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Taco Announces 2017 Student Scholarship Award Winners

The scholarships provide college funding assistance for children of Taco employees -- in-college and college-bound students who combine scholastic achievement with volunteerism and community service.

Taco Comfort Solutions announced the winners of its annual Taco Student Scholarship Awards, which provide college funding assistance for children of Taco employees. Equal cash scholarships are given to in-college and college-bound students who combine scholastic achievement with volunteerism and community service.

The Taco Scholarship Awards were established in 2003 by Executive Chairman John Hazen White Jr. Blind entries are judged by a two-person committee with distinguished educational backgrounds. A total of four students are selected each year. Students receive an application to complete and must provide a school transcript and two letters of recommendation.

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Taco Comfort Solutions owner and Executive Chairman John Hazen White Jr. poses with Taco Student Scholarship Award recipients and their Taco employee fathers. From left to right: Jim Hoskins and son Jason Hopkins of Coventry, R.I.; White; and Madison Davis and Tim Davis of Huntersville, N.C.

This year the judges selected the following winners:

Jason Hoskins of Coventry, R.I., son of Taco Cranston Product Engineer Jim Hoskins and his wife Christine Hoskins. Jason Hoskins earned the Thomas J. Farrell Scholarship given to the student who best “exemplifies the spirit of community service by contributing his/her time and talents in the service of others while achieving academic excellence.” The award is given in honor of Thomas Farrell, former dean of arts and sciences at Johnson & Wales University and past president of the Taco/White Family Foundation.

A 2017 National Honor Society graduate of Coventry High School and his class valedictorian, Hoskins will attend the University of Pennsylvania this fall and intends to major in biology and human behavior. While in high school, he volunteered for the RI Special Olympics and was active in aid relief efforts providing vision care/screenings in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. 

Madison Davis of Huntersville, N.C., daughter of Cranston, R.I.-based Business Development & Regional Sales Manager Tim Davis and his wife Shannon Davis. A 2017 National Honor Society graduate of the Community School of Davidson, N.C., Madison Davis will be attending the College of Charleston’s Honors College as a William Aiken Fellow, majoring in biology and international studies with a goal of becoming a physician working for an international relief organization such as Doctors Without Borders.

She was captain of her high school’s swim team, a member of student government and the school band (flute), and created the school’s Biology Club. During her high school years, she volunteered with the Davidson Community Garden Program, the Rocky River Discovery Trail (providing equine therapy services to special needs children) and the Huntersville Medical Center.

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The Fishburn family of Plymouth, Ind., with Taco Comfort Solutions scholarship winners Kyle Fishburn (center) and sister Jennifer Fishburn (right front) holding their framed awards. Tim Fishburn (right back) is a machinist for Taco Hydroflo Pumps.

Jennifer and Kyle Fishburn of Plymouth, Ind., children of Taco Hydroflo Pumps Machinist Tim Fishburn and his wife Georgana Fishburn. Jennifer Fishburn is a sophomore at Purdue University majoring in plant science with a minor in plant biology-crop science. She maintains a GPA of 3.62 while also serving as a teaching assistant for an Intro to Plant Science course. She is a member of the Purdue University Bands and Orchestra, playing flute and piccolo.

She is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and has earned the National Engaged Leader Award for participating in community service activities. Her career ambition, after graduate studies, is to become a plant pathologist or plant ecologist helping to preserve plants.

Kyle Fishburn is a graduate of Argos Community Jr-Sr. High School in Argos, Ind. He plans to join his sister at Purdue University this fall to study environmental and natural resources planning. He was president of his senior class and played varsity soccer, along with captaining both the baseball and basketball teams at Argo.

“One of the most important things that Taco does is to assist our employees and their families, because without their contributions Taco could not prosper and succeed,” White said, speaking at the scholarship awards dinner in Providence. R.I., with recipients and their families. “Like our summer camps for kids and educational advancement opportunities provided to our employees, these scholarship awards are meant to give back, to provide support for the things that really matter to families. Our scholarship recipients are extremely talented and deserving of our support, especially because each of them wants to work to make the world a better place.”

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