Three Presidential and three Solomon Scholarship winners, who will join the Erskine student community in the fall of 2020, have been announced at Erskine College. They will be members of the Erskine College Class of 2024.
The Presidential Scholarship is the highest scholarship award offered at Erskine College, and covers tuition, room and board, and required fees, minus any state, federal, and outside scholarships and grants. The Presidential winners selected this year are Neal Richard Blank, Ariel Hannah Bishop, and Sharon Lee George.
Ariel Bishop of Greenwood, S.C., is a student at Greenwood High School, where she is a member of National Honor Society, Beta Club, and Tri-M Music Honor Society. She served on the yearbook staff for two years and was chosen for membership in the Early Bird Choir, which requires an audition. She is a member of her church’s youth praise team, sings in the Greenwood Festival Chorale, and assists her father in coaching at Clemson-Anderson Soccer Alliance. She has served as a member of a summer mission team in Montana and has volunteered at Connie Maxwell Children’s Home in Greenwood.
Neal Blank of Camden, S.C., is a homeschooled student with membership in Grace Home School Association. He has played football and soccer at Camden High School and has also participated in club sports. He recently spent a week at Palmetto Boys’ State, where he was elected to the house of representatives. He has volunteered as a youth soccer coach and at a clothing donation site. At his church, for the past four years, he has led Sacks of Love, a program serving hungry students in his county. He is preparing for a summer 2020 mission trip to Honduras by learning Spanish. Other languages he has studied include Arabic, Japanese, Latin, and Russian.
Sharon George of Spartanburg, S.C., is a student at Spartanburg High School, where she serves as vice president of the academic quiz bowl team and of the Girlz United club. She is a member of the National Honor Society and Beta Club and works on the school newspaper. She also plays violin in her school’s honor orchestra, and she hopes to major in Music Education and become an orchestra teacher. She volunteers at the library as part of the Teen Advisory Group, which discusses and provides input concerning library programming for teens. At Erskine, she hopes to participate in music and theater activities.
The Solomon Scholarship covers up to 16 credit hours of tuition per semester and is renewable for a total of four years. The Solomon winners are Benjamin C. Headley, Gabrielle Faith Loftis, and David Steven Wilkie.
Ben Headley of Moreland, Ga., attends Konos Academy, where he has run cross country for two years. He plays eight musical instruments, including bass, banjo, guitar, mandolin, and piano, and has participated in his school’s talent shows and plays. He started a business with his brothers, growing and selling tomatoes. A volunteer in outreach ministries to children, including Good News Club and vacation Bible school, and in ministries to widows and nursing home residents, he hopes to major in Bible and Religion and is interested in youth and music ministry. He would like to participate in music and theater programs at Erskine.
Gabby Loftis of Honea Path, S.C., is a student at Crescent High School. She would like to major in Elementary Education and serve as a teacher in her home county, and also hopes eventually to go to graduate school for a master’s degree in education. She notes that when she visited Erskine, faculty members and students were always happy to answer her questions. She loves to run, and enjoys working with animals. At Erskine, she is interested in participating in the Student Government Association.
David Wilkie of Clinton, S.C., attends Clinton High School. A member of National Honor Society and Beta Club, he was a 2019 delegate to Palmetto Boys State and is a Cadet Sergeant First Class in Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. He has run cross country and was a drummer in marching band. He is an Eagle Scout and recently organized a fun run for the South Carolina Make-A-Wish Foundation. He hopes to major in Bible and Religion, go to Erskine Seminary, and become an ARP minister. He learned about Erskine from family members, including his mother, Dr. Lynn Wilkie ’95, and his uncle, E. Phillip Cook ’92.
Dean of Enrollment Management Dr. Tim Rees was pleased with the number and quality of the scholarship competitors this year. “Our committee had a very difficult time deciding on the scholarship winners—it was that close,” he said.
“We are excited to see what the Lord will do with this year’s competitors as they take their next educational steps.”
Director of Admissions Kasey McNair, who enjoys making surprise presentations to the winners when possible, expressed confidence in this year’s recipients.
“I am so proud of the six students selected for the Presidential Scholarships and Solomon Awards,” she said. “I cannot wait to see all that they accomplish as part of the Erskine family!”
Erskine Director of Admissions Kasey McNair, left, surprised Presidential winner Ariel Bishop at Greenwood High School.
Presidential winner Neal Blank, right, received a surprise presentation at Camden High School.
Presidential winner Sharon George (near screen with upraised arm) received a surprise visit when admissions staff attended a midweek gathering at her church.
Solomon Scholarship winner Ben Headley
Solomon Scholarship winner Gabby Loftis was surprised by Erskine at Crescent High School.
Solomon Scholarship winner David Wilkie (back row, center), surrounded by family members, got a surprise visit from Erskine at Clinton High School.