Madison Spires may have been born on a lucky day, but it was her dad's birthday that proved to be lucky for her.
Santa Claus drew Madison's name as a semifinalist in the Make Kids Count college scholarship contest at the Augusta Mall on Saturday.
"This is my and my wife's anniversary weekend," said Madison's father, Mike Spires, who celebrated his birthday by knowing that Madison will have at least $5,000 to use for college. "We had made plans, but we stayed" in town to attend the drawing.
Although Madison won't be 5 until St. Patrick's Day, Mr. Spires said he already has plans on where he'd like her to attend college.
"I have three little girls, and I know I want them to go to (the University of South) Carolina," said Mr. Spires, who displayed his love of the Gamecocks with a shirt bearing the university's logo.
The other semifinalist for the $10,000 college scholarship is Bernisha Dumas.
Quarterfinalists Victoria Ditty and Chelsy Fuller each received a $1,000 savings bond.
During the summer, The Augusta Chronicle kicked off the first of its scholarships by accepting entries in the newborn-to-3-year-old category.
The first contest had only 250 entries, but more than 1,000 people entered the second contest, said Denise Parrish, the newspaper's marketing manager.
After word spread about the drawings, people got excited about the possibility of winning scholarships for their children, she said. Not only did parents become interested in the contest, but area businesses also wanted to join with The Chronicle, the contest's initial sponsor, she said. Other businesses sponsoring the scholarships are Georgia Bank & Trust, SCANA Energy, Dillard's, Taylor Auto Group, the Augusta Lynx and Platt's Funeral Home.
Entries are being accepted for children in the 9-to-12-year-old category. Entry forms will be printed in The Chronicle. A legal birth certificate and photograph must be included with entries.
After the 9-to-12-year-old drawings, a contest will be held for 13-to-18-year-olds.
The grand prize drawing in the 4-to-8-year-old category will take place at the start of the Dec. 28 Augusta Lynx game.
Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at (803) 441-6927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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