Walton EMC is distributing $35,000 in scholarships to 14 high school students.
Funds for the Walton EMC - Operation Round Up Scholarship come from an endowment of unclaimed refunds due to Walton EMC customer-owners. Walton EMC tries to return these refunds to customer-owners who have moved away but did not provide a forwarding address. After attempts are exhausted, the money goes into the scholarship fund.
The endowment is possible because of a law that allows EMCs to use unclaimed refunds for community improvement.
Each scholarship is worth $2,500 at an accredited college, university or technical school for use in the 2008-09 school year.
"We had more than 100 applications, which is impressive for our first year," Walton EMC President and CEO Ronnie Lee said. "Our winners all come highly recommended for their community service, work ethic and academic commitment."
The winners for 2008 are:
* Joseph Banford - Apalachee High
* Willian D. Collister II - Brookwood High
* Kaitlyn Deitz - Brookwood High
* Andrew Faust - Brookwood High
* Jennifer Hollis - Brookwood High
* Kyle Moore - George Walton Academy
* Thomas Terrell - Grayson High
* Nicholas Hanks - Loganville High
* Taylor Thompson - Loganville High
* Arneivia Clark - Monroe Area High
* Joy Hewell - Monroe Area High
* Michelae Hobbs - North Oconee High
* Larry Ross - North Oconee High
* Jocelyn Cotton - Parkview High
Operation Round Up is a program that allows Walton EMC customers to elect to "round up" their bill to the next dollar. The money collected from this program is used to further the goals of local nonprofit organizations and to assist individuals in need. No regular Operation Round Up donations from customers' electric bills are used for the scholarships.
Heather Darenberg writes about education for the Gwinnett Daily Post. More Good News From Schools appears online Monday.