10:32 AM

Scholarships Awarded to Four Student Leaders

Since 1971, Jackson EMC has selected high school students to participate in the Washington Youth Tour - a weeklong leadership and learning opportunity in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the nation's electric cooperatives through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). This year, we continued this tradition and selected four students as Jackson EMC’s 2020 Washington Youth Tour delegates. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NRECA decided in April to cancel this year’s trip.

Jackson EMC is proud to recognize these students and their dedicated service toour community. Jackson EMC has honored these students by awarding them each a $4,000 scholarship. Meet these young leaders from our community.

Alex Crabb, Junior at Dacula High School

Crabb is the son of Kristin and Nicholas Crabb of Dacula. 

Groups and organizations: Vice president of the Georgia Association of Student Councils, member of the Gwinnett Student Leadership Team and Dacula Student Leadership Team, and volunteer with the school’s food pantry. He is also a member of Mu Alpha Theta (math honor society), Health Occupation Sciences of America (HOSA) and National Honor Society.

Favorite character-shaping event: An annual competition between local high schools to collect the most pounds of nonperishable food donations per student known as “Food Fight.” “I’ve helped [with this event for] the previous three years,” said Crabb. “I like helping with this event because I see it directly impacting Dacula, and I know it’s helping my peers.”

On the importance of volunteering: "I have had the opportunity to be exposed to many different environments and situations that have contributed heavily to my character and the choices I make. The time I spend volunteering [often] benefits my community directly -and that’s important to me."

Jack Thomas, Junior at Flowery Branch High School

Thomas is the son of Alison and Paul Thomas of Buford. 

Groups and organizations: Member of the National Honor Society, Flowery Branch Student Council, Mu Alpha Theta, Spanish Honor Society and the Technology Student Association. He is also an Eagle Scout and senior patrol leader in Boy Scout Troop 597.

Most impactful project: His Eagle Scout project. Thomas planned a patio building project for his church. This involved organizing volun-teers, holding multiple workdays, and overcoming various challenges, such as a broken water pipe at the location of the construction site. “This project re-emphasized the importance of perseverance,” said Thomas. “The lessons I constantly learn from volunteering encourage me to continue giving back.”

On the importance of volunteering: "I have a strong commitment to community volunteering. It's important because it helps you appreciate what your community gives to you. And when you give back, I find that you always learn more about perseverance and commitment."

Kennedy Turner, Junior at North Gwinnett High School

Turner is the daughter of Donyale and JuanDrago Turner of Suwanee. 

Groups and organizations: Member of the Gwinnett Student Leadership Team, North Gwinnett Student Leadership Team, Beta Club, National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society and the Lunch Bunch Team, a group that meets with special needs students for weekly social interactions. She is the 2020 Girls Gwinnett County dive champion, a member of the Georgia Diving Club and volunteer at Furkids, Rainbow Village, Metro Gymnastics and local nursing homes.

Most impactful group: “I love helping the special needs community [as a member of the Lunch Bunch team]… Not only do we play games together, but we also spend time teaching the students valuable life skills like public speaking and etiquette. I know it’ll make a difference for years to come.” 

On the importance of volunteering: "I love helping the special needs community. They are genuinely some of my greatest friends and make me happy when we’re able to spend time together."

Erick Villanueva, Junior at East Hall High School

Villanueva is the son of Esperanza Olguin of Gainesville. 

Groups and organizations: Member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, East Hall Student Council, and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). He is vice president of service for East Hall HOPE (Hispanic Organization Promoting Education) Club, a graduate of Youth Leadership Hall, translator for elementary school parents in school conferences and was named a Georgia BEST student by the Georgia Department of Labor. He is also a volunteer with the Hall County Humane Society, INK, Good News at Noon and Path Project. 

Favorite group: “I’ve been a member of HOPE for two years. This group aims to increase the graduation rate among Hispanic students. [It] brings out the best of East Hall High School… HOPE has given me a place to be seen and be heard while helping out my friends and the students who don’t have anyone else to help them make decisions about things like applications for college and scholarships.” 

On the importance of volunteering: "One of my core values is helping others. When you reach out to help someone, you create this bond that strengthens your community. People need to know someone is there for them – to inspire them and champion them so they can be thebest for the generations following behind them."