Cleveland chamber scholarship recipients share their future plans for education, careers

Cleveland and Tarkington graduates who received scholarships from the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce this year were the featured speakers at the June 3 Chamber luncheon.

By Rachel Hall

Scholarship recipients from Cleveland and Tarkington high schools addressed the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce to thank the organization for its financial help to attend college and discuss their long-term career goals during the chamber’s monthly luncheon held on June 3.

Each high school senior who addressed the crowd was recently awarded with $1,000 scholarships based on their merit, leadership qualities, extracurricular activities they are involved in, and their future plans, according to Past Chamber Chair Victoria Good.

 “The chamber supports students that are going on to do great things with their futures and our hope is that they come back after they finish school and involve themselves in the greater Cleveland area whether that’s working here or volunteering here,” said Good.

All of the students applied through their counseling center with an application and essay to be considered for the scholarship. Then a chamber committee read through all of the essays and ranked them, selecting the top three as finalists for the award from each high school.

“We hope they all come back and invest in the community, work here in the community, and live here in the community because that is what makes Cleveland so great and that is what will make it great in the years to come – people who are rooted here,” she said.

Cleveland High School scholarship recipients were Tarik Barnes, Courtney Nelson, and Smiya Mayfield, while Tarkington High School scholarship recipients included Bradley Sanders, Stephanie Silvas, and Kasey Jones.

Bradley Sanders

“I want to thank everybody in the chamber for donating this scholarship to me and giving me a chance to further my education and be someone that I’ve wanted to be for a long time. A lot of my family members just made it in life and I came to the conclusion after living here and seeing how my aunt and uncle live on such a higher level that I don’t want to be the one penny pinching for gas or something like that. I want to be able to live comfortably in my own house and not have to rely on others for outside things. What I plan on doing for my future is going to Lone Star College for my associate’s in computer science and furthering on with what I want to do next at a four-year university.”

Stephanie Silvas

“I recently graduated from Tarkington High School. I have been in Tarkington all of my life. I would like to thank the chamber for donating the scholarship and letting me go on furthering my education. I plan on going to Lone Star College and doing my basics there and then transferring to Stephen F. Austin State University to become an RN, which is a registered nurse, and then I would like to work at any major hospital and build a career out of that.”

Courtney Nelson

“I would like to thank the chamber for inviting me here to speak, but more importantly for rewarding me with this year’s scholarship. I recently graduated from Cleveland High School ranking 11th in my class and in August I will be moving to Stephenville where I plan to attend Tarleton State University and begin my journey to become an elementary teacher. During high school, I was involved in sports including softball and volleyball as well as different clubs such as being the president of FFA and president of NHS while being involved in student council and doing different activities such as volunteering while representing Cleveland. It has led me to choose a career where I can give back to my community. My future plans are to graduate with my bachelor’s in elementary education along with my teaching certification in pre-K through 6th grade. After receiving these certifications, my hope is to receive a job back in my hometown of Cleveland teaching first or second grade where I plan to impact each of their lives by setting a foundation for the love of learning.”

Kasey Jones

“I just graduated from Tarkington High School. I will be attending Texas A&M in the fall. I was able to graduate sixth in my class and to go on and further my education with the help of everyone here and I really appreciate that very much. I plan on majoring in mathematics and working in actuarial science. I can use math and statistics to help people manage their money and financial risks, so I really appreciate being able to do this because I feel like it’s a way I can help people. I just want to say thank you again – I really appreciate it.”

Tarik Barnes

“I recently graduated from Cleveland High School. In the fall, I will get to attend the University of Texas at Austin and major in biochemistry. I would first like to thank the chamber of commerce for inviting me here today and providing me this scholarship to further my educational career. During high school, I was able to represent Cleveland and my school by being involved as national high school president, student body president at the high school, and senior drum major of the world’s greatest band. Being involved in those activities taught me time management, perseverance, and most importantly how to fail. Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to be a doctor one day and those experiences helped me pursue a career in providing high-quality, compassionate healthcare in underserved communities. That’s why I want to attend the University of Texas at Austin and study biochemistry, so I get a better understanding of organic relationships between our bodies and the chemical pathways that cause them. My medical school education will enable me to provide the best course of treatment to my patients and I wouldn’t be able to do that without your generous support today. Thank you again to the chamber for the support of my educational pursuit and your constant support to our community.” 

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