Each academic school year Mitchell Swaback Charities, Inc. sponsors the Torch Award scholarship and honors two high students enrolled in Harvest Christian Academy in Elgin, Illinois. This is the fifteenth year that the Torch Award has been distributed. “This award represents being a light to your classmates and your local community, just like Mitch was before he passed away. When asked, Mitch was the first to volunteer and help a friend and/or stranger, while continuing to show the love of Jesus. The Torch Award allows MSC to find amazing young men and women who show the same characteristics,” explained MSC Co-Founder and Mitch’s dad, Bob Swaback.
This year applicants submitted lengthy applications and written essays, and also participated in interviews. MSC is proud to announce Rory Shepherd and Madison Ellett as the 2021-2022 Torch Award recipients!
“All of us at MSC are thrilled to congratulate Madison and Rory on this year’s honors. Both incoming high school upper classmen will represent this honor very well in the upcoming school year,” commented GG Swaback, MSC Co-Founder.
“Receiving the Torch Award is a symbol of wanting to strive to do my best, being a positive example to others. It gives me the motivation to keep trying to live Christ-like in all areas of my life. This honor reminds me to be thankful for my school, friends, teachers, and coaches especially, as I enter my junior year in the fall. It’s about making the most of every day that Jesus has allowed me to be here,” said Rory.
Rory, who is also Student Council President, is eager to start school in the fall as an upper classman. He is excited to be a part of building a stronger student community as he helps plan, coordinate and take part in school events and also participates in off-site volunteering activities. He’ll also spend many hours competing with his classmates as a member of HCA’s soccer, basketball and baseball teams. As Rory stays busy with many extracurricular sports and activities, he also is intentional about sharing his story with others. Rory, at such a young age, has a tremendous testimony which includes losing a close family member. Through his journey he found faith in God and is thankful he can share his story with others who also have experienced pain and sadness.
MSC leaders are grateful to have met Rory, hear his story and have a front row seat to witness how he will continue to impact others! Congratulations, Rory!
Madison Ellet told us:
“Receiving the Torch Award to me means receiving an incredible blessing to carry on a remarkable legacy. Mitchell Swaback Charities and Mitch himself are so inspiring to me and I am beyond honored to be the current “torch” bearer and exemplify the values of academics, service, Christian character, and athletics.”
Madison is thrilled to enter her senior year, continuing to lead by example in the classroom, on the basketball court as team captain and in her community. She will also participate in her school’s National Honor Society as president, help lead HCA’s softball team and will participate in her school’s theater department.
Madison added, “I strive to be a “torch” for the Lord among my family by serving and loving them and always being willing to lend a helping hand. You never know what someone may be going through so the simplest act of kindness and love can truly bless others. I am beyond thankful to carry on Mitch’s torch this next year and for the rest of my life. Thank you to MSC for your incredible generosity and to my amazing HCA family for fostering a community that promotes spiritual, academic, and athletic growth!”
Congratulations, Madison, on a well-deserved honor! MSC leaders are cheering you on as you lead next year.