Gremel earns prestigious Morehead-Cain scholarship

Rockford High School senior Ashley Gremel has been awarded the prestigious Morehead-Cain Scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This full four-year scholarship is based on merit, moral force of character, commitment to lifelong learning, dedication to fitness and physical activity, and leadership.

Of the 1700-plus applicants from throughout the world, less than four percent received this invitation. Students outside of North Carolina must be nominated by an approved nominating institution. Rockford High School received its nominating credentials in 2007 after a vigorous selection process (less than ten schools in the State of Michigan qualify as a nominating school). Rockford High School Principal Dan Zang said, “We are so excited for Ashley; she is a phenomenal young lady! This is the most comprehensive scholarship I have seen in my 22 years in education.”

According to the Morehead-Cain Foundation, “The scholarship is truly an experience that will last a lifetime. Over the course of four undergraduate years, Morehead-Cain Scholars begin to forge relationships with a vibrant network of nearly 3,000 Morehead Alumni—some of the most influential and prominent people in a wide array of careers around the globe. Scholars also meet and work with Summer Enrichment Program sponsors in the U.S. and abroad, many of whom become mentors and potential employers.

In exchange, Scholars are expected to make a perpetual commitment to lifelong personal growth through hard work, discipline, humility, and compassion. Morehead-Cain Scholars accept rigorous challenges that may intimidate others. They embrace obstacles as opportunities to lead. They understand that with great gifts come even greater responsibilities.”

A few of Ashley’s accomplishments in Rockford include:

• Founder of Cast Off the Cold (a community service initiative which has donated over 2,000 hand-knit scarves, hats, and mittens to homeless missions throughout West Michigan and Lansing) and subsequently, “United We Knit,” in which 300 hand-knit items were donated to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans (

• Treasurer of RHS’s Youth Initiative Community Service Club, including fundraising efforts to secure more than $42,000 and recruit volunteers for a Habitat for Humanity project

• Coordinator of RHS’s MI blood drive

• Four-year letter in swimming, water polo, marching band, and academics

• Recipient of the 2010 Congressional Medal of Merit award

• Recipient of the Dartmouth Book Award

• Member of the 2008 state championship water polo team and captain of RHS swim team

• Two-time academic all-state water polo honoree

• Top five percent of her graduating class (out of 650 students) with a 4.2 GPA

• State finalist in Solo Ensemble (bassoon)

• YWCA Tribute Award nominee

Ashley is the daughter of Andrew and Meredith Gremel and has an older sister, Emily.

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