On Jan. 16, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Foundation held its semi-annual reception to award and honor its scholarship recipients.

During the event held at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston, 15 students were awarded more than $15,000 in scholarships for the spring semester.

“We want to congratulate all of our recipients for taking the initiative to change their careers and possibly their lives; we are so proud of their efforts and look forward to seeing them succeed in their chosen programs of study,” said Katrina Powell, the foundation’s executive director. “Of course, none of this would be possible without our generous donors. Their support year after year has been life altering for our students. Thank you to all of the organizations and individual donors for their continued contributions.”

The 2020 scholarship recipients are studying a variety of programs ranging from early childhood education and health care to IT and welding. Though their programs differ, the common theme is that receiving a foundation scholarship impacted their ability to pursue an education.

“We are most grateful to the Foundation for facilitating the scholarship program and so appreciative of all the individuals and organizations that make these scholarships possible,” said Betty Adams, the executive director of the SVHEC. “This ongoing commitment to scholarships is making it possible for southern Virginians to leverage education to improve their lives, which ultimately improves our community and region.”

Lamont Roberts, a Microsoft Scholarship recipient said financial help is a hurdles many nontraditional students face.

“SVHEF, through Microsoft, provided a scholarship to assist me with tuition in my CompTIA Linux+ class relieving the financial burden and worry,” Roberts said. “IT classes, like Linux, provide a bridge to Linux+ Certification, increasing opportunities for higher paying jobs in the IT field and assisting in my career goals. I am grateful for this opportunity”

The foundation awarded the following scholarships:

• The Penick Scholarship was established in 2006 by the Penick family in honor of Virginia Penick. The Penick Scholarship is preferably awarded to students studying education. This year’s recipients are Mary Carmichael and Catrina Anderson.

• The Thomas C. Leggett Leadership Scholarship was established in 2012 by the Southern Virginia Higher Education Foundation in honor of Tommy Leggett. The Leggett scholarship is typically awarded to students who demonstrate leadership or pursue business programs. The scholarship was awarded to DeElla Brand and Mary Winbush.

• The Old Dominion Electric Cooperative Scholarship was established in 2003 with restrictions to Halifax or Charlotte County residents. The recipients are Alyssa Spencer, Muriel Marable-White and Sharonda Claiborne.

• The Southern Virginia Higher Education Foundation Scholarship was created in 2005 by the Foundation itself without any restrictions. The SVHEF scholarship was awarded to Donna Conde, Maisey Mitchell, Teresa Harrison and Edwin Villeda.

• The Microsoft Scholarship was created by Microsoft and is restricted to IT students seeking certification through the SVHEC. The spring semester awardees are Bradley Shores, Clifton Washington, Jerry Medley Jr. and Lamont Roberts.

Scholarships through the foundation are awarded throughout the year. Applicants are encouraged to apply at svhef.org. To be eligible for a foundation scholarship, individuals must attend classes through the SVHEC and apply 30 days prior to the start of classes.

To contribute to the scholarships or open a scholarship in or someone else’s honor/memory, email scholarships@svhef.org for more information.