Over the past month, OGE Energy Corp. Foundation, Inc. recognized three high school seniors as its 2023 OGE Positive Energy Scholars. Each scholarship recipient will receive a total of $60,000 in scholarship funds over four years to cover tuition, books, fees and on-campus room and board.
The 2023 OGE Positive Energy Scholars are Blaine Granger of Piedmont High School, Jorge Merino of Southeast High School in Oklahoma City and Emma Smith of Southside High School in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Thanks to the financial assistance provided from the Positive Energy Scholarship, Blaine, Jorge and Emma can now attend college and pursue their degrees without the financial burden often associated with obtaining higher education.
“Congratulations to Blaine, Jorge and Emma, the 2023 OGE Positive Energy Scholars,” said Sean Trauschke, OGE Energy Corp. Chairman, President and CEO. “These three students represent the next generation of leaders, and it is an honor to present them with this meaningful, empowering scholarship that opens doors of opportunity and prepares them to enter the workforce.”
Each scholar was surprised at his or her high school with a parade of fellow students, family members and signs. School administrators, teachers, mentors, representatives from Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. (OG&E), various elected officials and other members from each recipient’s community gathered to celebrate the students’ accomplishments as they were presented with the scholarship award.
“Emma is a bright and dedicated student with a thirst for knowledge,” said Randy Kent, a technical instructor at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith who nominated Emma for this award. “I’ve had the honor of teaching Emma over the last two years and have been impressed by her grace, intelligence and consistent commitment to her studies. She is incredibly deserving of this award, and I know she will do wonderful things in her future.”
This year’s Positive Energy Scholars were selected from a competitive pool of more than 200 applicants. In addition to impressive academic accomplishments and test scores, each student wowed the selection committee with their involvement in extracurricular activities, dedication to community service, thirst for knowledge and desire to build a brighter future for their state.
“Jorge is a kind, hard-working and motivated student,” said Mary Tran, a former STEM teacher at the Metro Technology Center’s Computer Science Academy who nominated Jorge for this award. “Despite the many hardships and obstacles he’s experienced, he never lets these barriers get in the way of his dreams or affect the ever-present smile on his face. I cannot think of another student who deserves this honor as much as him.”
Both Blaine and Jorge will attend the University of Oklahoma while Emma will earn her degree at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith. Jorge and Emma plan to pursue a degree in a STEM field while Blaine is set to major in music education, providing an impactful boost to the workforce in Oklahoma and Arkansas.
“Plato said, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and charm to everything in life,” said Amy Swaim, a virtual electives instructor at Piedmont Public Schools who nominated Blaine for this award. “I think no statement could more encapsulate Blaine Granger. Blaine has an infectious enthusiasm that when coupled with his passion for music brings excitement and joy to all of those around him. It has been my privilege to know him and have been his teacher. I look forward to seeing all the bright and beautiful things he accomplishes as he leaves Piedmont High School.”
The 2023 Positive Energy Scholars display admirable work ethic and character both in and out of the classroom. In addition to their academic accomplishments, each student participated in a variety of extracurricular activities and community service initiatives. Blaine is a talented trumpet player who privately tutors aspiring trumpeters and composes original songs. Emma is a member of several leadership and honor societies and enjoys volunteering at her local church, and Jorge led his school’s Technology Student Association team that consistently placed in the top three at the annual and statewide Video Game Design Competition.
“When we invest in local students, we are investing in the future well-being of our state,” said Alba Weaver, OG&E Senior Manager of Local and Community Affairs. “Providing financial assistance to well-deserving students opens doors of opportunities that might otherwise remain closed. This impactful initiative is one of many ways that OG&E energizes education in the communities it serves.”
Established in 2019, the OGE Positive Energy Scholarship empowers academically strong students to pursue a degree in higher education by providing critical financial need. Eligible students must meet specific criteria to be considered, including:
· Be a graduating high school senior from the OG&E service area.
· Attend a college in the states of Oklahoma or Arkansas.
· Have an unweighted grade point average greater than or equal to 3.25.
· Achieve an ACT score greater than or equal to 25 and/or SAT score greater than or equal to 1200.
Since 2012, OG&E and the OGE Energy Corp. have provided more than $2 million in scholarships for more than 300 students in the OG&E service area. Since launching the Positive Energy Scholarship program, OGE Energy Corp. Foundation has awarded 15 Positive Energy Scholarships – totaling $900,000 – to high school seniors.