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Daughter of 117 ARW Airman Wins Scholarship

Daughter of 117 ARW Airman Wins Scholarship

Anna Elizabeth Harris, (center) along with father (right) Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Harris of the 117th Air Refueling Wing Maintenance Squadron and mother, (left) displays the 2020 Enlisted National Guard Association/United Service Automobile Association Scholarship at Sumpter Smith JNGB, Birmingham, Alabama May 15, 2020. (U.S. Air National Guard photo)

Daughter of 117 ARW Airman Wins Scholarship

Anna Elizabeth Harris, the daughter of Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Harris of the 117th Air Refueling Wing Maintenance Squadron wins the 2020 Enlisted National Guard Association/United Service Automobile Association Scholarship Sumpter Smith JNGB, Birmingham, Alabama May 15, 2020. (U.S. Air National Guard photo)

SUMPTER SMITH JNGB, Ala. --

Anna Elizabeth Harris received the 2020 Enlisted National Guard Association/United Service Automobile Association Scholarship here on May 15.

The $1000 scholarship was the top award of its kind and the winner was determined by a combination of high school GPA, extracurricular activities and letters of recommendation.

She has received multiple scholarships this year and is the daughter of Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Harris who is assigned to the 117th Maintenance Squadron. Also among her accolades was being a top-five finalist for the National Guard Military Child of the Year Award. The contest had approximately 1,000 entrants and recognizes exceptional young people who make a real difference in their schools and communities.

“Proud does not come close to how I feel about Anna’s accomplishments and more importantly, her character,” said Senior Master Sgt. Harris. “She has worked so hard academically and in our community that I couldn’t imagine being more proud of her.”

Anna graduated from Corner High School with a 4.34 GPA and an advanced academic diploma with honors and distinction. She played on the high school basketball, volleyball and tennis teams in her freshman through junior years. A hip injury kept her out of competition this past year. Anna has also helped special needs children, both in the classroom and being a coach with Special Olympics, and was an assistant coach with science and robotics teams at a local middle school.   

Her other interests led her to be a volunteer as an emergency medical technician with the Bagley Fire Department and she is currently pursuing EMT certification.

“With my dad being in the military and my mom being a teacher, I have been taught service to others over self, and I have always wanted to be in a profession where I could serve others,” said Anna. “When I began volunteering at the fire department, I realized my passion to work in emergency medicine.”

Anna is slated to attend Auburn University studying nursing with a concentration in emergency medicine and flight nurse training. She will enter Auburn as a sophomore due to taking eleven dual enrollment college classes in high school and two courses through the university this summer.

“When I found out about the scholarship, I felt excited and relieved because of the high cost of college, even with scholarships,” said Anna. “This money will go toward my room and board while I am at Auburn.”

Nancy J. Waller, ENGAA Secretary/Treasurer, informed the Harris family that Anna would be receiving the scholarship and presented it to them. Senior Master Sgt. Harris couldn’t think of a better place than the base for his daughter to receive the ENGAA/USAA scholarship. They waited several weeks from the time of notification to meet with Waller for the presentation. The significance of receiving the scholarship on base was felt by both Stephen and Anna.

”I remember having Easter egg hunts at the very spot where I received this scholarship and it was somewhat surreal,” said Anna. “This year has definitely not been the senior year that I had imagined, but receiving this scholarship was a highlight for sure. I know many seniors out there are mourning the loss of their ‘lasts’, but I look at it as no one has had this kind of senior year, so it must mean we are a special group of seniors who will take adversity and make it in to something special in the future.”