Northside High School senior Zaqariah Qureshi on Friday, May 6, learned he will have $60,000 toward college.
Qureshi has been named as an Oklahoma Gas & Electric Energy Corp. Foundation, Inc. OGE Positive Energy Scholars. Qureshi will receive $15,000 per year, which is renewable annually for up to four years, or a total of $60,000 to cover tuition, books, fees and on-campus room and board, OGE announced.
Sean Trauschke, OGE Energy Corp. Chairman, President and CEO was at the surprise celebration to congratulate Qureshi.
“Zaqariah’s application for the scholarship was impressive,” he said. “In addition to his academic achievements, Zaqariah gave us insight into his character through his volunteerism positive outlook on life. It is an honor for OGE to play a role in helping students, particularly a first-generation student like Zaqariah, achieve their educational dreams in the communities we serve. These scholarships help strengthen our future workforce and empower the next generation of leaders.”
School administrators, teachers, mentors, students, superintendent Terry Morawski, Fort Smith Mayor George McGill, Fort Smith Police Chief Danny Baker and members of the community joined the surprise as OGE officials presented Qureshi with a congratulatory certificate.
Northside High School Principal Keri Rathbun thanked OG&E for supporting deserving students like Qureshi through the scholarship.
“We are thrilled to see OGE invest in students whose strong STEM skills will help lead the state forward,” he said.
Qureshi will attend the University of Arkansas this fall. He hopes to major in chemistry and chemical technology or psychology. He will be a first-generation college student.
His math teacher, Courtney Harcastle, said Qureshi is an exemplary student.
“(His) perpetual desire to be challenged inspires students and teachers alike,” she said. “I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this scholarship. He is also one of the most friendly and engaging teens I’ve had the pleasure of teaching and he is as inclusive as he is compassionate toward his fellow students. I am so proud that he is rewarded for his hard work and admirable ethic of him. ”
In addition to his dedication to his studies and being one of the top-ranking students in his class academically, Qureshi volunteered with the Food Not Bombs organization, a program focused on getting homeless individuals back on their feet. In his free time, Qureshi enjoys playing chess, bike riding and reading nonfiction.
Eddie Lee Herndon, OGE Community Affairs Manager in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma, said a scholarship like this will allow for Qureshi to “focus on the classroom aspect of his college experience.”
“The costs of college can present many challenges for a young student,” he said. “It is a privilege to provide such a serving student with this impactful scholarship.”
Through the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, the OGE Positive Energy Scholarship was established in 2019, focusing on students pursuing careers in an energy-related field and in need of financial aid. Eligible students must meet specific criteria to be considered, including:
Be a graduating high school senior from the OGE service area
Attend a college in the states of Oklahoma or Arkansas
Have an unweighted GPA greater than or equal to 3.25
· Achieve an ACT score of greater than or equal to 25 and/or SAT score greater than or equal to 1200.
Since 2016, OGE Energy Corp. has provided more than $1.9 million to fund scholarships for students in the OGE service area.