SACO – Suzanne Hanvey, a senior at Thornton Academy who is also enrolled in the Old Orchard Beach Alternative Education and Youth Program, has been awarded a $2,500 Mainely Character Scholarship sponsored by Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution. Hanvey was among 14 recipients selected from 375 applicants statewide and will use the funding to attend York County Community College in the fall, where she plans to study wildlife conservation.

The Mainely Character Scholarships are awarded annually to Maine high school seniors who demonstrate responsibility, integrity, courage and exemplary concern for others. Hanvey was selected because of her passion for animals and environmental issues, volunteer work and willingness to reach out to classmates in need.

“It was a pleasure and honor to be a part of the presentation for Suzanne,” said Lynne Belanger, Saco branch manager at SBSI. “Just in that brief period of time, I was able to understand why she was chosen for the scholarship. She’s an amazing young woman that will create wonderful moments for everyone fortunate enough to meet and walk alongside her.”

As a freshman, Hanvey struggled with depression while adjusting to a new school. After being homeschooled as a sophomore and searching for the right learning situation, she blossomed in the Old Orchard Beach Alternative Education and Youth Program. She completed three college-level courses this year and joined an emerging leaders program at Southern Maine Community College.

In school, Hanvey frequently lends a hand to others in need, sharing her own experiences with those who are struggling. She volunteered to tutor an autistic classmate who needed help with her writing and confronts classmates who belittle or bully others, especially girls. Outside of school, Hanvey’s volunteering includes walking dogs at the Animal Welfare Society and helping to rehabilitate ill, injured and orphaned wildlife at the Saco River Wildlife Center. She also supports Gen Z for the Trees, a nonprofit fighting the deforestation of rainforests while supporting indigenous communities in Ecuador and Peru.

For more information about the Mainely Character Scholarships and this year’s recipients visit