GOOD NEWS: 2 Gwinnett students recipients of Hispanic scholarships

Two Gwinnett County students were among a group of high schoolers from around the Atlanta area to receive scholarships from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

The Coca-Cola Company and the Atlanta Retailers Association partnered with the HSF to award seven scholarships worth a total of $20,000. The Gwinnett recipients were Nina Campano of Norcross High who is also a mechanical engineering major at Vanderbilt University, and Mario Posso of Berkmar High, an electrical engineering and computer engineering major at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The students were chosen after they applied for the scholarship through Coca-Cola’s “Destapa Su Futuro” program, initiated last year, by answering three thought-provoking essay questions along with the HSF’s scholarship application. The applications were available and distributed through the ARA’s more than 900 independently owned and operated gas stations and convenience stores.

Scholarship applicants reflected on how their heritage impacted their career goals, and the importance of education in their lives and community service experiences.

“Coca-Cola proudly supports the Latino community and recognizes the importance of aiding our younger generation in reaching their dreams and aspirations,” said Jay Ard, vice president of Convenience Retail Channel for Coca-Cola Refreshments.

HSF President and CEO Fidel Vargas said this year’s pool of applicants was an all-time high.

“HSF is delighted to recognize and invest in another talented group of future Latino leaders in our community who have achieved great heights and have met the rigorous criteria to make it this far in our scholarship process,” Vargas said.

4 middle schoolers selected as semifinalists

Four Gwinnett middle schoolers were recently selected as semifinalists in the third annual national Broadcom MASTERS science and engineering middle school competition.

The semifinalists were Eddie Thurmon of Crews Middle, Matthew Warth of Crews Middle, Abhiramgopal Akella of Five Forks Middle and Judy Liu of Trickum Middle. They are among 300 semifinalists across the country. On Aug. 27, 30 finalists will be announced to compete for a chance to win $25,000 in Washington, D.C.

Credit union donates school supplies

Ferguson Elementary and Beaver Ridge Elementary recently received 937 school supplies that were donated from area branches of Georgia United Credit Union in Gwinnett.

The donation was part of the Credit Union’s second School Supply Drive, a partnership with Star 94 Radio, to benefit Title 1 schools.

Statewide, 16 branches donated 8,251 items. Beaver Ridge received 484 items, while Ferguson received 453.

Buford woman wins prestigious rotary grant

A Buford woman recently received a Rotary Global Scholar Grant to pursue post-graduate study in the Department of Geography, Queen Mary, at the University of London.

Meghan McCollum, a Samford University geography alumna, earned the grant, which is worth $42,667, which replaced the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar program and is designed to develop highly educated men and women whose long-term career goals align with the mission and goals of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation. The Hoover (Ala.) Rotary Club will serve as the International Sponsor for McCollum. The Barkingside Rotary Club in East London will serve as her host Sponsor.

Samford University associate professor of geography Jennifer Speights-Binet said McCollum is the perfect fit for the Global Scholars program.

“She has the most essential skills for any geographer,” Speights-Binet said. “A nagging curiosity about the world, an adventurous spirit, and those critical thinking and problem solving skills that we want all of our students to develop while here at Samford.”

The 2013 graduate will begin her advanced studies in September in the University of London master’s degree program in cities and cultures. McCollum’s two areas of focus are economic and community development and basic literacy. Her goal is to work in urban communities in underdeveloped countries, and she believes that women and youth will be the catalysts for change in depressed urban environments.

Keith Farner writes about education. Good News from Schools appears in the Sunday edition of the Daily Post.