Upstate high school students compete for $5,000 scholarship

For immediate release


July 20, 2020


Contact: Chase Toler, 803-727-5205, |  Van O’Cain, 803-609-8978,


Upstate high school students compete for $5,000 scholarship

Eight Upstate high school students are competing with students from across South Carolina for a chance at a $5,000 college scholarship in a competition sponsored by the state’s electric cooperatives. All were participants in a virtual experience earlier this summer.


The students were originally selected for a once-in-a-lifetime experience—a trip to Washington, D.C.— in June and/or a trip to Columbia in July, where they would connect with other young men and women to learn about electric cooperatives and state and federal government issues. The COVID-19 outbreak forced the cancellation of both in-person events. However, the students were able to connect virtually June 19-26.


During the experience, the students heard from state leaders including Gov. Henry McMaster, U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman and other state leaders. The students also learned how they could compete for the $5,000 college scholarship by working in teams to create an audio podcast that explains how the COVID-19 crisis has affected their lives.


The eight Upstate students competing for the scholarship include:


  1. Page Holcombe, of Seneca, representing Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative
  2. Daniel Watson, of Pickens, representing Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative
  3. Neleah Clough, of Taylors, representing Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative
  4. Karlyn Esuary, of Liberty, representing Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative
  5. Brianna Parris, of Gaffney, representing Broad River Electric Cooperative
  6. James Goff, of Chesnee, representing Broad River Electric Cooperative
  7. JK Marlett, of Laurens, representing Laurens Electric Cooperative
  8. Keri Lawson, of Clinton, representing Newberry Electric Cooperative


Laurens Electric’s student representative JK Marlett and her group’s podcast can be accessed at—Group-15-eh2268/a-a2ol44q.


The winning group of student podcast producers will be chosen by a panel of journalists, including Craig Melvin of NBC’s TODAY show, Kenneth Moton from ABC’s World News Now and Cindi Scoppe and Avery Wilks from The Post and Courier newspaper. Each participant in the winning group will be awarded a $5,000 scholarship.


The winner announcement will take place during a live WebEx event on Friday, July 31, at 10 a.m. Interested media can join the live event here:

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