United announces 2021 scholarship recipients

E-T staff report

BURLESON — United Cooperative Services recently announced the names of 17 area member-students who shared $51,000 in the electric co-op’s scholarship awards this year. 

Velsen
Everett
Murphy
Nelson
Yankie

Among the honorees are Esmae Velsen and Kacie Everett from Stephenville High School; Matthew Murphy and Jordyn Nelson from Tarleton State University; and Samuel Yankie, a Stephenville home school student.

A panel of independent judges across United’s service territory determined winners based on various criteria and accomplishments. Each student chosen received a $3,000 scholarship award this year, according to a news release from United.

“United takes great pride in the communities we serve,” said CEO Cameron Smallwood in a news release. “One of the important ways that we give back to those communities is through the co-op’s scholarship program. Education is key to providing a better future for everyone, and we are proud to invest in the lives of our members by offering this sort of assistance to deserving students.”

The 2021 scholarship award program awarded $45,000 in scholarships to 15 students who are members or dependents of members of the cooperative, with scholarships valued at $3,000 each. Additionally, the board also approved including two 2021 Youth Tour recipients as scholarship contest winners after COVID-19 prevented them from attending the annual Washington, D.C., trip. One of these students will receive the scholarship funding following graduation from high school in 2022.

With this year’s scholarship awards, the cooperative will have invested more than $1.5 million in college tuition funding for nearly 1,000 deserving area member-students who were continuing their educations.

More than 20 years ago, United awarded its first scholarships to local high school students and returning college students. In 1997, new funds were made available by House Bill 3203, which allows nonprofit electric cooperatives like United to put unclaimed member dividend funds to use for student scholarships. This change in the law allowed United to recover a percentage of those assets previously lost to the state’s general revenue fund and reapply them toward certain, more regionally specific community needs throughout the cooperative’s service territory.

Additional winners include:

• Jasmine Muñoz, Dublin High School

• Courtney Hendricks, home school student (Lipan)

• Savannah Bagley, Tolar High School

• Jada Jean, Joshua High School

• Lauren Boleng, Texas Tech University

• Yoseline Garcia, Alvarado High School

• Olivia Moreno, Hill College

• Emma Reamy, Alvarado High School

• Isabella Delarosa, Mansfield Legacy High School

• Kristen Babiash, Texas A&M University

• Ava Magallan, Burleson Centennial High School

• William Duckett, Granbury High School