East Texas Communities Foundation (ETCF) announces the creation of the Yamboree Empowerment Scholarship (YES) for Women to be awarded to females graduating high school from Upshur County, Texas.  The scholarship was funded through a collaboration between Gilmer, Texas, natives, Sally Greene and Laura Potter Parsons-Sergent, and the East Texas Yamboree Association.

“ETCF is grateful for the opportunity to support Laura, Sally and the East Texas Yamboree Association with the creation of this scholarship,” said Kyle Penney, president of ETCF. “It is an honor for the Foundation to be the steward of these resources while assisting a deserving student on the path to achieving their educational goals.” 

Inspiration for the scholarship came from the gratitude that Greene and Parsons-Sergent felt as they remembered their parent’s and grandparents’ involvement to the annual festival. “Returning to the Yamboree gave us an opportunity to look back and realize how fortunate we were to have had the advantages that we did growing up in Gilmer,” said Greene. “College remained only a dream for many young women in the county then, and unfortunately, still is. Through the creation of this scholarship, we hope to help young women attend college that might not otherwise have the resources.”

The endowed scholarship was created through initial contributions made by Greene and Parsons-Sergent. The YES for Women Scholarship will also receive contributions from the Yamboree Association over the next 15 years. “The goal is to build up an endowment sufficient to support a renewable $5,000 scholarship to follow each year’s awardee through all four years of college,” said Parsons-Sergent.

The East Texas Yamboree will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2035. “We could not be more grateful to Sally and Laura for bringing this opportunity to us,” said Abigail Elaine Stewart, the first female president of the Yamboree Association. “The YES for Women Scholarship is an exciting investment in our community. We look forward to awarding this scholarship to a deserving young woman now and for years to come.” Applicants must be a graduating senior from a public high school located in Upshur County, Texas. Eligible students must be graduating from high schools in the following school districts: Gilmer ISD, New Diana ISD, Ore City ISD, Union Hill ISD, Harmony ISD, Big Sandy ISD or Union Grove ISD. Students attending Gladewater ISD or Pittsburg ISD may also be eligible, provided they live in Upshur County. Applications open online January 1, 2024.  Complete scholarship details can be found online at https://etcf.org/scholarships/available-scholarships/.