Meet past Ballentine Scholarship Winners: Where are they now?

When I first campaigned to represent our community in the State House, I commented that public service should not be for private gain. While most folks would not begrudge members of the House for receiving a $10,400 salary (and certainly would not consider that “private gain”), I did want to return my salary to worthy causes.

Fortunately, I have been able to continue this every year and will do so again in 2010.

Because I believe education is vital to our future (and because my mother and other family members have education backgrounds and served in classrooms throughout the state), I decided to designate a portion of these funds to be given as scholarships for high school seniors in our community who would be advancing their education in-state.

The five Ballentine Scholarships that are available every year are:

The Bernard Carroll (B.C.) Ballentine Scholarship (USC)
The John Dewey (J.D.) Winburn, Jr. Scholarship (Clemson)
The Margaret Jane Winburn Clarke Scholarship (Winthrop or Columbia College)
The Charles Douglas Ballentine Scholarship (Midlands Tec)
The Theodore Nanney Scholarship (Midlands Tec)

Since 2004, my Scholarship Committee has screened the applicants to determine which finalists would personally interview with me before final recipents were selected. Below are recent Facebook messages I’ve received from a few of these past recipients and I wanted to share them with you.

All recipients were either seniors at Chapin, Dutch Fork, Irmo or homeschooled. Look at what they are doing now!


Zach Brunson – a 2006 recipient (Homeschool Student)

“Hey Nathan, I just got your message and wanted to let you know that I graduated yesterday from USC with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. I am also currently working at SLED as a Operations Desk Specialist. August 13th, 2009 I proposed to Julie Andrews and we are getting married on June 26th, 2010 in Irmo, at our church. As of now I have applied to become a Deputy at Richland Co. Sheriff’s Department and hope to get on with the county soon. I hope you and your family have a MERRY CHRISTMAS and thank you for all you’ve done for me and
everyone who has recieved the scholarship.”

Chelsey Moses – a 2006 recipient (Dutch Fork)

“Hi Mr. Ballentine! Well as you know I just got married. I am working in a hair salon Panache-A Salon in Irmo. We focus on giving back to the community and empowering women. Our salon works with Sistercare as a drop off site and educating them they can get help. I am looking at hopefully taking over the salon within the next 2 years and owning it myself. I am finishing my associate degree up part time starting this summer majoring in education. That’s about it! I just enjoy working out at Golds and spending time with my family. I also spend time with my little Sister in Big Brothers Big Sisters and helping at church!”

Jessica Corley – a 2006 recipient (Dutch Fork)

Rep. Ballentine,

I am currently a senior, special education major at Clemson. I will be student
teaching this last spring semester and will graduate in May. Upon completing my
undergraduate degree, I am hoping to attend graduate school at Clemson. I am
currently applying for a graduate assistantship to study early intervention for
a year. After finishing school, I plan to become a special education teacher
somewhere in the lovely state of South Carolina!

I want to thank you for helping support me in pursuing my dream of
becoming a teacher. I know many of the recipients personally and can say that
you should be confident in knowing you are helping several individuals who will
go on to do great things. I’m truly thankful for people like yourself who care
enough about our community to invest in our futures. I wish you and your family
a Merry Christmas and wish you all the best! God bless!


Kristin Lekoske – a 2007 recipent (Dutch Fork)

Hi!

I just finished up the fall semester of my junior year at Clemson. This past semester, I started doing research in a lab at Clemson studying the proteins involved in homologous recombination. I still have a 4.0 GPA. My sister is a freshmen at Clemson this year majoring in graphic communications. I’ve enjoyed having her at Clemson with me.

Over the semester break I’m working in the cancer genetics lab at USC that I’ve worked at the last two summers. This upcoming spring break I’m going on a missions trip to Eluethera with Clemson Wesley, the United Methodist campus
ministry I’ve been involved with.

Plans for next summer are still up in the air. I might do a month-long study abroad program in Brussels, Belgium but I haven’t decided yet.
I hope you are doing well and I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas!

Chris Campbell – a 2008 recipient (Irmo)

Hello Mr. Ballentine…
Since winning the scholarship, I became the Innagural when of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce’s S Hunter Howard Scholarship,I have garnered about a 3.4 GPA total at USC, I am a Marketing Major with a minor in Chinese, and a desire to practice International Corporate Law. I
interned the past summer at Colonial Life Ins. Co.

I am a member of the Varsity Gamecock Track and Field Team

I was installed as USC Supreme Court Judge (Making final rulings as it pretains to cases passed on to us from Judicial), I was named a member of Youth Corp’s Board of Directors, and a 2nd Year Senior Counselor at Palmetto Boy’s State. I’ve continued my work with the Ronald McDonald House and their Teen Advisory Board.

I played in the 2009 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena California in preperation for the Rose Bowl, our float one ‘Best in Show’

…Thank you once again for your generous donation.**

Michael Hicks – a 2008 recipient (Dutch Fork)

“Hey Mr. Ballentine, i want to say thanks again for representing you and your family when you gave me the scholarship. I am currently in the Air Force, i am leaving for basic jan 19 of next year. I wish to become an offcer in the Air Force one day, that i can have the opportunity to fly into the deep blue sky. I am currenty taking a year off in my studies to focus on the Air Force but as soon i get settled in the Air Force i plan on getting my education. Thanks again for Representing this State. Michael”

Zac Baker – a 2009 recipient (Dutch Fork)

I’m definitely ashamed to say that its been awhile since we last talked, but I feel like I stay updated with your tweets that go to my phone. haha

This semester has definitely been amazing. I have had the opportunity to do things that I have never had the chance to do before. For example, I’m a DJ on the college radio station, 90.5 WUSC FM and HD1 Columbia. I also have a work study with the webmaster in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

By virtue of the work that I produced for this job, I was referred to produce some videos for EdVenture Children’s Museum- one honoring Samuel and Inez Tenenbaum with EdVenture’s “Great Friend to Kids” award and the other video highlighting EdVenture’s Future Leaders middle school program.

I live and am involved in Preston Residential college on Greene street conveniently located in the center of campus. I am planning on applying to be an R.A. next year to offset tuition costs. I’m also involved in two campus ministries right now. One serves as my home church and one is where I go to
small group.

And the best part, amidst all of the fun and activities that I’ve been able to experience, I managed to get all A’s this semester and have a 4.0. I definitely attribute this to the great education I received in the Lexington Richland District 5 and Dutch Fork’s stellar AP program.

I’m at home for Christmas and can’t wait to go back to school on the 11th. I hope you have a fantastic holiday with your family.

Thanks again for all your help,

Graham Temples – a 2009 recipient (Dutch Fork)

“Thank you again. I am still at Clemson and just finished my first semester with a 4.0. I play club Frisbee and have started talking bagpipe lessons again. Hopefully, I will be able to join Upstate United Pipe band in January. I still plan to pursue cancer research through my Biological Sciences/Bioengineering joint major/masters program. Over the summer I was in a summer research program through the Calhoun Honors College entitled EUREKA! I studied the evolution of pore solution within cementious pastes under Dr. Prasad Rangaraju. I hope to continue doing well in school, thank you for the support.”