The Derby Scholarship Program

Since its establishment as a nonprofit organization, the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby, Inc. has awarded annual scholarships to Martha’s Vineyard graduating seniors. The total amount of money donated since 1988 is approximately $750,000. Qualified students are recommended by the school and selected by a Derby subcommittee. The Derby scholarship program has also enjoyed the support of the Ann E. Clark Foundation, the Tony and Renee Marlon Charitable Trust, the Dougherty Family Trust, The Windmill Foundation, and the Howes Family – in memory of Teddy Howes. In 2021 the Derby awarded $76,000 in scholarships to the nine deserving graduates featured on this page. One of the scholarships has been named in honor of long time Derby President and island educator Ed Jerome, whose vision led to the creation of the Derby Scholarship Program. Another is named in honor of island artist Ray Ellis, whose contributions to the Derby made the scholarship program flourish. The Derby Committee wishes these graduates success in their educational endeavors.


Jacob GurneyJacob Gurney

Jacob is the 2021 recipient of the Edward J. Jerome Memorial Scholarship. Raised in a Vineyard commercial fishing family, Jacob is fulfilling his connection with the marine environment through his academic focus on marine biology, conservation and sustainable fishing practices. While at MVRHS, Jacob was in the top 20% of his class, a National Honor Society member and a recipient of numerous academic honor awards. He also was a member of the varsity indoor track team, a certified scuba diver and a volunteer citizen scientist for Felix Neck’s Mass. Audubon osprey monitoring program, in addition to being an active commercial fisherman.

Jacob will attend the University of Rhode Island, concentrating in Marine Biology.

Caleb BurtCaleb Burt

Caleb graduated in the top 40% of his class at MVRHS, distinguishing himself both academically and in his athletic participation. A member of the National Honor Society, he was also a four-year member of the varsity sailing team, serving as the elected co-captain for the 2020-21 seasons. His passion for sailing included working for two years as an instructor for Sail Martha’s Vineyard, passing along his knowledge to younger students. He also found time to volunteer in numerous community service activities for four years.

Caleb will attend the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, pursuing his interest in Marine Transportation as a licensed ship’s deck officer.

Michael NoelMichael Noel

Michael is the recipient of the Teddy Howes Memorial Scholarship. At MVRHS, Michael enrolled in Honors and Advanced Placement courses whenever possible, excelling in science and engineering. He also broadened his skills through the Career and Technical Education program. Through an impressive independent study, he combined this knowledge, designing and creating an innovative wind turbine. Michael is a dedicated member of the Boy Scouts of America, leading his troop for the past seven years and working toward the prestigious Eagle Scout award.

Michael will attend the Wentworth Institute of Technology, planning to major in Environmental Engineering with a focus on utilizing eco-friendly renewable energy sources.

Emily WeylEmily Weyl

Emily is the recipient of the 2021 Ray Ellis Memorial Scholarship for students pursuing education in the fine or performing arts. During high school, she immersed herself in music and performance coursework and is an accomplished instrumentalist, proficient in piano, guitar and cello. Emily has shared her love of music, giving volunteer recitals at the Island Center for Living and giving piano lessons to younger students. She was consistently on the Honor Roll and received a gold key and national silver medal in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

Emily will attend the Berklee College of Music with a goal of becoming a musical therapist.

Brooks CarrollBrooks Carroll

At MVRHS, Brooks excelled in his earth science, biology and automotive technology coursework. He aspires to combine this interest in marine science and engine mechanics in his future studies. Growing up on the Menemsha waterfront, he has worked at the Texaco station, as a commercial fishing deckhand and as a mooring maintenance assistant. He is impressively the youngest Massachusetts resident to hold a commercial lobster license, captaining the F/V Kathie C, a 32-foot lobster boat. In addition, he is certified as an Emergency Medical Responder working with the Chilmark fire department since 2019.

Brooks will attend the University of New Hampshire with a major in estuarine and freshwater ecology.

Zachary WardZachary Ward

Zachary placed in the top 30% of his class at MVRHS, and was awarded membership in the National Honor Society. He combined high academic achievement in science courses with a passion for the Maritime Science curriculum, for which he served as a teaching assistant. A proficient sailor, Zachary was an instructor and junior board member of Sail Martha’s Vineyard, as well as serving as co-captain for the MVRHS sailing team. He also was a member of the Sailmobility MV team, helping to run an adaptive sailing program for clients with disabilities.

Zachary will attend the University of Miami, combining his interest in marine biology and entrepreneurship.

Kasey VarkondaKasey Varkonda

Kasey graduated in the top 40% of her MVRHS class, as a well-rounded student with higher level science courses being a key area of achievement. She was awarded membership in the National Honor Society as a reflection of her academic capabilities. Her passion for reading was a constant during her high school years; she worked as a children’s room assistant at the Edgartown Library and as a clerk at Edgartown Books for two years. She was a member of the school soccer team for four years, earning a varsity letter in both her junior and senior seasons. Kasey’s community service includes volunteering for the Second Chance Animal Shelter and Biodiversity Works.

Kasey will attend Salve Regina University, majoring in environmental studies.

Owen SteenkampOwen Steenkamp

Owen is the recipient of the 2021 Greg Dougherty Memorial Scholarship. A member of the National Honor Society, he impressively finished in the top 20% of his MVRHS class, serving as a teaching assistant for Advanced Placement biology as a senior. His interest in science research culminated in his study on designing a self-sustaining solar powered hydroponic system, which received two prestigious special awards. He was a four-year member of the cross-country team and a community leader in Peer Outreach and the SWEAR initiative.

Owen will attend the University of Vermont, with a concentration in plant biology and sustainability.

Nathaniel SawyerNathaniel Sawyer

At MVRHS, Nathaniel earned the respect of his peers, teachers and advisors through the strength of his character. He achieved academic success in many areas of study, with high achievement in chemistry, history and automotive technology courses. He is dedicated to making the planet a better place ecologically and environmentally, with a special interest in working in wildlife and forest preservation. Nate was a three-year member of both the MVRHS football and baseball teams and he was an enthusiastic volunteer in the 26.2-mile March for Heroes walk to raise funds and awareness for veteran’s issues.

Nathaniel will attend St. Michael’s College, majoring in environmental studies.