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Help for higher education

Student workers at Eagle’s Trace awarded collegiate scholarships

Created date

September 24th, 2013

Seven students from the Houston area began their collegiate careers last month with a little extra funding, thanks to the scholarship program at Eagle s Trace. Adam Aitbouchireb, Shannon Burleigh, Philip Morgan, Jessica Osuagwu, Wendy Saldana, Dulce Tello, and Kelly Waller are recent high school graduates employed in the dining services department at the West Houston community. The seven student workers were each awarded $1,000 per semester, up to a total award of $8,000, paid directly to their chosen accredited higher education program. Each year, the scholarship committee accepts applications from student workers in our dining services department, says Shae Mukadam, director of dining services at Eagle s Trace. This year, we were pleased to recognize these seven outstanding young people at an awards ceremony in August.

Investing in the future

To be eligible for a scholarship, a student must work at Eagle s Trace for at least 1,000 hours over a two-year period. Additionally, the student must maintain a 2.5 grade point average and be in good standing with his or her supervisor. The application requires a personal essay and letters of recommendation. After we receive the applications, the scholarship committee schedules an interview with each applicant, says Bob Houston, one of the residents on the scholarship committee and a professor emeritus of curriculum and instruction at the University of Houston. As residents, we have watched these students grow and mature. We want to invest in their future.


Scholarships are resident-funded during an annual fundraising drive. So far this year, Eagle s Trace residents have donated more than $30,000 to the scholarship fund. In the seven years since the fund was established, Eagle s Trace residents have awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships to student employees. The cost of higher education has climbed significantly over the past few years, says Bob. We want to do all we can to help these young people succeed. The atmosphere at the awards ceremony was celebratory, as the four residents and two staff members on the scholarship committee presented the students with certificates and offered encouraging words. Becoming an Eagle s Trace scholarship recipient requires dedication to Erickson Living values, hard work, good scholarship, and a determination to pursue higher education, says Executive Director Ben Cornthwaite, one of the staff members on the scholarship committee. Debby Cate, a resident and retired high school principal who s serving on the scholarship committee for the first time, spoke about the special relationship that develops between residents and the student employees. They are like our grandchildren, she says. They keep us young at heart.

Training ground

Scholarship recipient Jennifer Osuagwu is a recent graduate of Alief Elsik High School. She plans to study nursing at Texas State University. I ve learned so much from working at Eagle s Trace, says Osuagwu. This was my first job. It s taught me how to work at a fast pace, but it s also taught me to be patient when I need to be.