The GFWC Brandon Service League awarded two Education Scholarships this year to two deserving graduates from Durant High School, Carley Oliver and Benjamin Atkins.

Like every other organization, the GFWC Brandon Service League has had to adjust to the new normal of operating in a pandemic. This year, the GFWC Brandon Service League awarded two scholarships in an informal but still celebratory manner.

Each year, it offers two $1,000 scholarships to two deserving high school students who want to pursue a degree in education or the arts.

This year’s recipients both graduated from Durant High School.

“We were unable to hold the spring luncheon which would allow the students and their parents to celebrate their accomplishments with the entire organization, so we went with plan B. Both students live close to each other, so they decided to come and celebrate at my home,” explained Judy Darsey, scholarship chair.

The recipients are Carley Oliver and Benjamin Atkins.

Oliver will attend the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus this fall and work on her degree in elementary education. She worked with Durant’s ‘Little Cougars’ Preschool program for three years.

According to Darsey, “This really helped her know for certain that this was the career she wanted.”

She also volunteered at Valrico Elementary School and had a part-time job at the YMCA.

Atkins will attend Hillsborough Community College this fall, where he anticipates becoming more involved with the agriculture community. After earning his Associate in Science degree, he plans to transfer to either the University of Florida or Georgia Southern University and obtain an education degree in agriculture.

Atkins will be the fifth generation of cattle ranchers in his family. He also comes from a family of teachers. This includes his great, great-grandmother, grandmother and both parents. Atkins has been in the FFA since middle school. He also works on his family’s cattle ranch.

Bradlee Swanson, co-president of the GFWC Brandon Service League, said, “We are a strong organization that is committed to serving the greater Brandon community. While we have had to make hard changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we plan to continue our work, meet and hold events as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.”

The GFWC Brandon Service League plans to hold its first meeting for the fall on Thursday, September 10 at New Hope United Methodist Church. Social time begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the meeting at 7 p.m. Visitors are always welcome.

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