Van Buren High School seniors Trevor Burns and Saylor Wilkinson have each been awarded $1,000 scholarships by the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce Education Committee.
The two students were announced as the recipients Tuesday evening during the Van Buren High School Scholarship Night.
Son of Edwin and Valerie Burns, Trevor Burns will graduate later this month with high honors. He was recognized in April as part of this year’s class of Arkansas Scholars.
In addition to his academic achievements, Burns is an award winner for Rotary Youth Leadership, is a member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. He volunteers with Lowe’s Heroes program and has built and currently maintains a food pantry on Pointer Trail. A four-year varsity football player with the Pointers, Burns plans to attend Arkansas Tech University to pursue a degree in Education and wishes to return to the River Valley as a high school history teacher and football coach.
“I hope to coach and teach because I am passionate about both football and American history,” explained Burns. “With a degree in Education, I can work here and continue to help others.”
Daughter of Lee and Shanda Wilkinson, Saylor Wilkinson has been forced to understand struggle at an early age. Diagnosed with cancer in 2015, Wilkinson worked hard to maintain an excellent grade point average (GPA) while missing more than half her sophomore and junior years at VBHS due to treatments. During her time in school, she has been a member of National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and Beta Club. Her goal is to become a pediatric oncology nurse and will be pursuing her education in nursing at The University of Tulsa.
“After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I plan to attend graduate school to get my Advance Practice Registered Nursing license” noted Wilkinson. “I plan to stay in Arkansas, hopefully in the Northwest Arkansas area, to work at Arkansas Children’s Hospital Northwest in the pediatric oncology unit to help children going through the same struggles I have gone through.”
Chamber Education Committee member Tonia Fry said, “The Chamber Education Committee is ecstatic to award two scholarships for the second year in a row. The quality of applicants this year exceeded our expectations and provided a bright look into the future of these graduates.”
The two students were among many VBHS seniors to apply for the scholarships. To be eligible for the Chamber scholarship a student must be a senior at Van Buren High School with a minimum GPA of 2.75. The recipient must also enroll in a four-year institution, a two-year community college or trade school.
The scholarship program is an initiative of the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce’s Education Committee, which promotes academic excellence, post-secondary education and job skills among local students. In addition to the scholarship, the Chamber Education Committee sponsors the Arkansas Scholars program and the High School Business Lunches, which connect local businesses and community leaders with VBHS students.
“The youth in our community represent the next generation of leaders and workforce,” said Chamber Education Committee co-chairman Joseph Lyon. “The Chamber is proud to support the development of these leaders through our scholarship program and higher education. We are very excited to have such a great group apply and look forward to the future success of our scholarship winners and their fellow graduates.”