Alva teen earns commissary scholarship

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  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – A $2,000 college scholarship was awarded to a teen from Alva, Oklahoma, during a brief ceremony at the Vance Commissary June 28.

Cathy Mapes, who will attend Oklahoma State University this fall, earned the tuition assistance through the Scholarships for Military Children program which is funded by the vendors and manufacturers who sell groceries through the Commissary system.

She qualified for the scholarship because her father, Jeff Mapes, is a retired Army command sergeant major.

“I spent 29 and a half years in the National Guard and retired as the command sergeant major of the 179th Infantry Brigade,” said Mapes, who served two tours in Iraq and deployed in support of the Hurricane Katrina recovery operations.

Every little bit helps when you have to send your kids off to college, said Mapes, who doesn’t start collecting his military retirement till he is 57.

To earn the scholarship, Cathy wrote an essay about an historical or modern person with whom she would like to have a 30-minute conversation, why she would pick that person, and what would they talk about.

Cathy selected Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity. She read her essay to the small gathering after accepting her scholarship. Cathy said she would ask Jesus questions about why the human race still has wars, and why things happen the way they do.

She competed against four other applicants and plans to use her scholarship to seek a degree in Animal Science with an option for Bio Tech. She then plans on pursuing medical school and becoming a pediatrician.

College is expensive, she said. And though she has other scholarships, continuing on to medical school will cost even more.

Scholarships for Military Children is administered by the Fisher House Foundation, and this year's scholarship was sponsored by Reynolds Consumer Produce and OSC/Webco, who were represented at the Commissary ceremony by Paul Weber.