Vector Community Scholars Fund Awards $80,000 to Local Students

(l to r) VWS Managing Partner Jay Dryden – scholarship winners Jeremiah McDow, Trinity Threatt, Emma Colavita, Anna Grider, Javon Jennings, Noah Gurley, Lauren Hoffarth-VWS Senior Partner Kelly Moise.

This is our fifth year awarding these scholarships, and this is one of my favorite things that I get to do. This year our first scholarship winners are about to graduate.

Eight local high school seniors were each awarded a $10,000 scholarship during the annual Vector Wealth Strategies Community Scholars Fund Scholarship Banquet Tuesday, May 10 at The Ledges in Huntsville.

This year’s scholarship recipients are Aparna Bhooshanan, Emma Colavita, Anna Grider, Noah Gurley, Lauren Hoffarth, Javon Jennings, Jeremiah McDow and Trinity Threatt.

“This is our fifth year awarding these scholarships, and this is one of my favorite things that I get to do,” VWS Senior Partner, Kelly Moise, said. “This year our first scholarship winners are about to graduate.”

The Vector Community Scholars Fund was established in 2017 and has nearly tripled in the number of recipients and had a record number of applicants in 2022. Vector’s annual Casino Night raises funds, which are matched by the firm and generous Vector clients. Half the scholarships are awarded to students whose parents or grandparents work in the local defense industry, while the other half provides scholarships for students who are heading to college as a result of the CAP & GOWN Project. The C&G Project focuses on making college a reality for underrepresented kids attending high school in Madison County.

“It’s so difficult to select the winners (because) there are so many outstanding applicants,” VWS Scholarship Committee Chairperson Diana Hansen said. During the banquet, Hansen encouraged scholarship winners to “surround themselves with like-minded people” and to not use failure as an excuse to not pursue their dreams. “You can accomplish anything you want to accomplish in life. Find the path that fits you.”

Each of the winners shared their college plans and expressed their gratitude during the banquet. Bhooshanan, a graduate of Bob Jones High School, will attend the University of Alabama in Huntsville and major in computer science. Colavita, a graduate of New Century Technology High School, will attend the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa and major in neuroscience. A homeschool graduate, Jennings will be attending the University of Rhode Island and majoring in computer science/digital forensics. Grider, a graduate of Bob Jones High School, will attend Auburn University and plans to study genetics. “I’m going to be a great investment and put my best foot forward,” Grider said. “Thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity, and I’m forever grateful.”

Gurley, a graduate of Huntsville High School, will study computer science at Auburn University. Hoffarth, a graduate of Grissom High School, will study speech pathology at the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa. A graduate of New Century Technology High School, Threatt plans to study mechanical engineering at Purdue University. McDow, a graduate of New Century Technology High, will study communications at Alabama A&M University.

Executive Director of CAP & Gown Emily Heller praised the students’ perseverance for focusing on academic excellence while learning online during COVID-19 restrictions. “They chose to rise, meet the challenge and put their success ahead of all of the things that came before them,” Heller said. “By investing in them, we’re investing in our community, our future and the future looks pretty bright. I can’t wait to see what the students are going to do.”

VWS Managing Partner, Jay Dryden, said the scholarship fund is a reflection of the company’s mission to work hard, play hard and be generous. “We’re so proud to get to be a part of the stories being written here,” he said. “The scholarship committee does a good job of identifying future talent, and we’re grateful to be in partnership with CAP & GOWN, Vector’s clients and friends who support the fund.”

Vector Wealth Strategies is committed to serving our community through leadership development. Vector strives to build up the leaders of tomorrow and replace ourselves over time with the philanthropic funders of the future. To learn more about Vector Wealth Strategies and the Community Scholars Fund, visit vectorwealthstrategies.com/community-scholars-fund/ or call 256-469-7711. For more information on The CAP & GOWN Project, visit capandgownproject.org.

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