Nansemond River student wins $1,000 scholarship

Published 7:11 pm Friday, May 20, 2022

A Nansemond River High School student is among three high school seniors from the service territory of Community Electric Cooperative who have each received $1,000 college scholarships awarded by the Education Scholarship Foundation of the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives.

Nansemond River’s Braxton Lewis joined Windsor High students Alivia Garris of Zuni and Brett Holmes of Franklin as scholarship winners.

The students were eligible for consideration because their parents or guardians are members of Community Electric Cooperative.

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“These scholarships reflect the strong commitment of electric cooperatives to advancing educational opportunities among our youth,” said Russell Brown, chair of the Education Scholarship Foundation Board and chair of the board of directors of the VMD Association. “We commend these students on their academic success, knowing they represent a future generation of leaders in their communities.”

The foundation awarded Worth Hudson Scholarships of $1,000 each to 50 students, including Garris and Lewis. They are named in honor of Hudson, the first chairman of the VMDAEC Education Scholarship Foundation.

Holmes is among three seniors awarded $1,000 scholarships in memory of Bill Sherrod, the former editor of Cooperative Living magazine. They plan to pursue a career in journalism, English, communications or related fields.

Lewis will attend Virginia Military Institute and major in civil engineering.

“I was ecstatic upon receiving this scholarship because it pushes me closer to my goals. I am so happy that scholarships like these are made possible for students like me who do not want a pile of student debt after graduation,” he said.

Lewis quoted renowned U.S. wrestler Dan Gable, an Olympic gold medalist and two-time NCAA national champion, to describe his career aspirations: “My valleys are higher than most people’s peaks.”

“I am not inferring that I am better than anyone, just that I have such high goals for myself,” Lewis said.

Garris will attend Paul D. Camp Community College and study nutrition. Her career goal is to become a nutritionist and personal trainer.

“I am so honored by those who have chosen to contribute to my college education. I am truly grateful and appreciative of their generosity,” she said. “I will work hard to make the organizations proud of supporting me.”

Holmes will attend Virginia Tech and major in sports media and analytics. He described the Bill Sherrod scholarship opportunity as a “big red shiny ball” that aligned perfectly with his career goals.

“Most scholarships are very broad and everyone is applying for the same ones. This scholarship made so much sense for me, and I’m very, very grateful,” Holmes said.

“We’re extremely proud to be able to help these deserving young people from our service area continue their education, whether at a college or university, or in learning a trade,” said Steven Harmon, president and chief executive officer of Community Electric Cooperative.

Since 2001, the Education Scholarship Foundation has provided approximately 840 scholarships totaling more than $860,000 to aspiring college students as well as to the next generation of electric lineworkers. The foundation is supported through tax-deductible donations and bequests, proceeds from fundraising events and CoBank’s Sharing Success Program. One hundred percent of donations go to students for scholarships. For information on donating to the Foundation, visit vmdaec.com/scholarship.

Community Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Windsor, is a nonprofit, member-owned energy provider that serves nearly 12,000 homes, farms and businesses in the counties of Isle of Wight, Southampton, Surry and Sussex and the City of Suffolk.