Teen, who lost parents, honored for her efforts

May 3, 2011 3:01:45 PM PDT
A local teenager lost both of her parents but continues to strive in the classroom and on the softball field.

On Tuesday, the high school senior was rewarded for her many talents.

Katie McCollum plays softball for the Agnes Irwin School and thought she and her teammates were getting ready to promote a home run derby on Saturday to raise money for breast cancer research.

What she didn't know is that she would be the recipient of a big surprise - the $10,000 Kelly Rooney Memorial Scholarship.

It's named for the 43-year-old Wayne woman who died in 2006, leaving behind five children under 15 years old. Three of her children joined their dad, Sean, in presenting the scholarship.

"Kelly loved kids, loved them being around," Sean Rooney said. "Katie filled an application out and her story is a sad story, but she's such a strong person. Kelly would have loved her."

Katie McCollum's mother died of adrenal failure when Katie was eight years old. Then, two years ago, her father died of a heart infection. She is emancipated and living on her own.

"I think it's great that they want to do something and continue on the legacy of their mom. Everyone should do that and be appreciative of the mom they have," she said.

The fundraising arm of the Kelly Rooney Foundation is called "Save 2nd Base," which Kelly, her sister and best friend started before her death.

For her part, Katie plans to attend West Chester University and major in accounting. She also wants to give back to her community.

"Definitely. I've thought a lot of times of how to make a difference and how to raise awareness. Hopefully I can help out with this," she said.


ONLINE: Save 2nd Base