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Georgia United Foundation Announces 2023 Scholarship Recipients

Mar 24, 2023

DULUTH, GA  – Georgia United Foundation is pleased to name six Georgia high school seniors as recipients of its 2023 Scholarship Competition. A total of $25,000 in scholarships were awarded to these deserving students who plan to attend college or a technical school during the 2023-2024 school year. This marks the 29th year of the scholarship program, named for Georgia United Credit Union’s founder and notable board members. 

During the tenure of the Georgia United scholarship program, a total of $363,000 has been distributed among 247 scholars. 

The foundation’s scholarship program encourages higher education-bound students to display their creativity through a one-minute video submission explaining how they will use their continuing education to help their community. Additional consideration is given to academic achievement, financial need, demonstrated leadership and participation in school and community activities.  

“We are thrilled to recognize these outstanding students for their hard work and achievements,” said Georgia United President and CEO Debbie Smith. “Georgia United Foundation makes it possible for us to continue our long-standing tradition of offering scholarships to high school seniors who are pursuing higher education. We wish this year’s scholars the best of luck and know they will make a difference in their communities.” 

Congratulations to the 2023 Georgia United Foundation Scholarship recipients:  

•     $5,000 Vernon E. Carne Scholarship – Isaiah Fleming, Arabia Mountain High School  

•     $5,000 Geraldine Tilson Scholarship – Akili Smith, Parkview High School 

•     $5,000 Polly Hinde Scholarship – Gabby Almon, Northwest Whitfield High School  

•     $5,000 Dorothy Dusenberry Pirkle Scholarship – Eres David, Eagle's Landing High School 

•     $2,500 Monsignor Stephen Churchwell Scholarship – Violet Riggle, Strong Rock Christian School 

•     $2,500 T. Randall Dennis Scholarship – Myra Ehrenberg, Ehrenberg Family School 

Vernon E. Carne Scholarship 

Isaiah Fleming of Arabia Mountain High School in Lithonia is a scholar athlete. He is a member of the National Honor Society and a four-year member of the varsity golf team. An officer in the National Society of Black Engineers, Isaiah is also a member of the Georgia Technology Student Association, representing his school at state leadership conferences and competitions. He is a three-year member of Google Code Next, which is a selective program where high school students are taught coding by Google engineers. He has been invited to represent Google Code Next at ATL Google Roundtables and Georgia Tech Professional Development Summits. Isaiah enjoys giving back to his community as evidenced by more than 300 hours of volunteer service during high school, and he especially enjoys working with the Ethiopian Community Association. He plans to attend historically Black university North Carolina A&T and major in computer science.  

Geraldine Tilson Scholarship  

Akili “RJ” Smith of Parkview High School in Lilburn is an academic honor roll student and member of the National Honor Society who is also captain of the Parkview marching band, a member of the concert band, a member of the Parkview Lady Panther varsity basketball team, a Junior Achievement 3DE Ambassador and a Peer Leader. Akili is also a member of the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) who enjoys volunteering with Camp Creek Elementary for student tours and orientations, providing music lessons for Trickum Middle School students and assisting at nearby New Mercies Food Pantry and Residence Center. She cites her parents for instilling strong values of service to others, hard work and a healthy respect for money management. She is looking forward to attending Florida A&M, a historically Black university, to study business administration with a focus on marketing and music. 

Polly Hinde Scholarship 

Andrea “Gabby” Almon of Northwest Whitfield High School near Varnell is a National Honor Society member with a 4.0 GPA who is passionate about bringing Georgia’s growing film industry to her hometown of Dalton. President of the drama club at her school, she has been nominated twice for the Governor’s Honors Program in theater and has competed and won one-act play competitions at the region level and placed at state, and earned recognition for creative costuming. Gabby has competed in mock trial and regional literary competitions and is an active community service volunteer through the Bruin Girls Service Club, the Ladies of Northwest and the Diversity Council. Recipient of the Girls Scouts of America Silver Award, Gabby also volunteers with children’s drama events. She is still waiting to make her final choice on a college that offers her desired major in theater performance and costume design.  

Dorothy Dusenberry Pirkle Scholarship 

Eres David of Eagle's Landing High School in McDonough considers herself a peacemaker and wants to study biomedical engineering with a minor in environmental policy to improve relations between people and the planet. A member of the National Honor Society, Eres is captain of both the Eagles Landing varsity volleyball team and her club volleyball team, Beta Club vice president, National Spanish Honor Society vice president, National English Honor Society secretary, Culinary Club founding president, Mu Alpha Theta activities coordinator and student council social media manager. She volunteers with Girl Scouts, Youth Leadership Henry, Jack and Jill of America and serves on the State School Superintendent Study Advisory Council. A finalist in the International Science and Engineering Fair, Eres is a Governor’s Honors participant and a member of Rho Kappa. She has been accepted at several colleges but has not yet decided where she will study and research in the biomedical field. 

Monsignor Stephen Churchwell Scholarship  

Violet Riggle of Strong Rock Christian School in Locust Grove plans to study nursing at Kennesaw State University to help medically fragile infants and children. Her lengthy list of extracurricular activities includes her school’s Student Government Association, Student Leadership Institute, captain of the varsity tennis team, National Beta Club, National Honor Society, Spivey Hall Children’s Choir and the National Dance Honor Society. Outside of school, she plays guitar and is on the worship team at Glen Haven Baptist Church and enjoys volunteering with Operation Lunchbox, a non-profit that provides weekend meals for low income school children.  

T. Randall Dennis Scholarship 

Myra Ehrenberg of the Ehrenberg Family Home School in Lilburn is planning to attend Truett McConnell College in Cleveland, Ga. to study education and obtain a teaching degree. She would like to use her education to inspire the next generation to improve relations between society and government. She has attended Teen Pact Leadership School which educates participants how to effectively impact politics. A member of the Beta Club and the Gwinnett County Youth Commission (a county program for introductions to county government roles), Myra also participates in a speech and debate league and coaches youth soccer teams with Upper90. 

Visit to view the winning video submissions and to learn more about this year’s recipients and program details. 

About Georgia United Foundation

Georgia United Foundation is committed to improving the quality of life for children and families in the communities they serve through impactful programs funded through corporate contributions and delivered by way of volunteer efforts from team members and community partners. The foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization and is the philanthropic arm of Georgia United Credit Union. For details on volunteering or donating, visit  

About Georgia United Credit Union

Georgia United Credit Union is an award-winning financial leader and partner in education. Headquartered in Duluth, Georgia United is ranked as one of the state’s largest credit unions with $2 billion in assets and more than 150,000 members. As a full-service financial institution, Georgia United offers competitive products and services for every stage of life. Visit to learn more.