Members of the Oklahoma Veterans Council, which awards scholarships annually to state veterans or family members of veterans, were shocked this year when all three recipients happened to be students at East Central University.
“We had 47 applicants and three winners. All three were from ECU,” said Scott Ellis, secretary of the Oklahoma Veterans Council and government relations director of the Mid-America Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America. “That says a lot about the quality of students at ECU. We grade on points, up to 100. Two of these students scored 100 and one scored 99. We were shocked.”
Two of the students, Stephanie French, a junior from Ardmore, and Glenn Ronning, a senior from Ada, are veterans. The third recipient, freshman Kayla Vassar of Fort Worth, Texas, is the daughter of a veteran. Each received a $500 scholarship.
Vassar also received a $1,250 scholarship from the Mid-America Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, presented by its president, Bill Kokendoffer. Also participating in that presentation was Laura Ellington, national vice president of the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Vassar also was one of two students who received $500 Textbook Scholarships from Ada’s American Legion Post 72 and the Collegiate Veterans Association at ECU. She was the non-veteran recipient and Tammy Kercheval an Ada senior, was the veteran recipient.
Vassar is the daughter of Alvin Vassar of Fort Worth who served in the U.S. Army and Air Force. When he was struck by lightning while working at DFW Airport last year, he was hospitalized and cared for by a nurse who really impressed him, his daughter said. The nurse turned out to be a graduate of ECU’s nursing program.
Kayla Vassar, who finished high school a year early, had a $2,000 scholarship to another school but did not want to go there, she said. She and her father began looking into ECU, because of the ECU nurse. During a visit to the campus they talked with Jill Williamson, a counselor in the Veterans Upward Bound office, and learned about the three scholarships she later received.