Meet APRO's Past Scholarship Recipients
APRO's 2013 Educational Scholarship Recipients ($4,000)
Hayden Appelberg, North Carolina State University, High Point, North Carolina
APRO Sponsor: Lance Appelberg, Aaron’s, Atlanta, Georgia
Hayden spent his high school years achieving high honors while volunteering with various charities and he graduated as valedictorian. He was a member of the National Honor Society and president of the Beta Club. He was a Congressional nominee for the Naval Academy, a Presidential Scholar nominee and an AP Scholar with Distinction. Hayden earned a service/learning diploma by volunteering 225 hours of charitable work with a local soup kitchen, food bank, animal shelter, school clean-ups, the Appalachian Service Project for the impoverished, Breast Cancer Awareness drives, the Special Olympics, Crop Walk and Habitat for Humanity. He graduated with a 3.96 GPA.
Patrick Estep, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Woodstock, Georgia
APRO Sponsor: Roger Estep, Buddy’s Home Furnishings, Tampa, Florida
Patrick, a previous APRO scholarship recipient, graduated from the University of Alabama magna cum laude as a part of the honors program, where he participated in research projects that went through the academic review process. The objective of the study was to research heart stents and blood-flow problems in hopes of preventing stent failures, which affect 100,000 patients a year. As an undergraduate, Patrick served as a mentor for freshmen and was a volunteer math tutor for first graders. He has been accepted into the University of Alabama masters program, where he will research orthopedic biomechanics. He graduated with a 3.7 GPA.
Megan McNulty, Butler University, Beech Grove, Indiana
APRO Sponsor: Kevin McNulty, Rent-A-Center, Neenan, Wisconsin
Megan graduated from high school with an academic honors diploma and salutation of the graduating class. She was a member of the National Honor Society and received the Marion County Principal Association Award, High Academic Achievement Award and Presidential Achievement Award. Megan was involved in Winter Guard, Color Guard, Spanish Club, International Club, Science Olympiad, Academic Team, the school newspaper and yearbook, and as a Hornet Mentor. She helped raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation and volunteered at the Servants Heart Food Pantry and Fox Cities Marathon. Megan graduated with a 4.1 GPA.
Kiersten Scheele, University of Toledo, Zanesville, Ohio
APRO Sponsor: Jerry Scheele, Rent-A-Center, Zanesville, Ohio
Kiersten is a third-year APRO scholarship recipient, on course to do precisely what she promised when first awarded—attaining a recreational therapy degree with honors. She is a member of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity and is on the dean’s list. Kiersten volunteers for the Children’s Miracle Network, Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Relay for Life, campus clean-up crew and helps prepare care packages for troops overseas. She volunteered 200 hours at the Perceptual Motor Development Clinic, helping special-needs children improve their motor skills. She has been accepted into the occupational therapy doctorate program and has a 3.8 GPA.
Danielle Schultz, University of Texas at San Antonio, Frisco, Texas
APRO Sponsor: Jennifer Gallagher, Rent-A-Center, Plano, Texas
Danielle graduated as a member of the National Honor Society and the National High School Association for Scholars. She was a member of the varsity volleyball team, as well as the Spanish Club and Cultural Awareness Club, where she was treasurer for three years. Danielle completed more than 200 hours of community service through the Interact Club. She has volunteered her time helping the Frisco Public Library, Prairie Estate Nursing Home, Booster Club and Frisco Miracle League, which assists children with mental and physical disabilities. Danielle graduated with a 4.38 weighted GPA.
Kelsey Solarz, Kent University, Lakewood, Ohio
APRO Sponsor: Matthew Solarz, Eagle Rental Purchase, Akron, Ohio
Kelsey is a second-time APRO scholarship recipient. In addition to being a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, this year she was accepted into two additional honor societies, the National Society of Leadership and Success and the International Golden Key Honor Society. She is a member of the Kent Interhall Council, where she helps coordinate school activities and charitable fundraisers, and is a member of the Students for Practical Nursing. Kelsey tutors underclassmen weekly and volunteers for service days—which give tours of the campus to inner-city youth—helps raise funds for Goodwill, the Salvation Army, Relay for Life and campus Stress Dogs. She also started a program called “Jump In,” which helps incoming freshmen at Kent State. Kelsey holds a 3.86 GPA.
Hunter Wines, James Madison University, Yorktown, Virginia
APRO Sponsor: Michael Wines, Bestway, Norfolk, Virginia
Hunter’s father has worked in the rent-to-own industry for 22 years and has been a role model for Hunter “by putting the well-being of others before himself.” Hunter raised money for the Sarah Bonwell Hudgens Foundation (for children with physical and mental disabilities) and Relay for Life. He is a student council officer and a member of the National Honor Society and Math Honor Society. He also is on the varsity cross-country and baseball teams. Hunter graduated with a 3.68 GPA.
APRO's 2013 Educational Scholarship Recipients ($3000)
Nick Elkik, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia
APRO Sponsor: Ann Elkik, Aaron’s, Atlanta, Georgia
In high school, Nick was involved in the Key Club, Mane Link, DECA, Relay for Life and a St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop. He provided 185 community service hours helping with special-needs kids, campus clean-ups, food drives, clothing donations and spending time at retirement homes. Nick was a part of the Student Government Club, setting up school dances for special-education students and learning leadership skills. He was the 2013 DECA Student of the Year and placed ninth in Georgia’s statewide business law and ethics test. Nick graduated with a 3.57 GPA.
Jordan Levy, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Slidell, Louisiana
APRO Sponsor: Danielle Ricke-Levy, Aaron’s, Slidell, Louisiana
Jordan is a member of the National Honor Society, Mock Trial, Students Against Substance Abuse, Art Club, History Club, choir and Sanctity of Life. She volunteered at the local soup kitchen and was team captain for the Down Syndrome Association of New Orleans Buddy Walk for five years. Jordan graduated with a 3.6 GPA.
Alexis Miller, Oakland University, Sturgis, Michigan
APRO Sponsor: Brett Miller, Premier Rental Purchase, Sturgis, Michigan
Alexis spent her high school years participating in Leo Club and Key Club, where she helped with charities such as Boots and Shoes and the Salvation Army. She was chosen as the Freshman Focus Mentor, where she volunteers to tutor underclassmen and work at a camp preparing freshmen for high school. She also helped tutor second graders after school several times a week. Alexis graduated with a 3.5 GPA and was part of the National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society and the National Art Honor Society.
Taylor Mullins, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Bloomington, Indiana
APRO Sponsor: Terry Mullins, American Rental, Bloomington, Indiana
Taylor was selected to be a member of the Leadership Academy where they would organize school events, attend the annual leadership conference learning team building activities and act as mentors for incoming freshmen. She was the editor in chief of her senior school yearbook directing all aspects of the school’s yearbook. She was the captain of her senior basketball and track teams and graduated with a GPA of 3.375.
Raj Patel, Georgia Institute of Technology, Woodstock, Georgia
APRO Sponsor: Krutika Patel, Aaron’s, Kennesaw, Georgia
Raj graduated as valedictorian with 12 AP courses completed. During high school, he was a member of Math Honors Society, Math Team, Science Olympiad Team and Robotics Club. As president of the Math Honors Society, he helped create math-based board games to help elementary students further understand mathematical thought. Raj participated and placed in robot competitions and helped tutor underclassmen on the concepts of robotics, design and programming. He was named his school’s most outstanding math and science student for the past two years and has been accepted into Georgia’s Governor’s Honors Program. Raj graduated with a 98.7 GPA.
Rachel Sprayberry, William Woods University, Rockford, Illinois
APRO Sponsor: John Sprayberry, Premier Rental Purchase, Dixon, Illinois
Rachel spent her high school years involved in the student council, band and mock trial competitions. She was a member of the Key Club and a recipient of the Key Club Award. As a part of the Key Club, she participated in the Breast Cancer Walk, Homeless Walk, Becca’s Closet, Special Olympics and Salvation Army toy drive. She also helped organize the Swing into Spring Dance for the elderly and many other major school events. Rachel graduated with a 3.4 GPA.
APRO's 2013 Educational Scholarship Recipients ($2,500)
Chris Bingham, Emory & Henry College, Emory, Virginia
APRO Sponsor:Mike Bingham, Aaron’s Sales and Lease Ownership, Atlanta, Georgia
Chris is a two-time APRO scholarship recipient. He has made Emory & Henry’s Dean’s List the past two semesters and is a member of the first-year Honor Society. Chris is a modern-day Renaissance man, participating in both scholarly and athletic activities in college, while having been a thespian in high school. He volunteered at the local food pantry, highway clean-up and the annual Relay for Life, which raises money for cancer research. Chris holds a 3.67 GPA.
Michael Elkik, University of Georgia, Kennesaw, Georgia
APRO Sponsor: Ann Elkik, Aaron’s, Atlanta, Georgia
Michael is one of APRO’s three-time scholarship recipients. This year, he received the Community Developer Award as the resident assistant for university housing. He was accepted into the Terry School of Accounting, one of the top 15 accounting schools in the nation and will coach for two Terry Business School summer camps for high school students. He continues to participate in DECA competitions and has reached the international level in those competitions. He maintains his position on the Dean’s List and has a 3.8 GPA.
Coltin Griffith, Western Kentucky University, Cane Ridge, Tennessee
APRO Sponsor: Steven Griffith, Bestway Rent-to-Own
Coltin graduated with honors from a local magnet school. He participated in the National French Honor Society, Friends of the Nashville Humane Society, Cultures of the World Chess Club, Book Club and Anime Club. He volunteered with Hands on Nashville, helping clean up high schools, coordinating events and being a senior buddy for incoming freshmen. Coltin also volunteered a significant number of hours on clean-up duty after the devastating flood in Nashville in 2010. He graduated with a 3.35 GPA.
Brianna Guy, University of West Alabama, Saraland, Alabama
APRO Sponsor: Jacob Guy, Baber’s, Saraland, Alabama
Brianna was a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Honor Society for Mathematics, marching band and concert band and graduated with an Honor in Distinction medal. She participated in National Honor Society Leadership Conferences and volunteered to help the elderly in their homes, tornado relief victims, provide food to the homeless and as a math tutor. Brianna graduated with a 3.6 GPA.
Faith Jennings, University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, Nicholasville, Kentucky
APRO Sponsor: Steven “Brent” Jennings, Rent-A-Center, Nicholasville, Kentucky
This is Faith’s third APRO scholarship; the association has helped fund her college graduation and her first year in a pharmacy doctorate program. Faith graduated summa cum laude in the honors program. She was on the dean’s list seven of eight semesters and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Faith graduated college with a 3.8 GPA.
Madison Mahaffy, Florida State University, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
APRO Sponsor: James Mahaffy, Aaron’s, Orange Park, Florida
Madison is a sophomore at Florida State University. She is involved with Service for Sight, Relay for Life, the Children’s Miracle Network and she volunteers to help assisted-living patients. She serves as the junior delegate for the Panhellenic Leadership Council and was selected among several thousand to attend its Leadership Conference. Madison is a member of the Phi Etma Sigma National Honor Society and is on the dean’s list with a GPA of 3.3.
Emily Miller, New York University, Blaine, Minnesota
APRO Sponsor: Michael Miller, Rent-A-Center, Columbia Heights, Minnesota
Emily is a member of the student council and mentor to younger students through her school’s Link Leader program. She participates in the Informative Speaker program and helps students with problems through peer-mediation. Emily was in the national honors program and contributed 150 hours of volunteer work through tutoring, clean-up duties and Gift of Plenty, which provides hot meals to the needy. She participates in Keeping in Touch in London, England, helping the elderly with day-to-day activities and to overcome technology barriers. Emily graduated with a 3.68 GPA.
Sara Morack, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Frisco, Texas
APRO Sponsor: Jim Morack, Rent-A-Center, Plano, Texas
Sara, who is interning at Rent-A-Center this summer, is on a mission to save the planet. As a junior studying biology, she is a member of the SEEDS and Sea Turtle clubs, which focus on issues related to helping the environment. Sara is an honors student and volunteers in a freshmen mentoring program. She is the senior resident advisor for on-campus housing, where she plans educational programs, helps resolve issues between students and plans resident-assistant staff meetings. Sara holds 3.0 GPA.
Za’Kazia Morgan, Kennesaw State University, Forest Park, Georgia
APRO Sponsor: Roni Marshall, Rent-A-Center, Stockbridge, Georgia
Za’Kazia wants to help troubled children become successful adults. She has demonstrated her commitment through high school activities, volunteering as a reading/writing tutor for children and their parents and in the Reading Across America program. She is a member of the Key Club, where she participated in Christmas toy and food drives, and was part of a local walk for cancer. Other school activities included raising awareness of Black History Month. Za’Kazia graduated with a 3.6 GPA.
APRO's 2013 Educational Scholarship Recipients ($2,000)
Chaz Bregg, South Carolina Art and Design, Greer, South Carolina
APRO Sponsor: Alan Bregg, Rent-n-Roll, Greenville, South Carolina
Chaz has been in honors classes throughout high school, excelling in math and art. During the past several summers, he has participated as part of a group of volunteers making youth mission trips to cities in Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama to help repair and rebuild houses in poverty-stricken neighborhoods. Chaz graduated with a 3.6 GPA.
Taurus Lewis, University of South Alabama, Prichard, Alabama
APRO Sponsor: Shanicka Lewis, Baber’s, Saraland, Alabama
Taurus has been nurturing his education pursuits since he was in the second grade, when he was placed in the PACE program for academically gifted students. He researched foreign cultures, including Russian, Spanish and French. He participated in the Upward Bound program and was a member of the Kharisma Dance Co., Cisco—a computer networking class—and FCCLA, a family and leadership organization. He was also elected homecoming king and graduated with an honors diploma with a 3.4 GPA.
Brenna Travis, Texas A&M University–Commerce, Frisco, Texas
APRO Sponsor: Roger Travis, Rent-A-Center, Plano, Texas
Brenna spends her spare time volunteering at hospitals, caring for children, infants and newborns to give parents a needed break while also helping the hospitals’ nursing staff monitor infants’ vital signs. She was involved in theater and track throughout high school, earning school and University Interscholastic League recognition for her involvement. Brenna graduated with a GPA 3.3.
APRO's 2013 Educational Scholarship Recipients ($1,500)
Daniel Ainsworth, Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport, Louisiana
APRO Sponsor: Darrell Ainsworth, Rent One, Bossier, Louisiana
Daniel’s personal experience with the RTO industry began when he was a child—he received a Nintendo 64 through rent-to-own. Now, as a Rent One employee, he continues his RTO involvement. He has volunteered for Young Life, his church and at two children camps, washing dishes for 400 campers. Daniel holds a 4.0 GPA.
Eddie Ford, Austin Peay State University, Dickson, Tennessee
APRO Sponsor: Eddie Ford III, Bestway Rental, Counce, Tennessee
Eddie grew up with the rent-to-own world—his father has spent 20 years in the business. Eddie graduated from high school with honors and was eleventh in his class. He spent his high school years devoted to basketball as both a player and also helping coach the girls team each year. Eddie graduated with a 3.67 GPA.
Thomas Lusitana, Southern Illinois University, Carterville, Illinois
APRO Sponsor: Carolyn Lusitana, Rent One, St. Louis, Missouri
Tom is seeking a doctorate in philosophy. He wants to become a pastor to continue years of helping his community and the underprivileged. He has helped single mothers by providing free automobile advice and oil change coupons for the annual Angel Auto Care event and has participated in community annual clothes and backpack drives for the upcoming school year. Tom holds a GPA of 3.2.
APRO's 2012 Educational Scholarship Recipients ($5000)
Andrea Kirk, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama
APRO Sponsor: Kyle Kirk, Bestway, Jasper, Alabama
Andrea spends most of her time working, studying and helping her school. She volunteered with “Into the Streets” to help clean up the nature trails, organized a “Holiday Cheer” program for the elderly, “Crafting with Kids” for the elementary schools and volunteers at the zoo while being recognized with the presidential honors for her contributions. She works as a residents’ assistant in her university dorm to help finance her education and has a 3.95 GPA. She hopes to pass on her knowledge and kindness as a science teacher.
Kiersten Scheele, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio
APRO Sponsor: Jerry Scheele, Rent-A-Center, Zanesville, Ohio
Kiersten is a two-time APRO scholarship winner. She continues her volunteer work in occupational therapy, helping disabled children develop motor skills and enhance their social interaction. She has already donated 160 hours of her time in the past two years. Kiersten is also active helping the homeless, Children’s Miracle Network and the Abilities Center of Greater Toledo. She currently has a 3.7 GPA.
Kelsey Solarz, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
APRO Sponsor: Matthew Solarz, Eagle Rental-Purchase, Cleveland, Ohio
Kelsey is a sophomore holding a 4.0 grade point average. She is on the Dean’s List, President’s List and was chosen as a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Kelsey is an active participant in the Practical Nursing and Kent Interhall Council, is the team leader for her American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. She is also an accomplished singer. She works two part-time jobs while helping take care of her grandmother, who has cancer, and her brother, who has epilepsy. Kelsey plans to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
APRO's 2012 Educational Scholarship Recipients ($4000)
Michael Elkik, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
APRO Sponsor: Ann Elkik, Aaron’s Sales and Lease Ownership, Kennesaw, Georgia
Michael is an APRO scholarship recipient for the second time and is highly motivated to continue the path that led him to receive last year’s scholarship. In his first year of college, Michael joined the 4H Club, helping clean the rivers in the area. He joined the UGA HEROs to raise money for the financially unstable and HIV/AIDS-affected children and he participates in his dorm’s philanthropy committee. He made the Dean’s List this year with a 3.77 GPA.
Haley Sims, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
APRO Sponsor: Jeffery Keller, Eagle Rental-Purchase, Cleveland, Ohio
With two jobs, a rigorous training schedule and full-time class schedule, sophomore Haley Sims makes the most of her time. She is a College of Allied Health Sciences representative and competes in the many campus health challenges as well as charity races such as Relay for Life and St. John Run for Charity. Haley volunteers for Meals on Wheels and the University of Cincinnati Early Learning Center. She has a 3.25 GPA and is working on a nutrition and exercise physiology degree.
APRO's 2012 Educational Scholarship Recipients ($3000)
Jafon Fearson, University of Missouri School of Law, Columbia, Missouri
APRO Sponsor: Shirley Fearson, Rent-A-Center, Phenix City, Alabama
With the help of last year’s APRO scholarship, Jafon graduated from the University of Alabama as the undergraduate commencement keynote speaker. He volunteered in the Mayor’s Office Youth Services Christmas Toy Giveaway and the university’s Blazer Male Excellence Network mentoring program. He was a member of the President’s List and the Order of Mega Honor Society. Jafon now takes his scholarship and fertile mind in pursuit of a law degree.
Courtney Grantham, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee
APRO Sponsor: David Grantham, Bestway, Clarksville, Tennessee
Courtney grew up with rent-to-own—her father has been in the RTO business for 24 years. Courtney is transferring to Bethel University with a 4.0 GPA. As a freshman at Austin Peay University, she was a member of the Honors Society and spent time with Young Life to mentor children and volunteer in community service activities. She plans to graduate with a business degree.
Faith Jennings, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
APRO Sponsor: Steven “Brent” Jennings, Rent-A-Center, Nicholasville, Kentucky
This year, Faith receives her second APRO scholarship while she continues her education as a senior pursuing a psychology degree. Faith spent four days in Mississippi helping rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Other charitable endeavors include tutoring children in Appalachia, volunteering for the National Parks Service and assisting children with Dravet’s syndrome. Faith aspires to attend the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy after graduation.
Dylan McLean, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, St. Louis, Missouri
APRO Sponsor: Terry McLean, Rent One, Mt. Vernon, Illinois
Dylan grew up with the rent-to-own industry; his father has worked in the industry for the past 22 years. Dylan is entering the St. Louis School of Pharmacy as an active member of his high school, where he is a member of the student council and editor of the school newspaper. Dylan volunteered at a no-kill animal shelter and has organized the Angel Tree Christmas for those in need in his community. He has been on the honor roll every semester and received the Southern Illinois Society for High School Achievement Award.
Cristina Villarroel, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
APRO Sponsor: Cristobol Villarroel, Rent-A-Center, Hialeah, Florida
Cristina holds a 3.67 GPA at the University of Florida. She wants to be a lawyer and, as preparation, she won first place in a mock trial tournament. She is co-director of community service for her pre-law fraternity where she has helped coordinate various projects such as road clean-ups, visiting cancer patients and being team captain for the Relay of Life race. She also helps mentor high school students regarding eating disorders and self-esteem.
APRO's 2012 Educational Scholarship Recipients ($2000)
Chris Bingham, Emory & Henry College, Emory, Virginia
APRO Sponsor: Mike Bingham, Aaron’s Sales and Lease Ownership, Atlanta, Georgia
When Chris was not performing as the cowardly lion in his high school’s production of The Wizard of Oz, he was being recognized as a scholar-athlete award winner. High school activities also included participation in student government, volunteer clubs, “Mary’s Letters,” which helps those in assisted-living facilities keep in touch with friends and families, and Valentine’s Day card making for children in the hospital. Chris also participated in the Cancer Relay for Life for the past three years. He is a recipient of McDonald’s Ray Kroc Youth Achievement Award.
Molly Bliss, University of South Carolina Upstate, Spartanburg, South Carolina
APRO Sponsor: Robert Bliss, Rent-A-Center, Milford, Delaware
Molly spent her high school years immersed in track and field as the team co-captain and she played on the varsity soccer team. She is a member of the Future Farmers of America, Varsity Club, Honors Society and Spanish Honor Society. Molly volunteered as a kindergarten soccer coach and, for the past three years, in the U Just Ask toy drive at her church. She graduated with a 3.9 GPA and will pursue a degree in biology.
Patrick Estep, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama
APRO Sponsor: Roger Estep, Aaron’s Sales and Lease Ownership, Albertville, Alabama
Patrick is a college senior pursuing a biomedical engineering degree. He has spent many hours during his college years mentoring fellow students. He also mentors through the Campfire USA program “Links Up,” where he helps guide at-risk students. The program emphasizes self development, self esteem, trust and friendship. Patrick holds a 3.8 GPA and is on his way to graduating magna cum laude.
Melissa Lunsford, Cisco College, Cisco, Texas
APRO Sponsor: Scott Lunsford, Briley Investments, Abilene, Texas
Melyssa grew up in the rent-to-own industry watching her father’s customer service philosophy: “kill the customer with kindness.” She spent her high school years playing softball, basketball and being the football team’s athletic trainer. For the past four years, she has volunteered for the Loving Care Ministries, preparing food and feeding the homeless every Wednesday. She volunteers for the All Texas Youth Football League and the YMCA’s Tri Hi Y, where she learns leadership skills and the necessity of community awareness. Melyssa will be playing softball for the Cisco College team.
Luis R. Perez, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, Massachusetts
APRO Sponsor: Luis Perez, Rent-A-Center, New Bedford, Massachusetts
Luis arrived in the U.S. from the Dominican Republic when he was in seventh grade. He has donated more than 300 hours of community service at the Gifts to Give factory, which provides clothes and school supplies to the poor. Luis has also traveled with his father—also named Luis—to Puerto Rico to help clean beaches as part of the AmeriCorps program. Having graduated from high school, he will be pursuing an accounting degree.
Michael Sonnenfelt, St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri
APRO Sponsor: Paul Sonnenfelt, Aaron’s Sales and Lease Ownership, Affton, Missouri
Michael graduated from high school with a 3.9 GPA. He spent his high school years as a member of the school’s Model United Nations team. He became one of the four lead delegates mentoring the underclass on diplomacy in foreign politics. The team he lead won the Model United Nations conference competition held at Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois. Michael is pursuing a degree in engineering.
APRO's 2012 Educational Scholarship Recipients ($1000)
Harrison Daniel, Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas
APRO Sponsor: Timothy Daniel, FAN Sales and Leasing, dba Aaron’s Sales and Lease Ownership, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Harrison spent his high school days volunteering as a camp counselor, teacher’s aide for children with disabilities and pantry organizer for a local food bank. He was the Optimist Club Faulkner County Teen of the Month, Conway Christian School honor graduate with a 4.0 GPA and was an Arkansas Governor’s Distinguished Scholar. Harrison has been working as a product technician in his sponsoring Aaron’s Sales and Lease Ownership store.
Christian Dunlap, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
APRO Sponsor: Nancy Dunlap, Countryside Rentals, Bainbridge, Ohio
Chris is receiving his second APRO scholarship having fulfilled last year’s commitment to excel at Southern State Community College and be accepted to Ohio University. He was named on the Dean’s List, the President’s list and received an accommodation letter from Ohio House Representative Clifford Rosenberger. He was a captain of a college research team and tutored other teammates and classmates during the session.
Katy Hudspeth, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma
APRO Sponsor: Susan Hudspeth, Rent-A-Center, Plano, Texas
Katie plans to graduate with a speech pathology degree then continue on to get her doctorate. She has spent her years at OSU as a member of the National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association and Kappa Delta. She has volunteered for the Prevent Child Abuse program and the Stillwater Domestic Violence Center. Katie has been on the Dean’s List and President’s Honor Role throughout her time at college and she maintains a 3.6 GPA.
Andrew Korst, University of Texas, Austin, TX
APRO Sponsor: Chris Korst, Rent-A-Center, Plano, Texas
Andrew’s high school counselor has said that, “Andrew is a Renaissance man.” Through his success in choir, football, drama, the senior board, student council and as a member of the Honor Society, Andrew exemplifies the Renaissance spirit. He is a National Merit Commended student and Advance Placement Scholar. He also spends time as a leader in his church and has led mission trips to aid people in need across the U.S.
Jimiah Williams, Berry College, Mount Berry, Georgia
APRO Sponsor: Natasha Riddick, Aaron’s Sales and Lease Ownership, Atlanta, Georgia
Jimiah graduated from high school as a member of DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America), the National Honor Society and the Student Government Association as senior class vice president. She volunteers at Relay for Life, local parks and her school. She graduated with a 3.8 GPA.
APRO's 2011 Educational Scholarship Recipients ($3000)
Kaylie Scherer, Indiana University
APRO Sponsor: Rick Sherer, American Rentals
National honor society, Academic Honors Diploma, Washington Leadership Program, Washington, D.C. intern. Volunteer for Special Olympics, Community Kitchen, local food bank, nursing homes and teaching gardening at the local elementary schools.
Faith Jennings, University of Kentucky
APRO Sponsor: Brent Jennings, Rent-A-Center
Salutatorian, Beta Club, National Honor Society, Kentucky Governor's Scholar, Captain of the speech team and academic team. Volunteered 60 hours of community service.
Dean's List every semester but one. 3.7 GPA.
APRO's 2011 Educational Scholarship Recipients ($2500)
Jennifer DeBouse, Capella University
Aaron's University Training Administrator
Jennifer has worked for Aarons for the past three years. She manages the Aaron's University database, schedules training sessions and provides technical support for Aaron's University issues.
Jennifer helped create an alliance with Aaron's and Capella University creating and Alliance Partnership Agreement to help Aarons associates attain a college degree. When Jennifer isn't helping at Aaron's, she volunteers for Second Chance Career and Development Center, Project Healthy Grandparents and Hope House for Women.
Chad Jasman, University of Michigan
APRO Sponsor: James Jasman, Rent-A-Center
Chad grew up with rent-to-own watching his father work for the rent-to-own industry for nearly 20 years. Chad graduated High School with a 4.0 GPA and being named as an academic all state athlete.
Chad plays college baseball and was named on the 2010 NJCAA Academic All-American team. When Chad is not fielding baseballs, he is volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and the local homeless shelter.
Kiersten Scheele, University of Toledo
APRO Sponsor: Jerry Scheele, Rent-A-Center
Kiersten graduated high school with a 4.0 and an Honors Diploma. She volunteered for the local animal shelter and the Salvation Army while working her part-time job.
At the University of Toledo, she is a member of the Dean's list and was recently accepted into the Phi Eta Sigma National Honors Society due to her academic excellence. Kiersten also spent her freshman and sophomore years volunteering for the American Red Cross and 80 hours of volunteer work for children with disabilities to help her fulfill her goal obtaining a degree in occupational therapy.
APRO's 2011 Educational Scholarship Recipients ($2000)
Christian Dunlap, Southern State Community College
APRO Sponsor: Nancy Dunlap, Countryside Rentals
Christian recently graduated high school with a 3.98 GPA as a member of the National Honors Society. Christian spent his high school years as a treasurer for the 4H club, High School Football Captain and the FFA.
Christian also took time out as a mentor and tutor fellow classmates. Christian will be attending Southern State Community College to then transfer to Ohio State University.
Tyler Heck, Union Collate at Schenectady, New York
APRO Sponsor: Greg Heck, Great Rentals
Tyler spent his life working at his father's Great Rentals rent-to-own stores in Utica and Rome, NY.
Tyler has seen firsthand the power of rent-to-own to give those Americans "the opportunity to make the unaffordable affordable". Tyler maintains a 3.95 GPA while starting for the Division III College Baseball team.
Jafon Fearson, University of Alabama
APRO Sponsor: Shirley Fearson, Rent-A-Center
RAC's Shirley Fearson spent many years working hard for her family so her son Jafon made sure to honor her obtaining a college degree while helping others to do the same.
Jafon is in his senior year at the University of Alabama pursuing a Biomedical Engineering degree. Jafon knows the struggles of the African American males face during their educational pursuits so has spent his years at UA helping other African American males finish their degrees through the Blazer Male Excellence Network.
APRO's 2011 Educational Scholarship Recipients ($1500)
Kassie Barroso, Ivy Tech at Anderson, Indiana
APRO Sponsor: Joseph Stepke, Aaron's
Kassie is off to college "as a tribute to her hero" – her dad Joseph Stepke from Aarons. Joseph sacrificed years of hard work to make sure Kassie had the chance for college and she wants to thank her father and mother with a teaching degree.
Kassie spent her High School lettering in concert band and on the Rugby team. She participated in the ROTC and many other school activities.
Robert Sonnenfelt, St. Louis University
APRO Sponsor: Paul Sonnenfelt, Aaron's
Robert is a sophomore at St. Louis University pursuing a degree in Political Science. Robert spent his High School years as a member of the Model United Nations, varsity soccer and the National Honor Society.
He continues his political involvement at SLU as an active member of the College Republicans and the Student Conduct Board.
Matthew Bowen, Francis Marion University
APRO Sponsor: Kenneth Bowen, Rent-A-Center
Matthew has excelled in education all of his life. He graduated high school with a weighted 4.297 GPA and maintains a 4.0 GPA at Francis Marion University.
Matthew gives back as much as possible through Toys for Tots donations, canned food and clothing drives to the point of being "happily dunked in a dunking booth for hours" for these causes.
APRO's 2011 Educational Scholarship Recipients ($1000)
Dusty Ray, Vincennes University
Rent One Regional Manager
Rent One "Regional Manager of the Year" Dusty Ray is completing his marketing degree at Vincennes University. Dusty was also Rent One's "Employee of the Year".
Dusty is an active member of the local chamber of commerce volunteering time and efforts for the many community events both as a Rent One employee and as a citizen.
Christopher Willman-Bunge, Penn State – Mont Alto
APRO Sponsor: Martha Willman, Blue Ribbon Rentals
Christopher grew up in a one-parent household and knows the financial hardships well. While in high school, Christopher participated in the orchestra and choir.
He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout with a specialty World Conservation Award. He plans to pursue English as a writer/reporter.
Michael Elkik, University of Georgia
APRO Sponsor: Ann Elkik, Aaron's
Michael graduated high school with a weighted 4.1 GPA and an un-weighted 3.8 GPA. During high school, Michael worked with "Shop with a Mustang" sponsoring an underprivileged child.
Michael was president of DECA, the school's business club and winning business competitions at the local, state and international levels.
Brittany Smith, North Carolina State University
APRO Sponsor: Shawna Smith, Rent-A-Center
Brittany completed her junior year at North Carolina State University. Her family grew up struggling through economic hard times but always kept a focus on education.
She was awarded a fellowship from the Organizational Science Summer Institute and studied abroad in Mexico. Brittany has volunteered for Salvation Army. Tutors middle school children as a part of work-study program and volunteers for the "Strengthening the Black Family" non-profit helping with diabetes prevention and promoting health and wellness.
Jordan Miller, Virginia Tech
APRO Sponsor: John Miller, Premier Rentals
Jordan Miller graduated high school with a 3.9 GPA earning him admission to Virginia Tech. Jordan is actively involved in his church, helping the under-served on church missions in Memphis and Baltimore.
He also donates his time and labor to the poor and elderly and now serves on his church's parish council.
Cole Weir, Brigham Young University
APRO Sponsor: Mike Weir, TUR, Inc. dba Aaron's
Cole just graduated high school with a 3.78 GPA. Cole demonstrated his leadership skills through his school's wrestling and football team.
He spent most of his energy on the wrestling team working up to team captain while excelling in his studies.
2011 APRO Member Franchise Company, Rent n Roll, Dedicated Scholarships
$2500 Scholarship Winners
Brandon Burrell, Rent-n-Roll/Baber's Mobile, AL
Jessica Darnell, Rent-n-Roll Rogers, AR
Kelly Pierce, RNR Custom Wheels Las Vegas, NV