For DonorsFor Applicants

Ben Bonner Memorial Scholarship

Funded by
2 winners, $1,500 each
Application Deadline
Nov 30, 2023
Winners Announced
Dec 30, 2023
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior or trade student
Financial Status:

Ben Bonner was a beloved son and brother who brought light to the lives of everyone he knew. 

Ben was kind, compassionate, gentle, and a friend to everyone. He loved helping others in any way he could, including emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Ben strove to not let socioeconomic status get in the way of his friendships and wanted to uplift the underprivileged. 

This scholarship aims to honor Ben Bonner’s legacy by supporting low-income students who are interested in pursuing careers in the trades.

Any low-income undergraduate trades student or high school senior interested in trade school may apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, tell us why you’re passionate about the trade you’re pursuing and how you hope to give back to your community in the future.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published July 30, 2023
Essay Topic

Why are you passionate about the trade you are pursuing? What are some ways you plan to give back to your community in the future?

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Parker Gehrke
Advanced Welding InstituteWisconsin Rapids, WI
I was introduced to welding at the age of 13, which in my opinion is a young age to be introduced to such a skill. I am very thankful I was introduced to welding because no other trade/skill of any other line of work has piqued my interest as much as welding has. I loved this skill, that every time either a close friend, or family member was working on a project involving welding or manufacturing something out of nothing, I was right there getting my hands dirty. I was taught mainly from my uncle and Grandfather on how to weld, they gave me a few little tips and tricks to be a good welder, and to have patience in my work, but also to appreciate the artwork of a weld. Over the past summer I got the opportunity to visit A.W.I., in Eagle River, WI. The experience was amazing. I got to tour their facility and I could see the opportunities I’d have becoming a welder and pursuing my dream career. I was offered multiple opportunities to go and visit other tech colleges that had welding classes but for some reason A.W.I. stuck out to me as the best school to tend to and complete schooling. As a tradesman, my hope is to become a traveling welder. I want to make a comfortable living, while being a part of a company that offers room for growth and quality improvement opportunities. I feel that safety is a very important and crucial part to not only welding, but in any line of everyday work. Being prepared daily, by wearing the proper welding gear, is imperative to the job and producing a quality product. Practicing good routines and not short-skirting the system also lowers the risk of casualties in the work environment to yourself and others around you. Receiving this scholarship would be incredibly helpful in paying for my college tuition for AWI, because it would ease the burden off my mother who has raised me for the past eighteen years of my life. Her and I are planning to pay for my college tuition without federal funding assistance, so every little bit of money from scholarships will be extremely helpful, and greatly appreciated. The past five years of my life I have been working to pull my weight and pay for most of my own things from this past summer to present. I’m currently working on a dairy farm, working for such a demanding business has taught me never to quit even when the tuff times hit. It has also taught me to keep pushing forward this line of work has also instilled a great amount of discipline and turned me into a hard-working machine that does not stop until the work is finished, and most importantly, to keep coming back every day. For most of the summer until school started, I was working 10 to 12 hours a day at the age of 17, for seven days a week. This type of work has shown me that it's not easy getting up and going to work when everyone else is sleeping but I appreciated every minute of it and still do. This job also taught me to get my hands dirty and not be afraid to learn new things, but also to appreciate what I have and who I have with me. Thank You for considering me for this scholarship opportunity.
John Brown
Merryville High SchoolMerryville, LA
As I stand on the cusp of adulthood, I can't help but be exhilarated by the prospects that lie ahead. Among those possibilities, my unwavering passion for becoming a residential electrician has ignited a flame within me that I know will guide my path towards a fulfilling and impactful career. The combination of technical prowess, problem-solving capabilities, and the inherent desire to serve my community are what fuel this deep passion within me. The world of residential electricians holds a powerful allure for me for several reasons. First and foremost, I am captivated by the intricate and ever-evolving nature of electrical systems. The fusion of science, technology, and precision that is needed to wire a residence impeccably fascinates me. To have the ability to manipulate electrical currents with precision and ensure the safety and functionality of a home is nothing short of incredible. In addition, being a residential electrician allows me to make a direct impact on the lives of individuals and families within my community. By providing the essential service of power and safety, I can contribute to creating comfortable and secure living environments for others. This sense of responsibility and dedication drives me to excel in acquiring the knowledge and skills required in this field. Giving Back to the Community: Beyond my enthusiasm for electrical systems, I believe that giving back to one's community is an essential aspect of a successful career. As a young aspiring residential electrician, I plan to channel my skills and resources into supporting those in need within my community. One way I intend to give back is by actively participating in pro-bono electrical work for low-income households. By providing my services free of charge, I can contribute to building a more equitable world and improve the lives of those who may not have the means to afford essential electrical repairs or updates. I firmly believe that every individual deserves a safe and functional living environment, regardless of their financial situation. Moreover, I plan to join local volunteer organizations that focus on community development and disaster relief efforts. Whether it be helping in the aftermath of natural disasters or supporting the implementation of renewable energy solutions in underserved areas, my goal is to employ my expertise as an electrician to positively impact my community's resilience and sustainability. By engaging in these various community-oriented initiatives, I hope not only to uplift the lives of others but also to inspire and mentor aspiring electricians. Sharing my knowledge and experiences, I aim to encourage young individuals to consider pursuing careers in the electrical trade and, in turn, contribute to the growth and development of my community. Becoming a residential electrician is not simply about fixing wires and restoring electrical functionality. It is about being an ally to the community, ensuring the safety and comfort of homes, and embodying the values of service and empathy. My unwavering passion for this trade drives me to continuously hone my skills and knowledge, not only for personal growth but to have a lasting impact on the lives of others. In the pursuit of my aspirations, I am eagerly committed to giving back to my community. Through pro-bono services, volunteering, and mentoring, I aspire to make a positive contribution and inspire future generations to embrace the rewarding path of electrical work. With the support of this scholarship, I will be able to further my education and training, ultimately becoming a reputable residential electrician who empowers his community. I wholeheartedly appreciate your consideration and the opportunity to be a catalyst for change, one wire at a time. Thank you.
Jonathan Pressley
Mitchell High SchoolBakersville, NC
Hello, my name is Jonathan Pressley and I am planning to pursue a career in automotive technology. I have worked as an automotive apprentice for four years and I have been a certified apprentice for one year. I have a background in automotive service and parts sales. I have worked in a local parts city store for two years. I have now begun working in their mechanic shop part-time. I have acquired a fair amount of my experience from B&J Auto and my father (Automotive Instructor at MHS). In addition to my experience, I acquired my ASE G1 maintenance and light repair certification in June of 2021. I have also earned my entry-level certification in electrical and brakes. I have applied to TCAT (Tennessee College of Applied Technology) in Elizabethton TN. I intend to get my master technician ASE certification; with this, I plan to own and operate my own shop and business. I became interested in the automotive industry through my father. My father has his own ASE certifications, owned his own shop, and is the automotive instructor at Mitchell High School, located in Bakersville NC. I've had experience dealing with the public and first-hand experience with running a business. I intend to go through TCAT’s automotive program and their heavy diesel programs. I have personally built many custom classic cars and have one of my own. I enjoy new and old cars and I am impartial to domestic, imported cars, and trucks. I would like to focus my own business on modifying and installing aftermarket parts. I would also like to install radio and sound systems. In conclusion, I would like to thank you for this opportunity. By giving me the chance to earn this scholarship, you will help lighten my financial burden, which will allow me to focus more on school. The generosity you have shown me has inspired me to help others in the community; which I hope to do by owning my own business. I hope I will also be able to help other students in the future, strive for their goals, and never give up.
Joseph Yamin
Regina Caeli AcademySaint Clair, MI
My name is Joseph Yamin, I'm a young man graduating high school this year. I'm from a low-income family who is planning on attending "Harmel Academy of the trades" in Grand Rapids this fall. I've always loved the trades because I have always enjoyed working with my hands and breaking a good sweat. Also when I look at the trades I see them as an opportunity to become a better man. One that can act and work like a man should. I plan on becoming a master electrician. This was my choice for two reasons. The first was simple, I have done electrical work before and I took great joy in it. The second reason simply has to do with the financial support that I can receive from having such a job. When it comes to giving back to my community I've done this my entire life. From volunteering at homeless shelters, to volunteering at my local Parish. After I graduate from school I hope to be able to use my talents that I gained to better my community. For example as an electrician you are irreplaceable and can be used for many things. I personally know that paying for an electrician were any Tradesmen for that matter is a very expensive thing to do. I hope to be able to help families with low income be able to higher an electrician without selling an arm and a leg to do so. Thank you for the opportunity to get this scholarship it would mean the world. I look at what school is going to cost me because the school I plan on going to just recently. And then take into consideration that I don't have access to FASFA or any other form of government funding. so I'm solely relying on outside scholarships and my own funds being from a low-income family with a single mom relying on my own funds is very difficult. Thank you for this opportunity and God bless.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Nov 30, 2023. Winners will be announced on Dec 30, 2023.

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