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Pee Dee teen wins $5,000 scholarship

Eden Wallace, 17, of Darlington, is the recipient of the 2017 R.D. Bennett Community Service Scholarship presented by The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Inc., the trade association for South Carolina’s independent, not-for profit electric cooperatives. The $5,000 college scholarship is presented to a student who completes a community service project that best exemplifies the cooperative principle of “concern for community.”

Wallace was among 10 high school students from across South Carolina who completed projects this summer as part of the co-ops’ annual Washington Youth Tour program, which sends rising high school seniors to the nation’s capital for a week of learning about co-ops and government. Wallace and three other local students were chosen by Pee Dee Electric Cooperative to attend the Youth Tour in June with a total of 74 students from around South Carolina.

In mid-August, a panel of judges selected Wallace’s community service project, “Backpacks for Guardian Ad Litem,” as the winner in the $5,000 scholarship competition. As part of her project, Wallace raised money, collected donated items and purchased backpacks to help children living in foster care in the Pee Dee. 

“This project has benefitted the foster children in my community who are often overlooked,” said Wallace. “It has provided them basic school supplies and personal items that they, otherwise, may have lacked. The most rewarding part of this project was knowing that I was going to make a difference in local children’s lives.”

“The judges were impressed with the amount of work Eden put into her project in just a few short months,” said Van O’Cain, director of public and member relations with The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. “Eden’s efforts embody what our scholarship program is all about—showing leadership while helping out in her community.” 

Wallace, a senior at Trinity-Byrnes Collegiate School in Darlington, is the daughter of Art and Marilyn Wallace.

The R.D. Bennett Community Service Scholarship is named for Robert D. Bennett, the first general manager and executive vice president of The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Inc. Bennett, who led the state association from 1950 until his retirement in 1980, strongly believed that electric cooperatives should support their local communities—providing a better quality of life for their members. His spirit of community service is reflected in this scholarship opportunity.

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