C-P seniors earn $152K in scholarships

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

May 27, 2008 - For the past two years, Como-Pickton seniors have continued to set new school records for the amount of scholarships earned overall. The first year, the students raked in more than $100,000. Last year, they broached the $200,000 mark. So far this year, the students have amassed $152,000 in scholarships, and with several still pending, are expected to once again push the total above the $200,000 mark, C-P Counselor Laurie Bult noted during Como-Pickton High School Honors and Awards Assembly Wednesday at the school.

She said the awards are the results not only of years of hard work on the part of the student, but the many community members who have helped them along the way as well as the businesses and individuals who contributed.

About a third of that amount was awarded to one student, Lorena Ledesma. Gene Mattison, who graduated from Como-Pickton 24 years ago, presented her with the Mary Bonham Educational Trust Fund Scholarship.

"About 15 years ago Mrs. Bonham set up the trust at no benefit to herself other than to educate a young man or woman. She has educated a dozen or so kids over the years, at a rate of about $10,000 a year over four years," Mattison said.

One student, Bethanie Stinson received several scholarships. Stinson is ranked eighth in the class based on this year's scores, but didn't make the final cut for top 10 which is based on cumulative average from all four years of high school.

Chuck Lay presented Stinson with a $250 Como-Pickton Athletic Booster Club Scholarship, noting due to her involvement that "everybody will think how deserving she is."

Stinson also received the $1,500 Sulphur Springs Kiwanis Club Achievement Scholarship presented by James Kennon. Instructor Michael Bowen presented Stinson with one of four $1,250 scholarships awarded by Northeast Texas Livestock Association, provider of the Hopkins County Junior Market Show.

The University of Alabama -- Huntsville also awarded Stinson a $30,000 athletic scholarship to play for the school next year.

Another student receiving more than one honor was Brittany Hodges, who had the second highest grade this year and will finish her high school career ranked fourth in the class. Chuck Lay also presented Hodges with a Como-Pickton Athletic Booster Club Scholarship.

"I've been seeing Brittany Hodges play since she was about six. She always has a ball or bat or something in her hand," Lay said.

Hodges also was presented a $150 Professional Land Title Company Frankie and Glenna Jo Price Memorial Scholarship by Markeda Orwosky and Kayla Price.

Baylor University awarded Hodges with a $22,592 scholarship and she was the first person to receive a $1,000 Carmie's Kitchen Scholarship, a new scholarship awarded for the first time this week. She was also one of two people to receive $1,000 scholarships from Custom Shutters. Mayra Perez also benefitted from a $1,000 Custom Shutters Scholarship.

Kay Minter-Tomlin, a 1963 graduate of Pickton High School, presented Hodges with the Price Minter Memorial Scholarship, an award in honor of a man who dedicated his life to public education, "loved kids and school fun."

Minter-Tomlin also presented Courtney Thompson with the $1,000 Pickton Alumni Scholarship.

"I am pleased to say I'm from here and present this on behalf of the school alumni," Minter-Tomlin said. "From 1936 to 1965 Pickton School was open. We've had an active alumni association for a number of years. I activated the alumni about five years ago, and twisted some arms to establish this award. Bridger Loyd was the first to receive it. That was four years ago. He will graduate from college this year.

"We are proud to be able to help these two fulfill their goals of higher education. Both are in my lit crit[icism] and have spent many an afternoon with me putting in time. I'm very proud of them," Minter-Tomlin noted.

Courtney Thompson was one of six students from the 30 in Hopkins County who submitted application to be awarded a $1,000 "Rotary Club of Sulphur Springs, Texas Scholarship." She was selected based on her service to the community, athleticism and overall activities and character, the presenter noted.

Thompson and Juan Bautista also each were awarded a $100 Como-Pickton Little Dribblers Scholarship, presented by Karla Jacks and Susan Smith. Both students participated in Little Dribblers all four years its offered, from third through sixth grades, according to Smith. Bautista also went home with a $250 Eagle Baseball Scholarship and Thompson with a $250 Eagle Softball Scholarship, both presented by Gail Bain.

Bain noted that while the program was disband several years ago, those responsible for the remaining funds opted to put it in an account for scholarships as a way to give back to the community. Thus, each year a $250 scholarship is awarded to a C-P baseball and a softball player.

Rachel Cummings, named the 2008 valedictorian, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship from the Cooperative Teacher's Credit Union. Cummings was one of only four students selected from applications submitted by students in the credit union's 10 county service area, according to Benita Huskey, who presented the award.

"Part of that name is teachers, they make a different in the life of children by helping them come forward. As a teacher's credit union, we consider how much every teacher, counselor, person working at school puts into the work that goes in. From the bus driver to the teacher, counselor, board," Huskey said, noting that it was Cumming's essay about teacher Josh Williams that resulted in the scholarship.

Williams, who is not teachers at Emory-Rains High School, also will receive recognition from Cooperative Teachers Credit Union as part of the award, according to Huskey, who also recognized the valuable role parents play in students' lives.

Cummings also was awarded the $10,000 Presidential Scholarship from Texas A&M University-Commerce and an $8,000 Texas Education Agency Valedictorian Scholarship.

Texas Education Agency has tentatively awarded five students with $2,000 Scholarships for completing all four years of high school requirements in just three years, qualifying them to graduate. Among the TEA Early Graduate Scholarship recipients are Chesley Walden, Juliana Ramirez, Nelson Duenes, Nicole Spaid and Stephanie Mejia.

Ramirez also was awarded a $2,000 Jeld-Wen Scholarship, a scholarship for which sons and daughters of Jeld-Wen employees may apply.

Also receiving a $2,000 Alliance Bank Educational Scholarship from Kevin Monk Wednesday was Mollye Lay, who just prior to the awarding of scholarships was recognized for having the third highest ranking score among all seniors based on this year's grades then was named valedictorian of the 2007-2008 class based on her four-year cumulative GPA.

Instructor Michael Bowen presented four students with $1,000 scholarships from the Career College & Schools of Texas. Spencer Wicks, Jose Diosdado, Will Gilbreath and Ignacio Gonzalez were selected based on their indications of a desire to continue training in the areas served by the technical school.

Aeron Green was also awarded a $1,000 Scholarship honoring C-P retiree Lonnie Niblet, who coach football, basketball and track during his years at Como-Pickton, which began in 1980.

"This is a new one. We felt like it was time to pay back a little bit of what he has given to us. ... During his time he has had an impact on many lives, not only on the field but on many [people's] character," said Bowen, noting that when students were going through difficult times, Niblet was often the one they turned to for advice or words of encouragement. "We give this scholarship in your honor. I was told this morning that the scholarship has been raised up from $500 to $1,000."

Counselor Bult noted that awarding the scholarship in Niblet's name to Green seemed only that much more appropriate. Green was an eighth grader when Niblet retired. She was one of the students to express how important Niblet had been to her during an retirement event held that year for Niblet.

Niblet was called on stage for the presentation, which was met with much clapping and ovations.

Three others students were also awarded scholarships during the Como-Pickton Honors & Awards Assembly held Wednesday at the school.

Bult presented Tellez with a $400 College/Principal Scholarship from Northeast Texas Community College and Maria Guitierrez with a $300 St. James Women's Guild award.

Anna Velasco was presented the $500 East Texas Ford Scholarship presented by Suenan Gober in honor of Mac and Jo Gober. David Hightower also presented Velasco with a $500 Gus Garrison Masonic Lodge Scholarship.

"The Masonic Lodge has long supported education in Texas. The Gus Garrison Masonic Lodge is proud support that today by awarding Anna Velasco a $500 scholarship," Hightower noted.

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