Manchester native awarded academic scholarship

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Brandi Besheres, daughter of Arnold Services Club member Brad Besheres at Arnold Air Force Base, was one of 25 winners worldwide in the 2008 Air Force Club Membership Scholarship Program. The theme of the essay was "The most im¬portant person in my life."

Brandi is a junior in the nursing department of the college of Natural and Applied Sciences at Lipscomb University in Nashville. She balances her time between academic coursework and participating in varsity soccer at the university. She acknowledged that winning the base services scholarship caught her a little off guard, especially when she learned the contest was Air Force-wide.

Brad Besheres, an aviation machin¬ist with Aerospace Testing Alliance's (ATA) instrumentation and diagnostics branch for 15 years, said he was surprised when he heard that his daughter had won the $1,000 scholar¬ship. Besheres served four years in the Air Force as a C-130 crew chief, and another four years in the Air National Guard in Nashville.

"To be honest, I'd forgotten about the scholarship essay contest," he acknowl¬edged. "Brandi's mother and I are very proud of her - our daughter works hard and make good decisions. We learned about a week after Brandi turned the essay in that the subject of her essay, her former soc¬cer coach, Callum McDonald, had passed away. He meant a lot to Brandi and our family, so it makes the essay all the more special."

Brandi said she has considered ways to share her love of soccer and the lessons she learned from her former coach with others.

"I've thought about coaching younger kids - I like teaching them the basics," she said, explaining that she has gotten that opportunity by helping with a team of youngsters her father has coached for several years at Westwood Junior High School in Manchester.

Besheres said Callum taught his daugh¬ter and others about perseverance.

"From watching this whole thing from my perspective, with Callum and that team, including my daughter and what came out of it - what I saw from that was if you like doing something, whether its soccer, school or all of it, just stick with it," he said.

He explained that McDonald helped Brandi navigate the ups and downs of the game, helping her rise from a respectable recreational league player to a girl who eventually became an Adidas All American in the sport.

In Brandi's essay, she wrote, "...Without determination, I could not have made it to college, or received an athletic scholarship to continue my soccer career. Callum has been such a positive influence in my life because he shows what it takes to be an athlete, but also what it takes to be a person. The two things he taught are that knowl¬edge is gold and determination is key."

Brandi, who has earned a number of ath¬letic honors during high school, is attending college on a soccer scholarship.