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Women earn co-op scholarships

August 02, 2012

Jennifer Oliver

Leah Walters

Jennifer Oliver of Wallace and Leah Walters of Lexington are recipients of the 2012 WIRE Jenny Ballard Opportunity Scholarships for Women Returning to College.  Oliver is a member of Marlboro Electric Cooperative in Bennettsville.  Walters is a member of Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative in Lexington.

WIRE (Women Involved in Rural Electrification) is a community service organization associated with South Carolina's independent, consumer-owned electric cooperatives. The WIRE Opportunity Scholarship is awarded to a woman who may not have been able to attend college when she graduated from high school, but now wants to further her education. Each year WIRE awards the $2,500 one-time Opportunity Scholarships to electric co-op members based on financial need and personal goals.

Oliver, a teacher assistant at Chesterfield-Marlboro Head Start, is a student at Northeastern Technical College in Cheraw, where she majors in early childhood education. “I’m a hard-working, single parent who loves giving back to my kids and community,” said Oliver.  “I pulled myself to return to school after many years to help better serve preschoolers in Marlboro and Chesterfield counties.” 

Walters, a production coordinator at Pegasus Originals in Lexington, attends Midlands Technical College where she’s majoring in nursing.  “Being a divorced mother with three children, I have had to learn to be very frugal with my budget,” said Walters.  “I plan to be just as financially prudent with this scholarship.”  Her long-term goal is to open a respite care facility to help families who are caring for their elderly loved ones.  “Respect is due to the generations that reared us, and I would want them to have the same care that I hope to have when I am in my senior years,” said Walters.

The WIRE Opportunity Scholarship is named for Jenny Ballard, an early leader of WIRE. She is the wife of Al Ballard, former president of the statewide association of electric cooperatives.

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