May 15, 2021
by Michael Kormos, Corsicana Daily Sun
This year’s M.C. and Mattie Caston Scholarship recipients each excelled in their academic careers and personal lives, through extracurricular activities and volunteer work.
The Navarro Educational Foundation awarded the 2021 M.C. and Mattie Caston Scholarships Tuesday at a luncheon to: Shanthal Blancas, Emma Cate, Torie Davis, Drew Denbow, Eve Dixon, Hannah Carlilse, Noheli Jimenez, A.J. Johnson, Arjun Nair, Carson Reed, Helen Zhang and Lisa Jimerson.
The first M.C. and Mattie Caston Scholarships were awarded in 1983 to deserving high school seniors who met specific academic and leadership criteria. The foundation has since awarded scholarships and grants with a combined value exceeding $6,377,680.
According to Dr. Dave Campbell, Chairman of the Navarro College Educational Foundation, little is known about the scholarship’s benefactors other than they were a childless couple with big hearts.
Since 1983, more than 700 seniors have received these scholarships and have furthered their education at Navarro College.
Applicants from Navarro, Ellis, Freestone, Leon, and Limestone counties are given priority.
2021 Caston Bios:
Shanthal Blancas is a graduate of Corsicana High School, where she excelled in the classroom as well as in extracurricular activities. She was a member of FCCLA, the National Honor Society, Student Council, and the Health Occupations Students of America. As a Navarro student, she was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for two-year colleges. She served as captain of the Calicos Dance team for two years and volunteered for several causes including Relay for Life and the Fallen Officers fundraiser. All this while also holding a part-time job. She will attend the University of Texas in Austin to prepare for a career as a dentist.
Emma Cate will graduate from Frost High School as valedictorian of her class at the same time she will receive her associate degree from Navarro College with a perfect 4.0 GPA. In high school in addition to her academic achievements, she participated in UIL, FFA, Beta Club, and Student Council and has volunteered at the local community center and the food pantry. In the fall she will attend Texas A&M University, where she will be a student in the highly esteemed Mays Business School, where she will pursue a degree in accounting and management information systems.
Torie Davis is a graduate of Mildred High School. At Navarro, she excelled in the classroom while working part-time to defray the costs of college. Among her jobs during high school and college were in the Navarro County Auditor’s Office and the Navarro County District Clerk’s office, positions which require dependability and attention to detail. In the fall she will transfer to Tarleton State University to pursue a degree in Social Work. Upon completion of her degree her plan is to return to Navarro County to begin her career and give back to the community that has supported her in her academic journey.
Drew Denbow excelled in the classroom as well as on the athletic field, serving as captain of high school football team. He graduated in the top 10% of his class at Corsicana High School and received Distinguished Caston Scholarship to attend Navarro College. He enrolled in the Petroleum Technology program and is highly regarded by his professor in that program. They comment on his intelligence, work ethic, character, his leadership skills, and his determination to be successful. He will graduate from Navarro with a 3.88 GPA. In the fall he will attend Texas A&M to pursue a degree in finance.
Eve Dixon is also a Corsicana High School graduate, finishing in the top 2% of her class. At CHS she was a member of the National Honor Society and excelled in the Fine Arts Department with her involvement in the choir and numerous theatrical productions and musicals. She also participated in debate and UIL literary criticism. She will graduate from Navarro with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Her plan is to transfer to Brigham Young University where she has been accepted into the English major program.
Hannah Carlilse is also a Corsicana High School Graduate, finishing in the top 10% of her class. At CHS she was a member of the National Honor Society, the Corsicana Tiger Theater Company, and participated in UIL debate, poetry, and headline writing. She was also selected to walk the runway in New York City during Fashion Week. At Navarro she was active in the theater program, performing in Dr. Shellie O’Neal’s productions. In the fall she will transfer to Sam Houston State University, enrolling in the Department of Theater and Musical theater. She has also been accepted into Sam Houston’s Honor College.
Noheli Jimenez ranks second in her graduating class at Corsicana High School. She has excelled in the classroom while involved in numerous extracurricular activities, including tennis, track, cross country, soccer, student council, FCCLA, the National Honor Society, the National Spanish Honor Society, the American Sign Language Club, and FFA. In the fall she will transfer to Texas A&M University to pursue a degree in animal science.
A.J. Johnson is an honor graduate of Corsicana High School, excelling in the classroom while involved in a number of extracurricular activities such as the National Honor Society, Debate, FCCLA, and Boy Scouts of America. Through these organizations he has volunteered numerous hours of community service, including Operation Christmas Child. He is also an accomplished musician as a percussionist. He has been accepted into the engineering program at Texas A&M and will concentrate on his studies on computer science.
Arjun Nair, valedictorian of his graduating class at Corsicana High School, will receive his associate’s degree from Navarro College with a perfect 4.0 GPA. In addition to his outstanding academic record, he has been involved in various campus activities such as debate, FCCLA, student council, National Honor Society, and UIL. He also volunteers at Navarro Regional Hospital, the local library, and the YMCA. In the fall he will enroll at the University of Texas at Austin to pursue a degree in computer engineering.
Carson Reed is an honor graduate of his class at Corsicana High School, the next recipient excelled academically and athletically as captain of the varsity golf team at CHS. He has also been active in FFA, 4H, Operation Christmas Child, Navarro Youth Expo, Navarro County Food Drive, and National Honor Society. While at Navarro, he worked as a spotter in the press box for Bulldog football games and assisted with the basketball team. He has been accepted into the College of Agriculture at Texas A&M, where he will pursue a double major in poultry science and Turfgrass science.
Helen Zhang is also a Corsicana High School graduate who will receive her high school diploma and associate’s degree from Navarro at this spring’s graduation ceremonies. At CHS she was involved in the National Honor Society, FCCLA, student council, and the Tiger tennis team, and band. She is also an accomplished pianist. Her plan is to transfer to the University of Texas in Austin to pursue a BBA degree with a focus on accounting and a minor in economics. She hopes to become a CPA and work at one of the big four accounting firms.
Lisa Jimerson has overcome numerous obstacles to achieve her educational goals. Having dropped out of school in the 8th grade and returning for the 9th grade, only to drop out again in the 10th grade, she eventually earned her GED at age 25 and enrolled in college. Being a single parent and working fulltime to provide for her children brought numerous challenges to continue her education. Despite times of discouragement, she persevered and will graduate this spring with a 4.0 GPA in her Navarro courses. Her plan is to continue her studies in the Texas A&M-Commerce/Navarro partnership to pursue a degree in education.
SOURCE: Corsicana Daily Sun