Minutes after receiving his oversized ceremonial check, handshakes, and encouraging words from Board Chairman Atty. Gerald Groner and Executive Director Hugo V. Hodge Jr., Edwards, the son of Atty. Yvette Ross-Edwards and Percival Edwards smiled broadly. "This really means a lot to me," he said. "They didn't have to choose me, but they did, and I'm very happy about that."
Henneman, the son of Derek Smith and Carolyn Stokes Smith, is the 2012 salutatorian of Charlotte Amalie High School. "This feels amazing," he said. "Not only will this benefit me, and one day, the V.I. Water and Power Authority, but it also takes the financial load off my parents," he said, as several family members stood proudly nearby. Henneman plans to pursue a double major in electrical and computer engineering at the University of South Florida in the fall. He is a member of the National Honor Society, and during his high school years, was a member of the quiz bowl team, student council and the Junior Achievement Program.
The recipients were selected based on their academic achievement, college entrance test scores, financial need, community involvement and the needs of the authority. Once they have completed their studies, awardees must return to fulltime paid employment at WAPA for a minimum of four years. "The authority is proud to support some of the Virgin Islands brightest and best students, and we look forward to what we know will be great contributions when they return," said Groner.
Hodge recognizes the importance of an award of this kind. He said, "The authority uses these scholarships to help prepare young Virgin Islanders for technical careers with the utility." According to Hodge, quite a number of the WAPA's engineering team members are McFarlane scholars. "With their
intellect, technical expertise, forward-thinking, and drive, the authority will continue to successfully reach our strategic milestones for decades to come," Hodge said. Governing Board Planning Committee Chairman and Director of the V.I. Energy Office Karl Knight was recognized as a successful McFarlane Scholar and board member Donald Francois was recognized as instrumental in the establishment of the scholarship when he served as WAPA's director of engineering in the early nineties.
WAPA established the scholarship in 1991, in honor of the late Alva C. McFarlane, who as a member of the authority's governing board was instrumental in its establishment. In the last 20 years, WAPA has awarded close to $2.75 million in financial assistance to students earning degrees in technical fields that are critical to WAPA's operations. After completing their education, these students have returned to the authority not only to fulfill their obligations, but to contribute their knowledge and energy to tackling some of the utility's greatest challenges.