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  • Vernon Parish graduates receive nearly $5 million in scholarships and grants

    LEESVILLE-Fort Polk Progress, as part of its Education Initiative, recognizes the 2014 Vernon Parish graduates, who have earned a combined total of $5 million in scholarships to attend four-year colleges, technical and trade schools.


    This year, the Vernon Parish School District graduated 446 seniors from its nine senior high schools. Of that number 321 students, or 72 percent, completed the rigorous Louisiana Core-4 diploma which prepares them for college or a profession.


    Several Vernon Parish students received the competitive Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) scholarships which are awarded to Louisiana residents who attend Louisiana public colleges and universities, schools that are a part of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System or institutions that are part of the Louisiana Association of Independent Colleges or Universities. Students also received monetary awards from Vernon Parish businesses.


    Vernon Parish seniors will be attending such prestigious colleges as LeTourneau University,Louisiana State University, Louisiana State University at Alexandria, Louisiana Tech, McNeese State University, Northwestern State University, the University of Hartford, University of Louisiana at Alexandria, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, University of Louisiana at Shreveport and the University South Alabama to name a few.


    Some Vernon Parish graduates will be entering two-year schools including Bluecliff, Lamar and Sowela Technical School where they will be studying carpentry, cosmetology, dental hygiene, emergency medical techniques, surgical techniques and welding. Still other students are choosing to serve their country in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve.


    Nine students earned Industry Based Certifications (IBC) in oil and gas production and are immediately available for hire in the industry. As Louisiana's energy industry continues to expand so will the Vernon Parish program that enables high school students to train for rewarding trades.


    Number of graduates by school: Anacoco High School 34 graduates (26 Core-4); Evans High School 23 (14 Core-4); Hicks High School 16 graduates (12 Core-4); Hornbeck High School 27 graduates (13 Core-4); Leesville High School 152 graduates (128 Core-4); Pickering High School 78 graduates (63 Core-4); Pitkin High School 25 graduates (16 Core-4); Rosepine High School 64 graduates (42 Core-4); Simpson High School 27 graduates (17 Core-4).


    After 25 years of total service, Lieutenant Colonel Ed Williams retired from the US Army in 2011. His career concluded at Fort Polk as the Chief of Staff of JRTC and Ft. Polk and the Installation Command Inspector General.  He is currently employed by Cubic Applications as an instructor at the Joint Readiness Training Center’s Leader Training Program. He is currently the Chairman for the Military Affairs Committee for the Greater Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce a life member of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and has received numerous awards and decorations, including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and five Meritorious Service Medals.