Alondra Barrera Garcia’s dedication to the study of environmental science has earned her a $1,000 scholarship awarded by Teresa Myrick and established to honor a hard-working student in a field of study important to Teresa’s husband, Tim Myrick.
Alondra, a May graduate of Oak Ridge High School, plans to attend Berea College in Kentucky this fall, where she will major in environmental science and sustainability. She was a student in Deni Sobek’s Advanced Placement Environmental Science class at the high school.
“The class assured me that this is what I wanted to dedicate my life to,” Alondra said. “I would like to use my interest in the environment to aid it and solve the problems that affect it, and hopefully make the world a more sustainable planet, to ensure that it will be safe and healthy for future generations.”
In 2012, Myrick and his wife Teresa pledged $25,000 to the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation’s “Making the Critical Difference” campaign for grants and scholarships. Their pledge provides an annual scholarship to a top AP Environmental Science student, as well as grant funds to be awarded to ORHS Science Department applicants. Alondra is the seventh recipient of the Myricks’ AP Environmental Science scholarship, with previous scholarships presented through ADFAC, or Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties.
Tim Myrick, who passed away last December, was a guest lecturer and advisor to the high school’s advanced placement class. He was interested in making sure that the students and faculty of the ORHS science department were well-equipped and in rewarding high-caliber students.
Before he retired from Oak Ridge National Laboratory as director of facility strategic planning, Myrick served as a loaned executive to the school system, helping oversee the design and reconstruction of the high school. He continued in that role after he retired in 2004.
A former science teacher, noting his passion for designing the high school with environmental concerns and energy savings in mind, invited him to help with an AP environmental science class once a week. Myrick accepted and served as a volunteer teacher and mentor to students from 2008 until shortly before his death. He gave lectures, participated in field studies, or discussed ongoing environmental management projects with students.
Alondra did not have Myrick as a guest lecturer, but she said she did hear of “the wonderful impact he made on some of my friends’ lives.”
The daughter of Maria Garcia, Alondra said she hopes to continue her studies of environmental science through graduate school. At Oak Ridge High School, she was vice president of the French Club, lettered in Track and Field, and was involved in the GSTA Club as an ally. She was a co-founder of the first Youth Pride Festival in East Tennessee. She also volunteered at Girls Inc., where she taught French.
Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation invests in the Oak Ridge Public Schools beyond what public tax dollars can provide to ensure the highest quality of education for Oak Ridge students. The Foundation raises funds through grants and private donations such as those made by Tim and Teresa Myrick. The Foundation then invests in enhanced educational programming, innovative technology, and state of the art facilities for teachers and students. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.orpsef.org or contact Jessica Steed at (865) 241-3667.