AFA Chapter Awards $8,000 in Scholarships to Texas High Schoolers

April 30, 2024

AFA’s Northeast Texas Chapter 416 presented $8,000 in scholarships to 10 students from four different schools in their area. 

The Chapter generates a military-themed statement each year and asks students to produce a two-page essay and defend their position. Educators, professionals, and members from the Chapter read select 10 winning students. The top three students receive scholarships worth $2,000, $1,500, and $1,000, and an additional seven receive scholarships worth $500.

The scholarships are funded by long-standing donors and community partners, including the Lt. Col. John Murray family; Dr. Jerry Ransom; the McCasland family who donates in honor of their parents, Chief Master Sgt. Bobby & Louise McCasland; and more than 60 community partners.

This year’s prompt was “Hypersonic Weapons: Why the need for speed?” There was a total of 37 essays on the topic submitted from 10 different schools.

This year’s first-place recipient was Asia Chen, a senior at Sulphur Springs High School in Sulphur Springs, Texas. Chen is a member of multiple U.I.L. academics teams (Calculator Applications, Editorial Writing, Science, and Mathematics), band, Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce Leadership, Student Council, HOSA, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, and Key Club. Chen plans to major in biology or neuro/cognitive science in college. She was recently accepted to MIT.

“The $2,000 scholarship will hopefully help, and if I can work additional support, I hope to attend MIT,” said Chen.

Chen said she learned about AFA’s contest through Gail Herman, her English teacher at Sulphur Springs High School. Herman has her class do the annual contest to challenge them to write and learn about something they may never come across.

“Hypersonic weapons are not something most of us in Sulphur Springs think about,” said Herman at the Chapter’s “Inspire & Impact” event on March 22. The event was held with community partners, donors, business leaders, and college professors, to inform people about chapter programs.

AFA’s Northeast Texas Chapter 416 is working hard to inspire students and expose them to STEM and the importance of military areas critical to our nation. As part of the new AFA’s new recruiting efforts, the 2025 essay prompt will be “Manning military services: Volunteers, Draft, or Other, and Why?” The goal is to inspire students to explore how our military and Air & Space Forces positions are filled. With the Air Force not meeting their enlisted accession’s goal in 2023, it is important to ensure our youth realize the military is a viable venture or career and that defense of our nation is important.