BEMC awards scholarships to area seniors

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 Winners of the Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation (BEMC) 2010 Scholarship Highway Program are Anna Fairfax of Chadbourn and Rebecca Sidelinger of Shallotte.

The BEMC Scholarship Highway Program awards two scholarships of $5,000 to high school seniors, one each from Brunswick and Columbus counties. 

Scholarship applicants were judged on a combination of academic achievement, participation in the community and school-related activities, SAT scores, letters of reference and submission of a 1,500 word essay on “Renewable Energy: The Realities.” 

Educators from Brunswick Community College and Southeastern Community College judged the competition.

Sidelinger of West Brunswick High School is the daughter of Adrianna and Michael Sidelinger. 

At UNC-Chapel Hill, she will major in psychology. In her essay, she states: “There are many hidden issues behind renewable energy. With all the different types of renewable energy available, and all the new ways being discovered all the time, it seems like we should be taking advantage of these processes; the biggest question is simply figuring out whether the pros outweigh the cons and if the investment is worth the risk.”

Fairfax of South Columbus High School was the scholarship winner for Columbus County. 

The daughter of James K. and Susie Fairfax, she will attend Duke University in the fall, majoring in chemistry. While acknowledging the future belongs to renewable energy, her essay recognizes the importance traditional resources such coal, nuclear and natural gas plants will continue to play. 

In addition, she discusses the economic concerns of capturing renewable energy sources: “Renewable energy technologies are expected to become mainstream in the coming decades, as well as technology innovations that allow practical ways of empowering customers to better control how and when they use energy.”

In its second year, the BEMC scholarship program had provided scholarships for high school graduates.

“Our Bright Ideas educational grants and specialized teaching programs are for K-12 teachers,” said CEO Robert W. Leavitt Jr. “The scholarship program gave us a way to extend our educational commitment beyond high school and make the long-term benefits of a college education more attainable by helping some of our young people with the high costs. These very capable young people will inherit the issue of renewable energy, so we’re very interested in their perspective on the topic.”

BEMC is a locally owned and operated nonprofit corporation. It is the second largest electric cooperative in North Carolina, serving nearly 85,000 member locations in Brunswick, Columbus, Bladen and Robeson counties.