SMECO has awarded four scholarships for 2023 to high school seniors who live in the cooperative’s service area. Recipients receive awards based on scholastic achievement, financial need, and school and community involvement. SMECO has awarded scholarships to 124 students in the 31 years since beginning the program in 1993. Each of the following students will receive a $2,500 college scholarship: Zoe McCall, Lauren McNair, Ivy Phillips, and William Spruill.
Zoe McCall is a graduate of the Academy of Health Sciences at Prince George’s Community College. She plans to attend Xavier University of Louisiana to study biology and psychology. For four years, she was a student member of the Prince George’s County Board of Education’s Advisory Council, and served two years as Chief of Staff. She was also a member of the county’s Regional Association of Student Governments, and was lead organizer of the countywide Student Mental Health Forum for three years. She was also inducted into the National Honor Society. During her freshman year of high school, McCall testified to the board of education on the importance of financial literacy. Her involvement led to the board making personal finance a required high-school course in Prince George’s County, as well as McCall appearing on CNBC. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she founded the Optimism Lab and produced a podcast dealing with issues affecting teenagers. While working part time in a salon and spa, she developed a spa package that aims to boost self-esteem and positive image for girls. McCall is the child of Meghan Thornton of Brandywine.
Lauren McNair graduated from St. Mary’s Ryken High School in St. Mary’s County. She plans to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C., with the goal of becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon. During high school, she was on the President’s List for all four years, she was inducted into the National Honor Society and Science National Honor Society, and she was varsity cheer captain for two years. She received several Principal’s Awards at her school, as well as awards from Ivy and Pearls of Southern Maryland Community Charities. She also organized a Black Student Union at St. Mary’s Ryken and served as vice president. McNair founded the nonprofit Tots-to-Teens Expo, an annual event to help children from underserved communities access educational and health resources. She helped the residents of Charlotte Hall Veterans Home through organizing donation drives for hygiene products and collecting handwritten notes for the veterans from other students. To further her career goal in medicine, she interned at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital. McNair is the child of Romaine McNair of Waldorf.
Ivy Phillips graduated from La Plata High School in Charles County. She plans to study business analytics at University of Maryland College Park. She served in her school’s student government association and was inducted into the National Honor Society and the National World Language and English honors societies. During her senior year, she captained La Plata’s varsity cross-country team. In her community, Phillips participated in 4-H for many years, serving as teen leader for Charles County’s 4-H camps and as president of the Hot Shots 4-H Club and vice president of the Key Club. She was Grand Champion at the Charles County Fair for gardening, food preservation, sewing, and flowers. At St. Ignatius-Chapel Point Church, she sings in the choir and supports community projects. Phillips’ parents are Samuel Phillips and Holly Dunbar and Gary French (stepfather) of Newburg.
William Spruill graduated from Oxon Hill High School in Prince George’s County. He plans to pursue an electrical engineering degree at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Awards he received in high school included the National Hispanic Recognition, Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction, National Society of High School Scholars, and the principal’s honor roll. A competitive swimmer since age 8, he captained Oxon Hill’s varsity swim team during his junior and senior years and was also offensive team captain for the varsity lacrosse team, helping both to win county championships. His research project for Oxon Hill’s science and technology program included sun-tracking technology for solar panels. Spruill is a longtime member of Boy Scouts of America, serving as senior patrol leader, receiving the Ed Mudd Scout Spirit Award, and ultimately achieving the rank of Life Scout. He is the child of Michael and Lorenza Spruill of Accokeek.