ROCKLAND — The Worthington Scholarship Foundation, with a mission to create a pathway to college for students throughout Maine, has hired Justin Chenette of Saco as its new program director.

Chenette spent nearly a decade in public office having served 8 years in the legislature, with two terms in the Maine House of Representatives and two terms in the Maine Senate. At the time, Chenette was the youngest lawmaker in the entire country at age 21. Prior to that, Chenette made history as the first high school student appointed to the Maine State Board of Education and in college, was a congressional intern.

“There is no greater gift than to give the gift of education,” says Chenette. ‘The Worthingtons’ are providing Maine’s next generation a lifeline to success through their charity and support. I’m honored to be part of a great team advancing the mission of getting more Maine students into higher education without affordability being a barrier.”

Chenette’s education includes a B.S. in Broadcast News from Northern Vermont University-Lyndon and an Executive Certificate in Public Leadership from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, after receiving a national fellowship. This month, Chenette earns a Post-Baccalaureate Degree in Public Administration from the University of Maine at Augusta.

“We are thankful to have someone with Justin’s background and passion for youth engagement helping to lead this effort,” said Rick Bedigian, the foundation’s executive director. “He will be a key asset as we seek to expand to more parts of the state.”

The Worthington Scholarship Foundation provides one of the largest scholarships in the state of Maine, totaling up to $16,500 per student over four years. This year, the foundation will award more than $3 million worth of scholarships to students going to college in Maine. Aside from funding, the scholarship includes ongoing support to their student scholars to ensure a high graduation rate.

Worthington Scholarships began in 2010 with awards to graduates of just Oceanside High School. Since then, the program has expanded to high schools in Knox, Waldo, Lincoln, Hancock, and Washington counties. Recipients may attend any campus of the University of Maine or Maine community college system, Maine Maritime Academy, Husson University, Thomas, Bates, Colby or Bowdoin colleges.

Future goals are to accept graduates in 6 additional counties of Oxford, Somerset, Piscataquis, Penobscot, Franklin, and Sagadahoc.

FMI about the scholarship program visit www.worthingtonscholars.org.