Wayland awards prestigious Houston scholarship to local residents

Wayland Baptist University has awarded the prestigious Mary Jones Houston Scholarship to recent local graduates Sara Gowman and Kristin Hinze.

According the Wayland's Director of Admissions Shawn Thomas, the scholarship covers the tuition expenses for eight semesters for the students, who must maintain a 3.25 grade point average every semester.

"To reward some of Plainview's best students, we give two full-tuition scholarships each year," said Thomas, adding that awards are reserved for local residents. The scholarship is funded by an endowment through the Jesse and Mary Gibbs Jones/Houston Foundation.

Gowman is a 2000 graduate of Plainview High School, where she was involved in National Honor Society, Advanced Placement courses and the Texas Association of Future Educators. She also is a member of the Junior American Cancer Society and the Hale County Junior Literacy Council.

Sara plans to major in education and wants to teach on the elementary level. Her interest in education has developed over several years and was confirmed during work with a classroom at College Hill Elementary as part of a service learning class.

She is the daughter of Ron Gowman, who works in Route Sales for Little Debbie, and Paula Gowman, who works at Larsen International. She has a brother, Michael, who will be a sophomore at PHS. She attends Harvest Christian Fellowship.

Hinze is a 2000 graduate of Plainview Christian High School, where she was active in student council, cheerleading, chorale and National Honor Society and played tennis and volleyball. She advanced to regional competition for short story through the Association of Christian Schools International. She was also named Homecoming Queen her senior year.

Kristin plans to study education and teach on the elementary level. She has worked with students from her mother Pam's third-grade class at Plainview Christian Academy as a tutor and developed a love for teaching.

She is also the daughter of Mike Hinze, who has a dental practice in Hale Center. She has a sister, Michelle, who will be a senior at Wayland. She attends the First Baptist Church in Hale Center.

Both Hinze and Gowman say the scholarship was important to sealing their plans to attend Wayland. Both were planning to attend their freshman year as part of the Plainview Education Partnership program.

"I was probably going to have to go somewhere else after that, but I wanted to stay at Wayland," Gowman said. "I was really excited about the scholarship. I thought I might get something but nothing this large. It was a huge blessing."

Hinze echoed her thoughts.

"I was already interested in Wayland, because it was a smaller place and a Christian school," she said. "My sister, Michelle, had really had a great experience too and that influenced me."

Both girls plan to enroll full-time in the fall semester and live in the dorms.