The Louisiana Sheriff's Scholarship Program awards scholarships through the Louisiana Sheriff's Honorary Membership Program, and the Dawn Shivers Memorial Scholarship fund helps students fund their education in memory of a retired employee at APSO.

Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley announced the department is accepting applications for two different scholarship programs available to students within the parish. The Louisiana Sheriff's Scholarship Program awards scholarships through the Louisiana Sheriff's Honorary Membership Program, and the Dawn Shivers Memorial Scholarship fund helps students fund their education in memory of a retired employee at APSO.

The Louisiana Sheriff's Scholarship Program awards scholarships to worthy Louisiana students in furthering their education and training. Scholarships are a maximum of $500 each, and there are no restrictions on how the dollars are spent on a student's education. The funds are made available through the Louisiana Sheriff's Honorary Membership Program and are handed out to graduating high school seniors in parishes where the Sheriff is an affiliate of the Honorary Membership Program.

According to Program Chair, St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne, “This Scholarship Program is a meaningful expression of the Program’s respect for education. It demonstrates our confidence in Louisiana’s youth…our future leaders.”

The scholarships are awarded as gifts and do not have to be repaid. The program seeks to defray the rising costs of tuition and higher education expenses in the state. The only limitations are that applicants be permanent Louisiana residents enrolled as full-time undergraduates at a Louisiana school.

“Louisiana sheriffs are pleased with the program’s ability to bring scholarships to Louisiana students bound for higher education. To continue to do so, and fund other important projects and initiatives, continued support of the honorary membership program is essential,” said Sheriff Wiley.

Completed applications for the Louisiana Sheriff's Scholarship Program must be submitted to the Sheriff's Office by April 2.

Another scholarship offered by APSO is the Dawn Shivers Memorial Scholarship. The program honors the memory of Dawn Shivers, a retired APSO employee who passed away in May 2013 after fighting a long battle with cancer. Shivers was diagnosed with bone cancer in August 2009. This is the second year for the fund.

Shivers always had an encouraging word for those she came in contact with. She had a strong faith in God and was loyal to her church, family, and the Sheriff's Office. While many knew of her battle with cancer, her attitude was always positive and upbeat nonetheless. Her spirit and service to her family, workplace, church, and community was her own personal ministry of help and excellence.

The purpose of the Dawn Shivers Memorial Scholarship fund is to honor her sweet spirit and continue her legacy as a vessel through Christ, and to also encourage others who may be fighting the same cancer battles to keep pushing and stay strong, added Sheriff Wiley.

Shivers began her career with APSO in 1998 as a correctional office at the Ascension Parish Jail, where she transported inmates and worked as a correctional officer for over ten years. In 2011, Shivers joined the Inmate Programs Division at the jail to support the instructors and tutor students in the GED/Literacy program. She was dedicated to the program, and her interactions with the inmates were encouraging and positive. Shivers believed that education and other rehabilitation efforts could help inmates while they are incarcerated and after they are released.

The Dawn Shivers Memorial scholarship will continue to honor one of Ascension Parish's finest.

Applications for both scholarship programs are being provided to area high schools and can also be found at the Sheriff's Office in both Donaldsonville and Gonzales. Online applications can be found at ascensionsheriff.com under the press release tab.

Follow Halen on Twitter: @LikeVanHalen