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Ozarka Brand Natural Spring Water Awards $25,000 in scholarships to four Texas students

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Ozarka® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water, a part of the Nestlé Waters North America family, has awarded two $10,000 scholarships and two $2,500 scholarships to four Texas students pursuing careers in environmental/earth sciences for the 2020-2021 school year.

Ozarka established the “Every Drop Counts” Earth Science Scholarship Program in 2002, upon the opening of its bottling facility in Hawkins, Texas. Each year the company awards two annual $10,000 scholarships to qualified Texas students who wish to major in hydrogeology, or any other Environmental/Earth Science that focuses on water conservation and preservation at a four-year college or university. One award is statewide, and the second is designated to a Texas State University student.

In addition, the company provides two 2,500 scholarships to students from the East Texas independent school districts where Ozarka has operations. The Wood County high school awards are given each year to two outstanding students graduating from Hawkins and Harmony High Schools who are pursuing degrees and careers in earth and/or environmental sciences. 

“Ozarka is committed to environmental leadership and innovation and we believe that environmental education is critically important for the future,” said Ozarka Natural Resource Manager Trey Mixon. “This scholarship fund was created to help achieve the goal of preserving and protecting our natural environment through the leadership and creativity of promising young students such as the ones we’ve selected this year. Their interests and pursuits of careers in the earth sciences matches those of many of our own employees, whose daily jobs are to manage and maintain the health of our water resources and the surrounding lands that support our springs. We are very pleased to help these students fund their college educations.”

The statewide student winners selected this year include a bio-agricultural engineering major and a wildlife ecology major who is pursuing the study of aquatic ecosystems in Central Texas.

Alexandra Thompson from Sugar Land, the winner of the statewide $10,000 award, is pursuing a Biological/Agricultural Engineering degree at Texas A&M University this fall. “It means so much to me that companies such as Ozarka are dedicated to the futures of students like me,” said Ms. Thompson. “This scholarship will help fund my journey to Texas A&M University, where I will study to become an agricultural engineer. I hope to one day bridge the gap between agriculturalism and environmentalism to benefit both the Earth and our society.”

In continued partnership with The Meadows Center for Water & Environment, the second $10,000 scholarship was awarded to Matthew Stehle, a Wildlife Ecology graduate studies major, from Texas State University.

“I am honored and very pleased to be the recipient of Ozarka’s 2020 “Every Drop Counts” scholarship,” said Mr. Stehle. “These funds will be extremely helpful in continuing my graduate studies and focusing on my research in local spring species as well as the ecosystem dynamics of spring systems. Through my research, I hope to aid in conservation of our endangered species and to elucidate the individual effects of certain ecosystem drivers using model systems.” 

The winners of the two $2,500 awards were given to Macey Russell from Harmony High School and Zach Willard from Hawkins High School, near where Ozarka operates a bottling facility.

Senior Macey Russell won the $2,500 award for Harmony High School and is pursuing her degree at Harding University. “Thank you so much for giving me this scholarship,” said Ms. Russell. “This will assist me in pursuing my degree in Secondary Education at Harding University. I want to inspire teens with my story through teaching and coaching. I want them to know how much they are loved and how much potential they have. This money will help me do that.”

Hawkins High School senior and second $2,500 winner Zach Willard plans to pursue a career in engineering at Texas A&M Commerce.

“It is truly a blessing to have companies and organizations like Ozarka in the community who recognize the value of supporting our students’ future endeavors,” said Tammy Bearden, Harmony High School College Counselor. “Education truly is the key to a brighter future for our students. The scholarships that are awarded help our students reach their post-secondary goals when sometimes it wouldn’t be possible otherwise. The scholarship from Ozarka has helped Harmony students for the past 19 years to take that first step towards making their dreams a reality.”

Students interested in pursuing next year’s “Every Drop Counts” Scholarship awards are encouraged to contact their high school counselor or college advisor regarding scholarship rules and guidelines. Next year’s winners will be selected in summer 2021.

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