Scholarship recipients honored at EnergySolutions program

Sunday, May 24, 2009 11:03 AM
Last updated Friday, Jan. 15, 2010 1:37 AM
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AIKEN -- They are two years from their graduation, yet professional people are already asking one group of high school students where they will be in the future.

The EnergySolutions Foundation, the college scholarship organization, awarded 22 high school 10th graders from Georgia and South Carolina each with $2,000 college scholarships.

The awards banquet was held Thursday at Newberry Hall in Aiken. The scholarship students were from high schools in the central Savannah River area.

The following students were awarded scholarships:

Academy of Richmond County, Alexis Diamond; Johnson Health, Science and Engineering Magnet High School, Joshua Wall; Butler High School, ReJahn Foard; Cross Creek High School, Jasmine Jackson; Evans High School, Matthew Daniel; Greenbrier High School, Daniel Horuzsko; Harlem High School, Andrew Lynn; Hephzibah High School, Tyler Schumann; Davidson Fine Arts Magnet High School, Taylor Mitchell; Lakeside High School, Sterling Tran; T.W. Josey High School, Meagan Dent; Westside High School, Joshua Spell; Aiken High School, Casey Izard; Barnwell High School, Valerie Moody; Blackville-Hilda High School, Allanté Harrison; Midland Valley High School, Taylor Turnbull; North Augusta High School, Marina Clements; Ridge Spring-Monetta High School, Katie Miller; Silver Bluff High School, Will Moorhead; South Aiken High School, Lauren Pearson; Wagener-Salley High School, Davontay Pontoo; Williston-Elko High School, Christopher Harvey.

“This is probably the neatest thing and the proudest thing that we do,” said Mike Johnson, the president of the commercial facilities group for EnergySolutions.

The students can attend any college of their choice, as long as they pursue a degree in one of the following fields: biochemistry, biology, chemistry, ecology, engineering, environmental sciences, geology, geophysics, mathematics, meteorology or physics.

The scholarship foundation was set up by EnergySolutions, the nuclear energy services company headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. EnergySolutions runs the low-level nuclear disposal facility in Barnwell County.

The foundation’s purpose through the scholarship program is to raise up the next generation of scientists and engineers. The program is offered in the nine states that EnergySolutions has facilities.

“A few years ago, EnergySolutions notices a steep decline in the hard studies. We wanted to do something to stop that,” said Pearl Wright, the executive director for the EnergySolutions Foundation.

“This is the third year that we have done this — We look forward to seeing you as you continue your studies in college,” said Tim Dangerfield, with EnergySolutions in South Carolina.

Dangerfield said 22 of the 24 high schools in the CSRA participated this year. Last year the foundation awarded 24 scholarships to as many students.

Dangerfield said he did not know why two of the region’s high schools didn’t participate this year.

The poor economic conditions recently have not endangered the funding of the scholarships because the foundation draws off the interest from the original $3 million deposited some years ago to create the scholarship fund. It will be years before the company will need to replenish the fund, Wright said.

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be in the 10th grade; maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and be involved in complimentary extracurricular activities like athletics or academic teams like math clubs or science fairs. The students also must plan to enter a bachelor degree program at an accredited university or junior college studying one of the approved majors.

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