Chamber presents scholarship to Belmonte

Published 6:32 pm Friday, August 5, 2022

The Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce continued its commitment to supporting educational attainment in the community by presenting the 2022 Donna C. McCullough Chamber Scholarship to Emma Belmonte, a 2022 graduate of Southampton Academy.

A chamber news release said this annual scholarship award for a graduating high school senior, which has been presented since 1995, honors Donna C. McCullough, who served as executive director of the chamber from 1976-2004. The scholarship provides recognition for involvement and service to the community, demonstrated leadership and academic achievement. 

In addition to earning her high school diploma, Belmonte participated in dual enrollment at Camp Community College, receiving her general education certificate in May. 

During her high school years, Belmonte participated in a wide variety of extracurricular activities. She was active in student government; the homecoming court; The Pulsera Project, supporting Central American artisans and communities; prom decorating committee; student engagement team; and she was a Southampton Academy admission ambassador.

Her leadership roles include Beta Club vice president, 11th-grade class vice president and founding member and president of the Spanish Honors Society.  

While balancing a part-time job, athletics and volunteering, Belmonte also succeeded academically, graduating with a 4.04 GPA. 

Playing varsity basketball, soccer and volleyball throughout her high school career, Belmonte excelled in sports and was selected to the Virginia Colonial Conference All-Tournament teams for several years. In addition to SA varsity volleyball, she played for the Blackwater Volleyball Club from ages 9-15 and for the Richmond Volleyball Club at age 16. She also was a volunteer coach for YMCA youth soccer. 

Serving the community and helping others is something that Belmonte enjoys, officials stated in the release, adding that she believes community service not only helps those in need but also has a great impact on those who are volunteering. She has participated in many projects through the YMCA Leaders Club, Hoops for Heart, Relay for Life, Franklin Cooperative Ministry Food Drives and the SA summer volunteer work crew. 

Focusing on food insecurity led her to create “Rise Against Hunger.” For her senior project, Belmonte raised more than $3,000 by sponsorship requests, hosting a doughnut sale, leading a volleyball tournament and partnering with the PTO to create a “Raiders Rise Up” T-shirt that was sold through the school’s spirit shop. She then invited her senior class to help package more than 10,000 meals that were distributed to those in need.

Well-respected by her teachers and advisers, Belmonte is described as hardworking and self-motivated, setting goals and working hard to achieve them. She is a quiet leader who has the potential to make a significant impact in her community. She strives to make a positive difference in the lives of all those she encounters.

Belmonte is the daughter of Rachael and Joe Belmonte, of Courtland, and will attend the University of Tennessee this fall.