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Girl Scouts awards $30,000+ in scholarships
Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council

April, 2014

The Emerald Circle of the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC) awarded more than $30,000 to 25 young women at The Emerald Circle’s annual Gold Award Merit Scholarship presentation and reception on April 13. Only Girl Scouts who have earned the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting, are eligible for the merit-based scholarships.


Emerald Circle scholarships help high school graduates prepare for their future by continuing their education and earning a college degree. This year’s recipients were chosen from a pool of 71 applicants. Recipients of the scholarships plan to attend in-state colleges— The University of St. Thomas, The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, Southern Methodist University, Trinity University, and Austin College —as well as out-of-state schools— Oklahoma State University,  Tulane University, Davidson College, Hendrix College and Freed-Hardeman University..  Two graduates have been admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one has been selected to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Scholarship recipients are:


·         Hannah Kelly, who will graduate from Clear Lake High School, received the $3,000 Judy Kunkel Memorial Scholarship, named in honor of Kunkel, a long-time Girl Scout volunteer and professional educator.

·         Jessica Musler of Clear Lake High School received a $2,500 scholarship funded by the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation.

·         Poonam Vaidya, a senior at Stephen F. Austin High School in Sugar Land, received a $2,000 scholarship given by the Robert H. and Joanne M. Williams Foundation.

·         Sarah Munson of Briarwood School received the $2,000 Mary E. Robinson Memorial Scholarship given to a graduating senior who plans to study special education in college.  It is awarded in memory of Robinson, a passionate advocate of special education.

·         Mary Kvinta, who will graduate from Memorial High School, received the $1,000 Ervan Chew Memorial Scholarship, which has been presented annually since 1999.  The scholarship is funded by the GSSJC Board of Directors in memory of Chew, a prominent community leader and GSSJC volunteer.

·         Vitoria Moreno-Costa, also from Memorial High School, was awarded a $1,500 Emerald Circle Scholarship.

·         Emerald Circle scholarships for $1,000 were presented to:


o   Michelle Biancardi, Kingwood High School

o   Misty Birtcher, High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

o   Natalie Cluck, home schooled

o   Candace Donaldson, Jersey Village High School

o   Madeline Folkerts, Bellaire High School

o   Lauryn Hanley, Clear Lake High School

o   Margaret Claire Heartfield, Monsignor Kelly Catholic High School, Beaumont

o   Denise Irvin, Foster High School, Richmond

o   Savannah Lohec, St. Thomas’ Episcopal High School

o   Nishtha Sharma, Clear Horizons Early College High School.

o   Jacqueline Simmons, St. John’s School

o   Reilly Smith, St. Agnes Academy

o   Kristine Spicer, Clear Falls High School 

o   Shama Tajani, Stephen F. Austin High School, Sugar Land


Five recipients who exhibited the Girl Scout Promise were selected as the first group of Goodykoontz Scholars, named after Dorothy Goodykoontz, a founder and past president of The Emerald Circle and a dedicated GSSJC supporter and volunteer. As part of the recognition, recipients received a $1,000 scholarship and certificate of recognition. The recipients were: Kathryn Bolt, Northland Christian School; Hannah Cox, Glenda Dawson High School, Pearland; Francesca Gay, Providence Classical School, Spring; Myria Perez, Cypress Wood High School, Cypress and Bonnie Worstell, William P. Clements High School, Sugar Land.




The Emerald Circle was established as a “giving club” within Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council in 1992.  In 1996, it assumed oversight of the Gold Award Merit Scholarship program. Over the past 16 years, The Emerald Circle has awarded more than $500,000 in scholarships to high school graduates seeking high education.  Membership in the Emerald Circle is open to women and men who support the organization’s goal of “changing the world one girl at a time” through education.  Donations from individuals and corporations also support the college scholarship program. For information about Emerald Circle membership or making a scholarship donation, contact Beth Shea at 713-292-0321 or mail contributions to GSSJC, The Emerald Circle, 3110 Southwest Freeway, Houston, Texas 77098.


Girl Scouts of the USA is the world's preeminent organization for girls, with a membership of more than 3.2 million girls and adults. Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Chartered by GSUSA to provide Girl Scouting locally, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council is the second largest Girl Scout council in the country serving more than 62,000 girls and 18,000 adults in 26 southeast Texas counties.


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