The Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) at Texarkana College held an award ceremony on Thursday, February 11, 2021, to present $500 scholarships to five students pursuing higher education credentials. The awards were provided through a donation from the Texarkana Housing Authority which contributed $2,500 toward the EOC Overcoming Barriers Scholarship Fund for the academic year. During the presentation, Melva Flowers, Texarkana Housing Authority Board President, said the agency and its affiliates are honored to partner with TC and the EOC program to provide scholarships.
"If we are to make our community a better place, then there is no better return on our investment than to provide scholarships for education," said Flowers. "When we invest in scholarships, we make dreams come true that may otherwise be impossible."
Flowers said that providing scholarships is a way to invest in tomorrow's community leaders and help offset the rising cost of higher education.
"Today's ceremony is a great way to teach a valuable lesson on the meaning of giving back to the community and showing the students that we have faith in them," said Flowers. "We look forward to celebrating many more milestones for these deserving students."
The Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) at Texarkana College is a program designed to assist individuals with college matriculation. EOC is a federally funded TRIO program and services are provided to program participants free of charge who meet program eligibility requirements. EOC Program participants receive coaching and assistance with the college admissions process, completing of the federal financial aid application (FAFSA), and enrollment at the post-secondary institution of their choice. The Educational Opportunity Center at Texarkana College is funded by a grant from the United States Department of Education.
EOC director, Lee Williams, III, said the Texarkana Housing Authority has partnered with the Educational Opportunity Center at Texarkana College since the program started at TC in Fall 2016.
"We are grateful to the Texarkana Housing Authority and the commitment they have to assisting in educating our community," said Williams. "They not only provide money for scholarships, but ample opportunities for us to do educational outreach and workshops in housing complexes."
All participants of the EOC program may apply for the Overcoming Barriers Scholarship. Recipients are selected by a committee who interviews each eligible applicant and determines adherence to scholarship criteria, academic achievement, community and school involvement, character, and demonstration of financial need.
Scholarship recipient, Haleigh Stone, said the financial support she has received from EOC and through other financial aid sources at TC has enabled her to quit her job to dedicate her time to completing her degree.
"I am now enrolled full time in the TC nursing program and am so grateful for the support and encouragement I have received," said Stone. "This school has been so good to me, it has provided me with so much opportunity."
EOC Overcoming Barriers Scholarship Recipients:
First Row - Lee Williams III, Sharonda Smith, Haleigh Stone, Melva Flowers Second Row - Briana Fricks, Tenequa Martin, Katie Andrus, Jason Smith, Jackie Otto, Chaddrick Moore, and Tarisha Duson