Black Warrior awards scholarships to 10 area graduating seniors
Students are dependents of Black Warrior EMC members

As it has done the past five years, Black Warrior Electric Membership Corporation recently awarded scholarships to high school graduating seniors in West Central Alabama.

This year, Black Warrior presented scholarships to 10 students. The scholarships, $500 each, are awarded through the Electric Cooperative Foundation, which was created by Alabama’s electric cooperatives as a means to give back to their communities.

“As a board, one of the most satisfying things we do each year is recognize students for their academic achievements,” Board President Terry Barr said. “We have some outstanding students throughout our service area, and to be able to assist them as they continue their education in college is not only an honor, but something every one of our board members sees as part of our service to the communities we serve.”

To qualify for a scholarship, a student must be a graduating high school senior who is the dependent of a Black Warrior Electric member. The money is awarded directly to the school of the student’s choosing. The award is good for four years, and can be used for anything that can be purchased through the school – tuition, books, room and board, etc.

To spread the word about the scholarships, applications were distributed to the more than 20 high schools in the utility’s 12-county coverage area. Black Warrior EMC board members went to the school of each student to present the awards.

This is the sixth year Black Warrior has awarded scholarships. This year’s winners are:

  • Rebecca Lynne Campbell of Toxey, a student at South Choctaw Academy. She plans to major in dental hygiene.
  • Cameron Todd Robinson of Gilbertown, a student at South Choctaw Academy. He plans to major in engineering.
  • Brody Wayne Osburn of Greensboro, a student at Demopolis High School. He plans to major in general business.
  • Leah Beth Stewart of Greensboro, a student at Southern Academy. She plans to major in biology/pre-medicine.
  • Jordan Elizabeth James of Greensboro, a student at Southern Academy. She plans to major in sports management/therapy.
  • Samuel David Lewis of Gilbertown, a student at Patrician Academy. He plans to major in environmental science.
  • Mary G. Becton of Millry, a student at Millry High School. She plans to major in engineering.
  • Shon K. Jones of Forkland, a student at Demopolis High School. He plans to major in mechanical engineering.
  • Landon Scott Smith of Butler, a student at Patrician Academy. He plans to major in electrical technology.
  • Shakira Samone Wright of Coatopa, a student at Sumter Central High School. She plans to major in accounting.

Board Member Ottice Russelle of Belmont made presentations to students at Sumter Central High School and Demopolis High School.

“We want these students to know that their education is important to us and that we celebrate their achievements,” Russelle said. “Whether they pursue a career in science, like I did, or medicine, business or whatever field they choose, we want them to succeed and be the very best they can be.”

For the second consecutive year, Choctaw County had the highest number of scholarship winners with four. The county also has the highest number of Black Warrior members.

“I continue to be amazed and appreciative of what these young people in this county can do,” said Board Member Dr. John Lanier of Choctaw County. “I have no doubt they will carry that achievement on into college and beyond.”

Board Vice President C. Irvin Eatman emphasized that educating young people is important to the future of West Central Alabama. “A college education will open a lot of doors for these students and greatly increase their earning potential,” Eatman said. “Just as important, though, the education and knowledge they receive will benefit their families and eventually their community, especially if they come back and put that knowledge to use here.”

Board Member Audra P. Browder said she hopes these scholarship winners inspire others to work hard in the classroom as well. “Awarding success generates more success,” she said. “If your classmate can do, so can you. It’s a matter of putting in the effort.”

Black Warrior General Manager Daryl Jones said that despite some tough times this past year caused by bad weather and COVID-19, the electric co-op continues to make the scholarship a priority. “We’re here to serve our members and their families,” he said. “We do that by keeping their lights on and keeping their rates low. Sometimes, though, we serve them by making it a little easier for them to send their children to college.”

The scholarship applications were evaluated by the Electric Cooperative Foundation, which on behalf of the electric cooperatives has been awarding scholarships to students at vocational and trade schools and four-year colleges and universities since 2001. Over the years, the foundation has awarded scholarships totaling more than a half-million dollars.