This year, scholarships from two housing agencies have been presented to 18 graduating high school seniors, five graduating high school senior children of agency staff members, and ten to heads-of-household.
Ebonee Whitley, a high school senior sponsored by the Leesville Housing Authority, was awarded a $750 scholarship from Southwest National Association Housing & Redevelopment Officials (SWNAHRO) and $5000 from the Louisiana Housing Council of National Association Housing & Redevelopment Officials (LANAHRO). Whitley received the largest scholarship in the state of Louisiana.
The scholarship application process is a competitive one. Selections are based on academic achievement, extracurricular activities, community service, and an essay assignment.
“They are looking for someone who is going to give back to the community,” said Barbara Kaveski, Executive Director, Housing Authority Town of Leesville. “Ebonee volunteered within the housing authority; she was always mentoring to our youth.”
Even before Whitley was old enough to work she sought out volunteer opportunities. “She would come to my office and ask if there was any work she could do,” said Kaveski. “I knew there was something special about this girl.”
Since its inception in 1989, SWNAHRO the has awarded over $300,000 in scholarships. LANAHRO has awarded over $312,350 in scholarships since its start in 1988. Whitley is the second scholarship winner from the Leesville area since 2000. “It’s not an entitlement, it’s something you literally earned, and worked really hard to get it,” said Kaveski.
SWNAHRO covers seven states and LANAHRO covers all of Louisiana. These organizations consist of Housing Authorities, Section 8 Agencies, and Community Development Agencies.