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DEER LODGE — A young man from the Deer Lodge area is one of 500 students nationwide to receive a college scholarship worth $4,000 per year for four years.

The scholarship to Samuel Forbes, of Avon, a freshman at Montana State University-Bozeman, comes from the national Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

Forbes received a $500 scholarship from Deer Lodge Elks Lodge 1737, which then submitted his application to the state organization. There, he received a $500 scholarship and his application advanced to the national level.

Forbes, the son of Doug and Aleta Forbes, studies computer science at MSU, taking 12-18 credits per semester, and says he especially enjoys programming.

He was valedictorian of the 2016 Powell County High School graduating class, a member of the National Honor Society and as a member of Montana Youth Service he completed more than 100 hours of volunteer work during 2015-2016.

Forbes was one of six students graduating from eighth grade at the Avon School in 2012; there were 14 students in school that year. Avon is a small ranching community north of Deer Lodge.

His father, Doug, credited good teachers over the years for helping Samuel be a successful student especially Tressa Graveley, his third- through sixth-grade teacher; and Jody Walker, his seventh- and eighth-grade teacher.

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His mother, Aleta, teaches K-2 in Avon.

“The advantage of a small school is the one-on-one ratio of student to teacher,” she said. “A teacher can adjust according to the student’s needs, whether they are struggling or need more challenges, so a student can’t slip through the cracks.

"In multi-grades younger students have an advantage because they hear lessons taught to upper classes, so they are somewhat familiar with the material when they reach that grade, and older students can help the younger ones.”

Samuel is grateful for the support he receives, including that from his family, he said.

“I’m very appreciative of the Elks, the Avon and Deer Lodge communities and my high school teachers, especially math teacher Miss Susan Bleken and Mr. Bob Scully who teaches accounting, business law and office procedures, practical things that I can use.”

Bob Stone, Elks Lodge member, said: “It is so rewarding for small townville to have a national winner. The Deer Lodge Elks have 140 members and we are extremely proud to be involved with putting out a scholarship to a national champion.”

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