Caroline Niederhausen of Strongsville is the recipient of the 2023 Gray Foundation Scholarship. Niederhausen, a 2022 graduate of Strongsville High School, has been actively involved in Girl Scouts for 11 years and is a lifetime member.
Niederhausen is currently attending the University of Cincinnati where she is double majoring in Music Performance on Trumpet and Music Education. She plans to teach high school band or perform in a pit orchestra and travel the world after graduation. As a young musician, she loved watching musicals and classical groups perform, so she took advantage of every music opportunity available to her in high school from marching band, pep band, and jazz band, to Cleveland Youth Wind Ensemble and Contemporary Youth Orchestra. She was also a mentor to younger musicians in her school district. After her experience with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra in her senior year of high school, Niederhausen, decided to pursue a music career. She feels that music can have a great impact on people and her career goal is to continue sharing her passion for music with as many people as possible.
With her love of music and desire to inspire others in their passions, she decided to use her Gold Award project to inspire children through books. Niederhausen wanted to address equity in education and literacy for children after noticing that children in an apartment complex in her city did not have easy access to their local library. She wanted to find a way to give them access to books without needing a library card and worrying about returning books on time. To address this, she decided to build a Free Little Library centrally located in the apartment complex. She worked with a local city councilman to collect books through book drives and generous donations by libraries and other students. After her involvement in the project concludes, Niederhausen explains that others in the apartment complex and younger Strongsville High School students will help to keep the library stocked with books.
The Gray Foundation Scholarship enables Girl Scouts of North East Ohio (GSNEO) to help outstanding girls reach further, achieve more, and use the experiences and skills they gain from the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to take the lead in making a difference in their communities.
To qualify, girls must meet a number of requirements including having earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting; be enrolled in a 4-year college; be committed to a minimum of 90 hours of community service during the scholarship award year; maintain a connection to Girl Scouts during the award period; and complete a monthly service report.