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College scholarships available through LPEA

By Indiana Reed
Special to The SUN

To assist high school seniors and their parents with the application process for college scholarships available through La Plata Electric Association (LPEA), the cooperative will host a special open house, Thursday, Jan. 24, 5:30-7 p.m. at LPEA’s Bodo Park headquarters (45 Stewart St., Durango).

LPEA staff members will be on hand to answer any questions. Copies of all applications will be available, and no R.S.V.P. is required.

All high school seniors in Archuleta and La Plata counties, including home school students, who receive their electricity from LPEA, are eligible to apply for the variety of funding opportunities. Deadline for application is March 1, 2013. Attendance at the Open House is not a requirement of application.

LPEA directly offers the LPEA Scholarship (four-year) and LPEA/John Voelker Memorial Scholarship (two-year), per LPEA Board of Directors Policy No. 416, plus provides for additional affiliated rural electric scholarships/awards offered by Tri-State Generation and Transmission and Basin Electric Power Cooperative.

Specifically, LPEA will award two, four-year scholarships (140 credit hours) for students attending any college or university beginning with the 2013-2014 academic year. LPEA will cover tuition, books and fees, up to $20,000 over four years, given that the students maintain minimum qualifications.

The LPEA/John Voelker Memorial Scholarship recognizes two students attending accredited vocational schools, technical schools or junior college. This two-year scholarship covers fees, books, tools and supplies up to $6,000 over two years per student.

Funds for the LPEA and LPEA/John Voelker Memorial Scholarships come from LPEA’s unclaimed Capital Credits. Each year, LPEA endeavors to find “missing” members who are due a share of retired Capital Credits. Those funds unable to be returned to members are then put back into the community — in this case, into college scholarships.

LPEA endeavors to train and educate local young people for positions they may ultimately secure at a rural electric cooperative, though this is not a requirement of the scholarship. Rural electric cooperatives are known nationally to provide stable employment, livable wages and solid benefit packages. LPEA is no exception and, with more than 100 employees, exists as one of the more significant employers in the region.

Former scholarship recipients currently employed at LPEA include Pagosa High School graduates Jake Wills, hired as an LPEA Staff Engineer following graduation from Colorado State University (CSU) in 2004, and Mindy Farrow Potter, coming to LPEA as an Engineering IT Specialist following her 1997 FLC graduation with a degree in computer science.

In 2012, scholarship recipients were Bayfield High School graduate Jade Gutierrez and Pagosa Springs High School graduate Silas Thompson, the LPEA Scholarship; Ignacio High School graduate Brittney Benavidez and Durango High School graduate Daniel Rowley, LPEA/John Voelker Memorial Scholarship; Durango High School graduate Amanda McAliney, $1,000 Basin Electric Power Cooperative Scholarship; Durango High School graduate Amanda Urban and Pagosa Springs High School graduate Ryley Gardner, $500 scholarships from Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association.

For further information and to download applications, visit www.lpea.coop or contact Jeannie Bennett at 382-3505, or jbennett@lpea.coop.

This story was posted on January 10, 2013.