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Wednesday, June 19, 2024


April 23, 2001 — The V.I. Water and Power Authority's 8th Annual Alva C. McFarlane Engineering and technical scholarships application deadline has been changed from April 27 to May 4 2001 because of Carnival activities, the authority announced Monday.
The scholarships are being offered to four high school seniors. Two scholarships of up to $60,000 are available to students who plan to get a bachelor's degree in engineering or a computer related field.
Two technical scholarships of up to $20,000 are offered to students planning to get associate degrees in technical fields, such as mechanical, civil or electrical engineering, electronics, metal trades or computer related fields.
One scholarship each will be offered in the St. Thomas-St. John, Water Island district, and one in the St. Croix district. Candidates will be selected on the basis of ability and financial need.
There's a catch though, albeit a lucrative one. Recipients of the scholarships must pledge to work for WAPA one year for each year of education financed.
Patricia Blake Simmonds, WAPA public information officer, said, "We usually have about four a year, two engineers and two technicians, in a rolling sequence, coming back to repay the loan." Simmonds said some of the students stay on a WAPA, while others spread their wings elsewhere. "Right now we have maybe one or two plant technicians on St. Thomas. The last student on St. Croix went back to school."
McFarlane was known in the community for his efforts as director of the V.I. Labor Department's apprenticeship and training program. Simmonds said when he later became a member of WAPA's governing board, he was interested in providing a way for students with ability and aptitude to get training they couldn't otherwise afford.
"It's ironic," Simmonds said, "He (McFarlane) pushed the board and talked and talked until the scholarship was established, and then he died just as the board was getting ready to offer the first one." Fittingly, the scholarships bear his name. Simmonds said that was around 1989, and the scholarships have been offered almost every year since then.
The grants pay for all college or university expenses including tuition, room and board, books, supplies, transportation and miscellaneous expenses. Summer employment at WAPA facilities will also be provided.
Applications for the scholarship program can be obtained from the WAPA Human Resources offices on St. Thomas and St. Croix, and high school guidance counselors.

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