Stonewater Roofing awarded $1,000 college scholarships to four lucky East Texas students this month, as former high schoolers start looking ahead to the future. Teens were encouraged to submit a video explaining their hopeful career path, their inspiration for choosing that path, and what the scholarship would mean to them.
“It’s impressive what kids can do these days,” explained Stonewater Roofing CFO Chris Morris. “Everybody had a great story, so it definitely made it tough for us to choose.” In fact, it was so hard to narrow down the field that the company reached out to its partners for help.
The initial plan was to only offer two scholarships, one for the Tyler area and one for the Longview area. However, after watching videos from so many amazing kids, Morris said, “It was clear that two wasn’t going to be enough.” Stonewater Roofing asked the folks at GAF, Infinity Marketing and M. Roberts Digital to pitch in extra cash and help provide scholarships for twice as many of the entrants.
The two winners from Tyler were Jayla Gipson and Christopher Whitmore, while the winners from Longview were Braden Nickel and Lanie Pritchett.
Gipson graduated from Tyler High School and will be attending the University of Texas at Arlington in the fall. She plans to study business and commercial real estate, with the goal of one day being her own boss. However, she is mostly focused on giving back to the community like her grandmother who died from COVID-19 in January. “She was always so hard-working, and she always pushed me to be hard-working as well,” Gipson said.
Some people may already know Whitmore’s name. The former Tyler Legacy High School student was featured in the news for an internship he had at Hood Packaging, where he designed a drainage filtration system. He will be studying civil engineering in the fall at Texas A&M, with hopes of becoming a construction project manager. “It all started out with LEGOs,” he said.
Nickel graduated from Longview High School and is heading out of state to study computer science at Louisiana Tech University in the fall. “I believe that computer science is the future of humanity, and that’s something that I want to be a part of,” he stated in his video. “The only limitation is your imagination.”
Meanwhile, musical theatre has always been Pritchett’s passion, just like her mother before her. She started acting at a young age and never looked back, even winning a Best Actress award at a district competition. “I truly believe,” Pritchett added, “with all of my heart, that music and the arts can change the world and have an impact on other people’s lives.” The Gilmer High School grad will continue to study theatre at East Texas Baptist University in the fall.
“Watching all these videos, people have goals, and compassion, and they’re ready to go to the next level,” said Brennan Eberhart, direct sales supervisor for Stonewater Roofing. “They have a bright idea for the future.”