Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce

108 West Third Avenue Franklin, VA 23851 

Phone: (757) 562-4900 Fax: (757) 562- 6138

Donna C. McCullough Chamber Scholarship


Scholarship Application 2017 (Application deadline - Monday, May 1, 2017)

The Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce is committed to supporting educational attainment in the Franklin-Southampton Area.

Presented since 1995, this annual scholarship award is now given in honor of Donna C. McCullough, who served the Chamber as Executive Director from 1976–2004.

The purpose of this prestigious scholarship is to provide recognition to a student who is involved in the community and has demonstrated leadership and academic achievement. Major emphasis for selection will be placed on community involvement.

Scholarship Guidelines

  • The (one-time) Scholarship will be awarded to a graduating high school senior.
  • The Scholarship shall be used to assist the recipient in meeting expenses for advanced education in full- or part-time study in a college, technical/trade school or their equivalent.
  • Applicants must be bona fide resident of Franklin or Southampton County, VA or vicinity.
  • The Scholarship Committee of the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce selects the winner.
  • If the winner fails to continue his/her education program in the given school year, the scholarship must be returned to the Chamber for award to a runner-up.

Christopher D. Ray Public Safety Memorial Scholarship 

Founded in 2011, the Christopher D. Ray Public Safety Memorial Scholarship is a $1,000 grant available to a high school senior who plans to enter a course of study in a public safety field or a four-year college or university or to a college student currently enrolled. Public safety majors include criminal justice (not pre-law), fire science, and paramedic/emergency medicine.

This scholarship honors Christopher D. Ray, A Southampton County deputy sheriff who lost his life in the line of duty on August 29, 2009. Funds for the scholarship have been provided through a fishing tournament fundraiser and through generous donations from Christopher's friends and family, as well as from citizens who recognize the need for qualified public safety workers.

2017 SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION  Applications due May 12, 2017

Donna C. McCullough Scholarship Recipients 

2016 Recipients - Marissa Haydu & Ann Jackson Edwards


Both scripted thought provoking essays and  were very active in a wide variety of community service activities.  They also held leadership positions in various organizations.



2015 Recipient - Jena Araojo


Jena Araojo, valedictorian of the Southampton High School class of 2015 was awarded the 2015 Donna C. McCullough Chamber Scholarship. 

 Jena served in many leadership roles throughout her high school years.  In 2014 she served as City Mayor at the American Legion VA Girls State.  Other leadership roles include serving as Varsity Captain of the Academic Team, President of Key Club International and being elected to offices of the Student Government Association in the 9th through 11th grades.  Jena also was a Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Ambassador and Alumni for three years and was a Kiwanis International Key Leader in 2013.  Also active in athletics she served as Captain of the SHS Field Hockey JV and Varsity teams and was an active member of the Ivor Softball team as well as the Storm Travel Softball Team.  Jena also participated in the Health Career Club, National BETA Club, National Honor Society, New Tones Choral Group, Prom Committee and Keys 4 A Cure Relay for Life Team.

Notable awards and honors bestowed upon Jena include: Academic Excellence Award, Virginia Pilot Scholastic Achievement Team (3 years), Key Club International: Distinguished Officer Award, Member of the Month and Outstanding Community Service Award.  She also received the Nancy McCormick Citizenship Award, Relay for Life Team Fundraising Award and was selected for All-District Chorus.

Jena has volunteered for numerous organizations throughout the community.  She has assisted her church, Ivor Baptist, by working in the nursery, after school program tutoring and vacation bible school.  Through Key Club she has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, Red Cross blood drive, Special Olympics & Trooper Hill Toys for Tots.  She also has assisted with carnivals, PTA functions and reading nights at local elementary schools and visited nursing homes and Zuni Presbyterian Home to sing and help with activities.  Jena has helped to raise thousands of dollars through fundraisers for Relay for Life, UNICEF, The Eliminate Project, Children’s Miracle Network and March of Dimes.  Demonstrating her leadership skills, Jena has worked as an instructional assist and field trip chaperone for Paul D. Camp Community College Kids College.  At Southampton High School she volunteered as a student ambassador, library assistant, concession and as an after- school tutor.

In response to the essay question “What issue poses the greatest challenge for improving the quality of life in the Franklin-Southampton community, and how would you propose to tackle and resolve this issue (problem)? Jena noted that the Franklin-Southampton Community provides ample opportunity for students and young adults to become involved in the community.  However, the greatest challenge is a lack in student leaders and innovators who are motivated to doing more than the expected.  The most difficult challenge facing high school today is the number of incoming freshmen that have no desire to learn, prepare for college, or join extracurricular activities.  By the time they graduate they will realize that they did nothing to prepare themselves for adulthood. To tackle the issue of student involvement, Jena suggests that the Franklin-Southampton community and high schools alike initiate programs to stimulate student learning, to prep students for future academic endeavors or careers as a freshmen, and to spark interest in various extracurricular activities in order to build leadership and team working skills. It is important that we make students aware of the ample opportunities that the Franklin-Southampton Community and a collegiate education have to offer.  It is the job of the Franklin-Southampton Community to now provide programs to initiate student involvement in the many organizations the community already provides.  By sparking student interest, adolescents will be more inclined to do better in school and set goals to improve the quality of life in the Franklin-Southampton Community.

Jena is the daughter of Patrick and Tami Araojo and will attend The College of William and Mary.


2014 Recipient - Ellis "Trey" Cofield, III


The 2014 Donna C. McCullough Chamber scholarship has been awarded to Ellis T. Cofield, III, a recent graduate of Southampton High School.
The scholarship committee bases its selection on several criteria, which include demonstrated leadership ability & academic achievement. A major emphasis is placed on community involvement. Ellis “Trey” Cofield is a natural leader and he has created a mentoring program that will positively impact the community for years to come. Trey completed his high school career with a 4.41 GPA

Trey has served on the Student Government Association since his freshman year and was elected to serve as President of SGA his senior year. He was selected to attend the VHSL Leadership Conference in each year of high school. After being inducted into the National Honor Society he was elected Treasurer in 2013. Trey also served as Overseer of the Upward Bound Student Council Association, as a Student Advisor for Career & Technical Education and Co-captain of the Southampton High Tennis Team. One of his most notable leadership roles was being elected by his peers and serving as Speaker of the House while attending Boy’s State of Virginia. This position gave Trey the opportunity to deliver a speech to 1,000 parents, directors and peers.

Other awards and honors bestowed upon Trey include: King of the 2013-2014 Homecoming Court, Recipient of the DAR Good Citizen Award for SHS, Tennis Leadership Award, Winner of the Harry F. Byrd Leadership Award & being voted the Best Citizen of Bradley City at Boys’ State

Trey has supported the community in a variety of ways. He has been active with Relay for Life, The American Heart Association, March of Dimes and the Trooper Hill Toy Drive. Being a youth worker at his church he has taught Sunday school, served as choir director & bible study instructor. In 2012 he established a Cyber-Outreach Ministry, Team4Christ Ministry, to share the Gospel across the world. This Ministry has over 780 followers.

In response to the essay question “What issue poses the greatest challenge for improving the quality of life in the Franklin-Southampton community, and how would you propose to tackle and resolve this issue (problem)? Trey’s response was that the Franklin/Southampton community is losing our youth to gangs and gang violence. His belief is that young people sell their soul to gangs because of their desire to be accepted. Because many of our young people do not have stable homes they look to gangs to feel included, loved and accepted. Trey suggests establishing more peer to peer mentoring organizations within each educational institution. Trey felt so strongly about helping young people choose the right path in life that he created a movement to tackle this problem. His award winning mentoring program, The STRETCH (Striving to Reach Excellence To Create Heroes) Project, Inc. was launched on October 8, 2013. STRETCH is a student led organization (led by 12 seniors last semester) that tutors and mentors middle school students to prepare them for the difficult transition from middle school to high school & strives to promote and propel young people to excel. This group reached over 200 students every Wednesday & Thursday while tutoring on Monday’s and Tuesday’s. This project has fostered several noted success stories at Southampton High School. Visit www.thestretchproject.org for additional information on this initiative.

Trey is the son of Ellis and Beneta Cofield and will attend Paul D. Camp Community College in the fall



2013 Recipient - Kristen Cooke


The 2013 Donna C. McCullough Chamber scholarship has been awarded to Kristen Cooke, valedictorian of Southampton High School’s class of 2013.
The scholarship committee bases its selection on several criteria, which include demonstrated leadership ability & academic achievement. A major emphasis is placed on community involvement. Kristen excelled in each category.
While Kristen was involved in a multitude of school and community activities she completed her high school career with a 4.854 GPA and graduated 1st in her class of 164.
Kristen has served as President of the Key Club, secretary for the YMCA Leaders Club and was the youth representative of her church Visioning Task Force Team. She has also served as a Sunday school leader and Bible school leader. In 2012 she was a Key Club District Convention Delegate, Key Leader Delegate, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Delegate and Virginia Girls State Delegate. She has also received the William and Mary Leadership Award, the Key Club Distinguished President award and was honored for three years as a Gifted Art Scholar. Certified in First Aid, CPR, AED & Emergency Oxygen, Kristen works as a lifeguard for the YMCA. She also teaches swimming and has coached soccer and swim teams.
Kristen’s volunteer work has supported the community in a variety of ways. Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, March of Dimes, American Heart Association, Franklin Jr. Woman’s Club, Coats for Kids, Social Services Child Abuse Prevention Walk and American Red Cross Blood Drives are just a few of the many organizations that have benefited from Kristen’s efforts
In response to the essay question “What issue poses the greatest challenge for improving the quality of life in the Franklin-Southampton community, and how would you propose to tackle and resolve this issue (problem)?” Kristen noted that having numerous empty buildings and stores is not a productive way to encourage new businesses to open in this area. To resolve the issue of empty buildings & economic struggles, she suggests that the city, town or owner of the building allow new businesses to inhabit these buildings at a reduced cost provided the business demonstrates commitment and the chance of a successful business venture.
Kristen is the daughter of Eric & Diane Cook and will attend The University of Virginia this fall.


2012 Recipient - Savannah Grace Francis


The 2012 Donna C. McCullough Chamber scholarship has been awarded to Savannah Grace Francis, a 2012 graduate of Southampton High School. Grace graduated 3rd in her class of 180.
Grace participated in a multitude of school and community activities all while maintaining a 4.56 grade point average. She served as secretary for the Key Club and president of the Christian Club, student government association representative in grades 9-12 and was a member of the National Honor Society and Health Careers Club. In her junior year she was selected to represent Southampton High School at Virginia Girls State. She was a district finalist for the Harry F. Byrd Leadership Award and in grades 10 & 11 was honored by the Virginian-Pilot Scholastic Achievement Scholarship & Recognition Program.
The community has benefitted from her volunteer work in many areas. She has assisted Habitat for Humanity at the Re-Store, packed toys for the Social Services toy distribution and assisted with summer workshops for Kids College at Paul D. Camp Community College. She helped to repair & construct homes for under-privileged families through Impact VA! and has served with the Sycamore Baptist Church mission group, World Changers, since 2006. Grace is a frequent blood & plasma donor to the American Red Cross and served as SHS student captain this year for the local Relay for Life. In 2010 she participated in the Susan G. Komen Three Day for the Cure event; a three-day, 60 mile walk. Grace raised $2,800 towards finding a cure for breast cancer.
In response to the essay question “What issue poses the greatest challenge for improving the quality of life in the Franklin-Southampton community, and how would you propose to tackle and resolve this issue (problem)?” Grace noted that a major issue for the Franklin-Southampton area that is within our power, locally, to repair is obesity. She added that we must work to reduce the rate of childhood obesity as it is imperative to give the youth – our future – the tools necessary to be healthy.
Grace is the daughter of Joey & Susan Francis and will attend Virginia Tech.



2011 Recipient - Michael Milteer


Michael Milteer, a 2011 graduate of Southampton Academy, has received the Donna C. McCullough Chamber scholarship.
The scholarship committee bases its selection on several criteria, which include demonstrated leadership ability & academic achievement. A major emphasis is placed on community involvement. Michael excelled in all categories.
Michael was recognized with several honors during his high school career. He was awarded with The Virginia Pilot Scholastic Achievement designation in 10th, 11th & 12th grade. He received the VCC all conference academic award for basketball in the 11th & 12th grade & received the William & Mary South of the James Book Award in his junior year. Active with the Leaders Club of the James L. Camp, Jr. YMCA, Michael volunteered 100+ hours each year for 6 years & he attended YMCA Blue Ridge Leaders Conference for 3 years. Michael also served the YMCA for two years as a soccer coach. Cooperative Ministries, Rawls Museum Arts, Southampton Academy, Red Cross Blood Drive, Relay for Life & sea dunes beach grass restoration all have benefited from Michael’s volunteer work.
Throughout his high school career Michael served in many leadership roles. He led the basketball and soccer teams as captain in his senior year and served as an officer for Southampton Academy’s Beta Club & National Jr. Honor Society. Michael was elected as sophomore class president and SCA vice president in the 11th grade. Although Michael excelled in many sports including soccer, basketball and football he also actively participated in forensics, drama club, SADD club & SA yearbook.
Strengthening education was Michael’s answer to the essay question “What issue poses the greatest challenge for improving the quality of life in the Franklin-Southampton community, and how would you propose to tackle and resolve this issue (problem)?” Michael noted that “Bettering the area’s education and raising the standards of learning in both academics and vocational training would help students be better prepared for life after high school and make our community a better place to live. Citizens and schools with good education standards make good communities”. Suggesting ways to accomplish this, Michael noted that area schools should partner more with Paul D. Camp Community College to offer training for teachers, to help high school students with dual classes for college credit and to provide technical training to better prepare students once out of high school. “Students should be pushed to do better and the administration should demand more from the teachers and students. Parents also play a major role in a child’s learning. Everyone must work together and strive to make it better”.
Michael is the son of Mike & Gail Milteer and is a freshman at Virginia Tech.


2010 Recipients - Erin Spivey & Jake Pittman


Two outstanding young leaders, Erin Spivey & Jake Pittman, were recently awarded the Donna C. McCullough Chamber scholarship. Both are 2010 graduates of Southampton High School.
The scholarship committee bases its selection on several criteria, which include demonstrated leadership ability & academic achievement. A major emphasis is placed on community involvement. Both Jake and Erin excelled in all areas.
Erin has received honors from the National Latin Honor Society & People to People Alumna. She received The Virginia Pilot Scholastic Achievement designation in 2008, 2009 & 2010 and was a University of Virginia Jefferson Scholar semi-finalist in 2010. Active in Debate, Erin was an AA Region 1 Classic Policy Debate Runner-Up and the Southside district Classic Policy Debate Champion in 2010. Throughout her high school career Erin served in many leadership roles. Selected by her peers, Erin has the distinction of serving as class President for all four of her high school years. In her senior year she was President of the National Honor Society, Captain of the Debate Team and Captain of the Scholastic Bowl Team. Erin also actively participated in the Science Club, Key Club, and Christian Club and played on the Varsity Soccer team. She is a singer & guitarist with the Sycamore Baptist Ensemble and lead singer in the Christian Rock Band, SayCoast. She has been involved with Relay For Life for 3 years. Erin also thinks globally as well as locally when serving her fellow man. As a member of Sycamore Baptist Youth she has participated with Impact Virginia Missions on mission trips to Onley, Bluefield & Bristol Virginia & assisted residents in Peru. As a People to People Student Ambassador she has traveled to Europe and Australia. Erin is the daughter of Ed & Susan Spivey of Courtland and will attend The University of Virginia this fall.
Jake Pittman also will attend The University of Virginia. He is the son of Stacy Dempsey and Hugh Pittman. Throughout his school career Jake has been active throughout the community. At Southampton High he served as Class Reporter, participated in the Varsity Club, JV Baseball, JV & Varsity Wrestling team, receiving the Coaches Award, and the Varsity Soccer team. Jake served as treasurer of the Christian Club & VP of the National Honor Society and was a member of the Senior Class Homecoming Court. In 2009 Jake represented Southampton High School at American Legion Boy’s State at Liberty University. There he had the honor of being selected as one of 16 mayors chosen from over 800 citizens. As a member of High St. Methodist Church, Jake served as President of the Methodist Youth Fellowship. For 12 years Jake participated in Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts holding various leadership positions. He attained his Eagle Scout designation as a member of Troop 17. Through the YMCA Leaders Club Jake volunteered over 600 hours and served as Special Events Chair and Vice President. He has received the Leaders Club Character Award & Leaders Club Spirit Award. In 2008 Jake was honored with the Pat Newman YMCA Service Award. Jake has attended the YMCA Blue Ridge Leaders School in Asheville, NC for 5 years and was selected by peers and staff from over 700 leaders as one of 8 Honor Leaders for the 2010 session.
The Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber is delighted to honor both Jake and Erin with the 2010 Donna C. McCullough Chamber scholarship. Both of these exceptional students have demonstrated leadership and embody the spirit of community.

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