AVA awards annual scholarships

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Jack Spriggs

The Ascension Veterans Associations (AVA) is proud to announce that we have awarded seven scholarships of $1000 each for the 2017-18 school year. Based on the number and level of applications this year, the AVA awarded five scholarships to recent high school graduates and two college students. The following students are this year’s recipients:

Tamiko Terraz Stroudgraduated this year from Donaldsonville High School with a 4.2 GPA. In addition, Stroud was also enrolled in the Early College Option program at River Parishes Community College taking college courses along with required high school courses. She plans to attend Southern University and hopes to eventually receive a Juris Doctorate to become an attorney. Stroud's family has a varied history of military service, on her paternal and maternal side of the families to include an aunt currently serving in the Arizona National Guard.

Kamryn Elisabeth Robinsongraduated from Dutchtown High School with a 4.6 GPA. Robinson was a member of several organizations to include the Griffins Dance Team, Interact Club, Beta Club, and National Honor Society. Her community activities included working with Camp Shriver, Azalea Estates and Gaitway Therapeutic Horsemanship assisting individuals with special needs. This experience led her to plan to attend LSU to study Biology/Pre-Med with a goal of becoming a Pediatrician. Her father is a member of the United States Army and served in Iraq.

Nicholas Ryan Tarvergraduated from East Ascension High School with a GPA of 3.67. He was a member of the Spartan football team, Track & Field, and the National Honor Society. Tarver will be attending Southeastern Louisiana University in the fall. He is not yet sure about his major but is looking at Business, Engineering, or Physics. Nicholas’ grandfather is a retired Gunnery Sergeant in the USMC who also served in Vietnam receiving a Purple Heart. He also has a military connection with uncles and two of his aunts who also served. His parents were members of JROTC and his father was also a member of the Corps at A&M.

Jillian Marie Parks graduated from St. Amant High School with a GPA of 4.54. She also graduated from River Parishes Community College as one of the first individuals to complete all four years of the Early College Option taking college level courses along with her high school requirements. She was a member of the Cross Country, Soccer, Tennis, and Pole Vaulting teams at St. Amant High. She served as an officer in the Interact and Beta clubs and volunteered many hours with her church and community. Her paternal grandfather is a veteran of World War II. She will be attending Southeastern LA University this fall to study Pre-Med Biology and Neuroscience with goal of becoming a Neonatologist Pediatrician. 

Austin Kade Reich graduated from Dutchtown High School with a GPA of 3.47. Reich is currently attending military training as a member of the Louisiana Army National Guard; Company B, 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry as an Infantryman. His father served for 20 years in the Army and National Guard and was awarded a Bronze Star while deployed to Iraq. He played on the Griffins football, soccer, and track teams and is an active member of his church and volunteers throughout his community. He plans to attend Louisiana State University majoring in Environmental Engineering. Though a recent high school graduate, because of his current military status, he was awarded the Military Service Scholarship.

Kole Gavin Guerin is attending Southeastern Louisiana University majoring in History. He has a 3.8 GPA and is a member of several honor societies, most notably the President’s List, International Dean’s List Society, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. In his Freshman year at Southeastern, he also participated in the Intramural Flag Football league. He has achieved a black belt in martial arts and maintains a part time job on top of his college schedule. Guerin continues to be active in the community and his church mentoring and coaching young boys and girls. He has served on mission trips to China and Africa broadening his life experiences. Guerin has a military connection through his step grandfather who served in the Army from 1955 to 1958 as a Medical Specialist.

Jack Michael Spriggs is attending LSU majoring in Business Management with a GPA of 2.993. As one of our High School Scholarship recipients last year, Jack showed an impeccable pedigree based on his educational, extracurricular, and community activities. After receiving many honors as an NJROTC at Dutchtown High School, he has continued that as a member of the LSU’s Air Force ROTC. He has received accolades from the AFROTC Program as a freshman and from the Executive Director of Cadets of the Ole War Skule for his peer leadership and involvement of LSU’s military and veteran programs. Jack was also honored with the AMVETS ROTC Recognition Award for 2017.His ROTC experience has led him to the goal of becoming a Logistics Officer in the Air Force after graduation. Jack credits his desire to serve in the military to the service of his grandfather and father. His grandfather served during the Vietnam War as an Air Force Colonel. His father served in the Army National Guard achieving the rank of Sergeant.

The AVA provides assistance and support to Ascension Parish veterans and their families. Care packages and other support is also available to Ascension Parish residents currently serving on active duty in the military The AVA membership is open to anyone who has a desire to support our local veterans, their families, and service members. There are no memberships dues and there is no requirement to be a veteran or a dependent of a veteran. The AVA has several projects throughout the year and welcomes anyone who would like to assist in one or all of these projects.