applicant to receive the money after they’ve successfully completed their first semester of college. That wasn’t a problem for Bergeron.
An excellent student, Bergeron is studying biological sciences at UConn, with plans to follow that up with a graduate degree from pharmacy school, on the way to becoming a pharmacist. She said she already has enough credits to earn her bachelor’s degree a year early, in just three years. The 18-year-old is grateful for being selected to receive the scholarship, saying it will be a big help to her education.
The scholarship program is named for the late Dr. Robert Johnston, a Putnam dentist and a Cargill Council Past Grand Knight, who died in 1966. One of his sons, Shawn T. Johnston,  said the scholarship was awarded intermittently since shortly after his father’s death and has been given out continuously since 1986. The program is open to any Putnam High School senior who plans to earn a college degree leading to a career in health care.
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