The Huntsman Scholarship Program awarded 19 university and trade school scholarships to Spring Independent School District (ISD) students from the Class of 2023 during its annual awards ceremony Tuesday evening. Now in its third year, the event, held at the Randall Reed Center in Spring, Texas, was attended by scholarship recipients and family members, along with Spring ISD educators and leadership, school board members and Spring ISD Superintendent, Dr. Lupita Hinojosa. Huntsman associates and executives were also in attendance, including Chairman, President and CEO Peter Huntsman.
Sixteen seniors received scholarships of $5,000, renewable for up to four years for a total of $20,000, for attending an accredited college or university and majoring in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) or business-related fields. Three more students received Huntsman Trade Certification scholarships, which awards $1,250 to pursue a certification or vocational track in STEM.
“This scholarship is one that impacts not only the students—making sure they get to a college or university of their choice—but it makes an impact on the entire family,” Dr. Hinojosa said during the awards ceremony. “And when you touch the entire family … now you’re touching the community. As our students succeed, the families succeed, and, ultimately, our community succeeds.”
Peter Huntsman addressed the audience and shared that the origin of the scholarship program began in 2020, initially as a personal examination of how the Huntsman Corporation could help bring people together within a cultural and political landscape where people seemed to be growing more distant from one another. He needed, he added, a broader perspective. Kristina Henshaw, a Huntsman investor relations manager, helped him find it.
“Peter came to me to have an open and honest conversation about some very tough subjects,” Henshaw recounted following the award ceremony. “We had multiple, collaborative conversations exploring how to best position any form of support where it was most needed.”
Spring ISD was a very intentional choice, she added. According to public data, nearly 83% of Spring ISD’s more than 34,000 students are categorized as economically disadvantaged. Nearly 60% of these students are considered at risk of dropping out of school.
Demographically, it is also what Dr. Hinojosa described as a “melting pot.” Hispanic students account for 51.7% of its enrollment and Black and African American students represent 37.9%.
From left to right, Spring ISD Superintendent Dr. Lupita Hinojosa, Huntsman Associate Kristina Henshaw and Huntsman’s Chairman, President and CEO Peter Huntsman, pose together during the Huntsman Scholarship Program’s March 28 award ceremony held at the Randall Reed Center in Spring, Texas.
“These scholarships make a difference,” Henshaw said. “And I’m proud to work for a company that is collaborative and invites perspective and, most importantly, puts its money where its mouth is on these important issues.”
Peter Huntsman’s message to the recipients emphasized his hope that they would use this opportunity to make a difference not only in their own lives, but in the relationships they form going forward.
“I commend each and every one of you. When I’m long gone, I hope that your children will come along and look at your works, your ideas, and your creativity, and thank you for what you’ve done—thanking you for the legacy, not just of academia, but also of kindness, graciousness, forgiveness, and contributing something back to society,” he said.