Community Interest

New Melle Chamber of Commerce Scholarships Winners

By Dianne Sudbrock

The New Melle Chamber of Commerce awarded four $2000 scholarships to area students this year at their annual scholarship banquet May 18 at The Quarry Wine Garden.

The 2023 Scholarship recipients were Allison Counts, Rachel Deason, Caden Hayek, and Kendall Martin.


Kyle Shell (Scholarship committee member), Becky Robbins Main (chamber Co-President,)
Caden Hayek, Kendall Martin, Allison Counts, and Rachel Deason (scholarship recipients),
with Sarah Hayek and Carla Brakensiek, (chamber Co-President-Elects.)


  • Allison Counts graduated from Francis Howell High School this year and plans to attend Mississippi State University with the goal of becoming an equine veterinarian, with an emphasis on sports medicine and nutrition. Her passion for the field was born after her horse was injured and had to eventually give up his hunter/jumper career. It was a years-long journey where Allison became intrigued with the therapies and treatments used in his care. Her goal as an equine veterinarian will be to not only help the animals, but also help the people who love and care for them as they go through challenging situations together.



  • Rachel Deason is a Junior studying Civil Engineering at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, where she plans to specialize in infrastructure development and design. She took Advanced Placement classes in High School, and spent 2.5 years at St. Charles Community College before transferring to Missouri S&T in January. Her passion for construction and design started when she was a child, helping out with her parents’ construction business. She obtained her Real Estate license at the age of 19 where she has had a successful start with Blondin Professional Real Estate. She is passionate about using engineering and design principles that enhance safety and functionality, and minimize adverse impacts on the natural world.



  • Caden Hayek is a 2023 graduate of Francis Howell High School. He plans to major in Business (Finance) at the University of Missouri. He is a dedicated athlete, playing youth baseball (selected to go to Cooperstown), basketball and High School volleyball. Caden has been quite active in high school activities and plans to be active in campus life at Mizzou as well. He works part-time at Home Depot, where he has been voted Employee of the Month, and helps train new employees in his department. He plans to become more involved in local community events and would love to someday start his own business in New Melle.



  • Kendall Martin graduated from Francis Howell High School this year and has been accepted into the honors college at the University of Alabama. There she will follow the STEM path to an MBA program; allowing her to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and her MBA in a 5-year timeframe. In High School, she took Advanced Placement classes, earning almost a year’s college credits while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. She played club and high school volleyball, participated in FBLA and DECA, and worked part-time at a local car wash where she was a consistent top seller. She also helps with her mom’s dog breeding business, and looks forward to applying her demonstrated work ethics to reach her academic goals.


Chamber members in attendance for the Awards Presentation.