WAPA awards scholarships

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ST. CROIX - Three aspiring engineers have been added to the list of recipients of one of the most coveted scholarships in the territory.

The V.I. Water and Power Authority announced its 2013 recipients of the Alva C. McFarlane Scholarships during its monthly governing board meeting Thursday.

WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. said the scholarship program has been incredibly successful and has provided educational opportunities for some of the territory's brightest. The program affords WAPA the opportunity to bring them back and use their newly acquired skills and training to enhance the growth and development of the utility, he said.

This year, the recipients are Myles Ventura, Kareem Edwards and Ja'Ren Harris, who all are 2013 high school graduates, in addition to La'Ron Henry, a college sophomore.

The award is a $60,000 scholarship over a four-year degree program, which Edwards and Henry each will receive, and $20,000 for a two-year-degree, which Ventura and Harris each will receive.

Ventura is a graduate of St. Croix Educational Complex and will be heading to Texas State Technical College in Waco, Texas, to study mechanical engineering. He has served as a Rising Star counselor, Boys To Men mentor and audio/visual technician at Speak the Word Ministries.

Edwards graduated as salutatorian from Good Hope School and is heading to the Georgia Institute of Technology to study mechanical engineering. He was the vice president of the school's chapter of the National Honor Society, host of the "Graffiti Street" teen show, an Interact Club member and a Youth Advisory Council member.

Harris is a graduate of Charlotte Amalie High School and will attend North Carolina A&T State University to study electronic engineering. He has been active as a 2nd lieutenant in the Army JROTC and is a member of the Anglican Youth Organization.

Henry is continuing his education at Savannah State University, where he is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. He is a member of the Savannah State University International Student Association, and he has been active in the Rising Stars Steel Band and the Interact Club.

Hodge said WAPA established the Alva C. McFarlane Scholarship to assist in preparing young Virgin Islanders for technical careers with WAPA. The purpose, primarily was to improve the recruitment of engineering and technical expertise through the development of local talent.

Once the recipients have completed their schooling, they are immediately obligated to work for WAPA for as long as it took to complete the degree, but not less than four years.

The scholarship was named in the honor of McFarlane who, as a member of WAPA's governing board, was instrumental in the establishment of the award.

Hodge said WAPA has benefited substantially as a result of the scholarship recipients who have completed their education and returned to the territory to make their contributions.

At Thursday's board meeting, he ran through a list of names of individuals who have benefited from the scholarship and have come back and have been serving the territory effectively for years and have risen to hold many key decision-making positions at WAPA.

The scholarship selection is based on standardized college admission test scores, financial need, community involvement and WAPA's needs.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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