MONROE, Ga. – Paying for college will be a little easier for several recent high school graduates who live along Walton EMC’s power lines. They are sharing $160,000 in scholarships awarded by the Walton Electric Trust.
Out of nearly 150 applicants, 32 students are receiving $4,000 each to help fund post-secondary education at a college or vocational-technical school. Another 28 are the recipients of runner-up scholarships of $1,000 each. The 2022 winners represent schools from across the co-op’s 10-county service area.
Applicants were evaluated on work ethic, triumph over obstacles, community service and extracurricular activities. The scholarship committee also reviewed recommendations from teachers and other adults involved in the students’ lives.
The Trust has awarded more than 500 scholarships worth over $1.9 million since the program began in 2009. The scholarships are funded by unclaimed refunds to former Walton EMC customer-owners. After all efforts are exhausted to find the rightful owners, the money goes into an endowment provided for by Georgia law.
- Grace Fort, Bethlehem Christian Academy
- Bailee Nolan, Bethlehem Christian Academy
- Maximillian Whitford, Cedar Shoals High
- Daijah Brazil, South Gwinnett High
- Danna Cervera, South Gwinnett High
- J’adore Donely, Shiloh High
- Sydney Greer, Parkview High
- Darcy Johnson, Brookwood High
- Elysia Johnson, Brookwood High
- Mikayla Klerk, Parkview High
- Tatum Landers, Brookwood High
- Naomi Lippitt, South Gwinnett High
- Evan Sims, Brookwood High
- Anna Yearick, Homeschool
- Rachel Wood, Morgan County High
- Hanna Carter, North Oconee High
- Landon Hagwood, Oconee County High
- Ashton Hefner, North Oconee High
- Kathryn McNeely, North Oconee High
- Kinsey Patrick, North Oconee High
- Aaron Richardson, North Oconee High
- Rylee Royster, Oconee County High
- Will Bowick, George Walton Academy
- Giavana Curcio, Loganville High
- Bella DeLullo, Walnut Grove High
- Mary Lisle, Monroe Area High
- Aaron Meredith, Walnut Grove High
- Emma Peters, Walnut Grove High
- Marren Powelson, Scholars Guild Academy
- Brynna Tripp, Walnut Grove High
- Tara Wallace, Walnut Grove High
- Melanie Wyatt, Walnut Grove High
This year’s Walton Electric Trust scholarship recipients possess the kind of credentials that typically earn such rewards. They are smart, driven, focused individuals.
But these scholars also exhibit another quality that separates them from the crowd. Each has triumphed over a significant obstacle in their life.
Landon Hagwood is a shining example. He twice battled an aggressive form of bone cancer while attending Oconee County High School.
“On Sept. 23, 2019, I went into Emory Midtown in Atlanta for a surgical biopsy that confirmed our worst fears,” the student recalled about the malignant tumor found in his shoulder. “In one moment, my life changed.”
Part of his shoulder was surgically removed, which doctors said would severely limit Landon’s arm mobility for the rest of his life. At best, he might be able to reach high enough to comb his hair.
With the help of a dedicated physical therapist, he proved them wrong. Now cancer-free, Landon plans to pursue a career inspired by the healthcare provider.
“The work my physical therapist has done with me during my journey has been so impactful and life-changing for my abilities,” he said. “I want to do the same for others.”
A Walton Electric Trust scholarship will help pay for his college education. Landon promises co-op members it will not be wasted.
“Cancer does not define me, but it has changed the course of how I live my life and what I will accomplish,” he said. “I can promise you that I will represent you well in my dedication to my studies and how I succeed in college.”
Read Landon’s story of perseverance at the Walton EMC blog.