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UPDATED with photo – HWE recognizes area scholarship winners

On March 24, prior to its regular board meeting, the Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees recognized its 2015 scholarship winners in a special ceremony at the cooperative headquarters.

The first place winners are Olivia Velasquez, Pandora-Gilboa High School and Rasheed Ajala, Findlay High School. Olivia has narrowed her higher education choices down to The University of Notre Dame and The University of Chicago. She plans to major in biology and minor in Spanish to pursue a career as a bi-lingual medical provider. Rasheed plans to attend Cornell University and major in a pre-medical program. Both students will go on to compete at the statewide scholastic competition at Ohio Rural Electric Cooperatives (OREC) in Columbus.

In second place is Ryan Aufdencamp, Elmwood High School. Ryan plans to attend The Ohio State University (OSU) and major in aerospace engineering. The third place winner is Emily Kreinbrink, Leipsic High School. Emily plans to attend OSU, majoring in food science. Abbigail Dauterman earned fourth place and attends Arcadia High School. Fifth place winner is Michael Roche, Findlay High School. Michael also plans to attend OSU. The sixth place winner is Allison Fink, Ohio Virtual Academy. Allison will pursue her studies at Tiffin University.

The statewide cooperative also offers scholarships to the children of employees of Ohio’s 25 electric cooperatives; winners were announced at OREC on March 3. Breana Hovest of Ottawa took top honors in the 2015 Ohio Line Supervisors Association Scholarship competition and was awarded a $1,500 scholarship. Breana is a senior at Pandora-Gilboa High School and is the daughter of Chris Hovest and Jerry Hovest. Her mother is a financial and administrative supervisor at Hancock-Wood. Jacob Pelton of North Baltimore took highest honors in the Louise Freeland Scholarship Awards. Jacob received $2,700 toward his higher education. Jacob is a North Baltimore High School senior and the son of Jim and Mary Casey, a lineman and an accounting assistant, respectively, both employed at Hancock-Wood, and Kirk Pelton. A panel of independent judges decides the finalists.

In addition, two high school juniors won a trip to Washington, D.C., as part of the co-op’s annual Youth Tour program. Winners were Kelleigh Beatty, Gibsonburg High School, and Taylor Werner, VanLue Local High School.

Applications were screened by the scholarship committee for academic achievement including grade point average (GPA), ACT/SAT college test scores, presentation and the variety and quality of extracurricular and community activities.

Scholarship award amounts were increased this past year so that no student won less than $1,000. The Board of Trustees Program Committee proposed this new standard for 2015 and the full board adopted it last winter.  Trustees include Chairman Ed Crawford, Vice Chair Tom Kagy, Secretary/Treasurer Tom Dierksheide, Assistant Secretary/Treasurer Marlene Barker, and David Corbin, James Demler, John Edie, Steve Gerten, William Kale and Knut Lahrs.

Hancock-Wood operates on seven cooperative principles, including concern for community and education, training and information, which best support the rationale behind offering these younger member programs.

Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative, established April 20, 1938, serves portions of Hancock, Wood, Allen, Erie, Hardin, Henry, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca and Wyandot counties and remains dedicated to its commitment to the communities it serves. For more information about Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative, visit or call 800-445-4840.

HWE scholarships 2015from left, top row, Robyn Mercer, Trustees Marlene Barker, Knut Lahrs, William Kale, David Corbin, John Edie, Ed Crawford, James Demler, Tom Dierksheide and President and CEO George Walton; front row, scholarship winners Ryan Aufdencamp, Jacob Pelton, Michael Roche, Rasheed Ajala, Breana Hovest, Olivia Velasquez, Emily Kreinbrink, Allison Fink and Kelleigh Beatty. Not pictured are: Abbigail Dauterman and Taylor Werner.

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