2016 555 Scholarship Winners: Bios and Photos

District 1 Winner – Heather Cook MHT Ramp

Heather Cook has been a ramp agent at MHT Airport since 2005.

She has been attending Manchester Community College earnings credits towards an associates degree. This fall, Heather was accepted into the nursing program where she will pursue a life long goal of becoming an RN.

While attending school, she will continue working at MHT.


District 2 Winner – Henry Beard
Aaron Beard TPA Ramp

Henry Beard is currently a full time student enrolled at the University of South Florida's main campus in Tampa. He is on track to earn a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science and Physical Therapy. Ultimately, he would like to earn a Doctorate in Sports Medicine. Henry's personal interests are basketball, playing intramural sports, traveling, and outdoor activities.


District 3 Winner – Nicole Vanick
Arthur Vanick MDW Ramp

My name is Nicole Vanick and I'm a 2016 graduate from Marist High School. During my 4 years at Marist, I was involved in many clubs and activities such as Relay for Life and National Honor Society. I'm very excited to be attending my dream school, Clemson University, starting this fall. There I will be majoring in accounting in pursuit of one day becoming a Certified Public Accountant. Even though I was born and raised in Chicago and I love this city with my whole heart, I'm extremely excited to see what my future holds during these next 4 years in South Carolina. Go tigers! 


District 4 Winner – Ricky McCants Jr
Ricky McCants Sr OMA Ramp

I recently graduated from Harry A. Burke High School in Omaha, Nebraska.  I maintained a 3.5 gpa and above while also participating as a Varsity Basketball Player.  This Fall I will be attending the University of Nebraska Lincoln majoring in Business Management.  In my spare time, I enjoy reading books, surfing the internet, and also spending time with my younger brother. I'm very excited for the opportunity to attend college and pursue my goal of becoming a college graduate.


District 5 Winner – Oneida Macias
Eduardo Macias HRL OPS/F

I often skim through an old favorite picture of my grandparents at my uncle’s college graduation. My grandfather, holding a two-year-old in his arms and smiling happily at the camera, is joined by his entire family. My mother has mentioned that it was seldom times that my grandfather would attend events because he was constantly working. The cute baby in his arms is me. He was alive for only 2 years of my life, and I wish I could have known him now as an adult. He gratefully worked 32 years at a funeral home until his untimely death at the age of 54, but he took great pride in his work. I am proud to venture into a field that brought much humility and compassion to my grandfather.

My name is Oneida Macias. I am a recent 2016 graduate of San Benito High School. While in school, I participated in extracurricular activities such as ROTC, raised market rabbits and swine through FFA, and  was a member of the soccer team. I learned lifelong skills that taught teamwork, respect, cooperation, and patience. Although I am young, these skills have taught me to become a better person. I anticipate making mistakes, but I have a great family connection with my parents. Their support system will guide me through to choose wisely in my life. As I embark into this unique field, I can appreciate the empathy and the recognition of our delicate lives, along with how valuable each person is to their families. With great respect for life and to celebrate everyone’s and my grandfather’s legacy, I wish to honor his commitment to this field by pursing my own Associate of Applied Science Degree in Mortuary Science.

Thank you for reading!


District 6 Winner – Taylor Sanchez
Rene Sanchez ELP Ramp

Taylor is a 2016 Eastwood High School graduate and daughter of Rene, a 25 year Southwest Airlines Ramp Agent in El Paso, TX, and Debbie Sanchez. Throughout her high school career, Taylor proved to be very well rounded. She accumulated over 400 hours of community service and was the Secretary for her graduating class, an officer for her school’s drill team, Trooperettes, a writer for the school newspaper, “Eastwood Sabre”, and a member of the National Honor Society, all while maintaining a GPA of 3.8. Her background in and passion for dance has been a perfect fit as she is a Dance Teacher for little girls from ages 3-9. She will continue her education at The University of Texas at Austin and double major in Journalism and Communication/Leadership. Taylor would like to thank TWU 555 for granting her this scholarship and helping her further her academic goals. 


District 7 Winner – Sidney Ann Gardenour 
Melissa Gardenour SMF OPS/F

My name is Sidney, and I graduated from Roseville High School this year with a 4.2 GPA. I will be attending UC Davis in the fall and will be majoring in textiles and clothing in order to achieve my dream of working around something I am passionate about!  Sewing is something I have been doing since I was about seven years old, so it is more than exciting getting the privilege to study textiles and about the fashion industry in college. During my high school career I participated in Key Club community service events, competed at the state level with the Future Business Leaders of America, and was the MVP of the Roseville Joint Union High School District bowling league. I plan to continue my hard work with with both my studies and my extra curricular activities at UC Davis this fall! 


District 8 Winner – Justene Skrentny
Kenneth Skrentny OAK Provo

My name is Justene Skrentny, I am 22 years old and studying at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. I was awarded the TWU Local 555 scholarship for this upcoming school year, 2016-2017. My father, Ken Skrentny, for the last 15 years has been a Southwest Airline Provisioning Agent in Oakland, California. My mother, Theresa Skrentny, operates a home based Family Child Care business for the last 22 years. Growing up with my mom owning her business made me realize that things in this world aren’t handed out freely, you have to work hard to get the results that you want. I have always strived to make good grades, pushing myself to get that A, but knowing it is ok if I got the B. Throughout my schooling I made several life long friendships, who were always very supportive of me. I am grateful to my family and my high school and College professors and friends for their ongoing support and trust in me, that I have chosen a good path for myself. Last year was my first year living independently, in a different area and 6 hours away from home. My parents were there for moving me in and making sure that everything that I needed for my first time living on my own was there. It wasn’t until they actually left to drive home that it hit me, “I won’t have the comfort of coming home and talking to my parents”. That hit me hard and it made me realize how much I really appreciate my parents. When my dad called me up with the information about the TWU local 555 scholarship I didn’t even question doing the submission. I wanted to help my parents as much as I could financially. I feel that being an adult I should be helping out my parents, but at the same time they want to see me reach my goals without worrying about finances. When my Dad informed me that I was awarded the TWU local 555 scholarship I was speechless. I was at work and couldn’t hold in my happiness about being awarded this scholarship, it will be used towards my tuition and will help to alleviate some financial burden. Going to Humboldt State University has been the best decision I have made. I have met amazing people and became friends with them and even with teachers, I am majoring in Child Development and minoring in American Sign Language. After I graduate from Humboldt State University, I plan on getting my Special Education Credential for Mild to Moderate Disabilities. I feel that children with special needs are amazing children and I have learned so much from them already, it will be very fulfilling to teach them and I am sure my career choice will make my life even more complete. With being awarded the TWU Local 555 scholarship, I can see my future coming more into focus.