As an electric cooperative, Palmetto Electric is committed to the communities we serve. Education is a vital part of our members’ lives, and we understand the importance of supporting tomorrow’s leaders. Palmetto Electric offers several scholarships and educational opportunities to students throughout our service area. In years past, scholarship winners have been recognized, in-person, at the Annual Meeting. Although we were not able to do that this year, we wanted to give these students the proper recognition they deserve.
Virtual Youth Experience
Mackenzie Starnes from Hilton Head Island High School has earned a $5,000 college scholarship in a podcast competition sponsored by Palmetto Electric Cooperative and other South Carolina electric cooperatives. Starnes was part of a three-person team which included Grace Johnson of Hartsville and Salena Robinson of West Columbia, each of whom received the scholarship award. Their winning podcast was chosen among 20 by a panel of journalists that included Craig Melvin of NBC’s TODAY show, Kenneth Moton from ABC’s World News Now and Cindi Scoppe and Avery Wilks from The Post and Courier newspaper.
The winning team competed against groups of 74 other high school students from across South Carolina, who had been elected by their local cooperative to participate in Virtual Youth Experience (VYE). VYE was a web conference which took place June 19–25 and allowed the students to engage with state leaders including Gov. Henry McMaster, U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman and state epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell.
Following VYE, each team wrote, recorded and produced a podcast about how the COVID-19 crisis and other recent events have impacted their lives. Palmetto Electric had a total of six students participate in VYE and the podcast challenge, Zamya Fields of Ridgeland, Raul Leyva and Matthew Sherburne of Bluffton, and Brittany Ramirez and Jack Barney of Hilton Head.
Women Involved in Rural Electrification (WIRE)
Women Involved in Rural Electrification (WIRE), a community outreach organization affiliated with the co-op, awarded a scholarship to Jaala Grant from Hilton Head Island High School. Jaala received a $1,000 scholarship and will continue her studies in nursing at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
Palmetto Electric Trust
The Palmetto Electric Trust, which administers member donations to Operation Round Up, awarded three college scholarships. Receiving awards were Tania Carolina Ramirez from Hilton Head Island High School, who will continue her studies at the University of South Carolina Beaufort; Mackenzie Yvette Ferguson from Wade Hampton High School, who will continue her studies at the University of South Carolina Beaufort; and K’sheauna “Keesha” Tyese Singleton from Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School, who will continue her studies at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.