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Georgia United Foundation Announces 2020 Scholarship Recipients

Apr 30, 2020

Duluth, GA – Georgia United Foundation is excited to name four Georgia high school seniors as recipients of their 2020 High School Scholarship Competition. This marks the 26th year of their scholarship program, named for the credit union’s founder, Vernon E. Carne and notable board members Geraldine Tilson, Dorothy Dusenberry Pirkle and Polly Hinde. 

Recipients were selected based on a one-minute creative video submission describing how they will use their education to help their community, with additional consideration given to academic accomplishments and demonstrated leadership and participation in both school and community activities.

 “We are honored to continue our long-standing tradition of offering scholarships to help our high school members further their education. This year’s recipients showed outstanding creativity, strong academic and leadership skills, with solid plans to give back to their community,” shared Georgia United President and CEO, Debbie Smith.

Congratulations to the 2020 Georgia United Foundation Scholarship recipients:

Caleb Middleton receives the Vernon E. Carne Scholarship for $10,000.

Middleton is a senior at Stilwell High School of the Arts in Clayton County who is active in various school clubs including: Student Council, Senior Beta Club, Stilwell News Team, International Club, Singing Brothers of Stilwell, Jazz Band and Advanced Mixed Chorus. Middleton can be found volunteering at local schools teaching students piano and leading at Impact Church where he holds responsibilities as praise and worship youth music director. Middleton also holds the title of president and CEO of his nonprofit corporation, Music Matters2, Inc., which encourages music in public schools by providing them with musical directors and assisting with their theatrical performances. With a major in orchestral conducting from University of Michigan, Middleton plans to improve his community by creating a youth orchestra and performing arts center to inspire at-risk youth through music.

“Success is in not about what you accomplish in life, it is about what you inspire others to do,” shared Middleton. “With the Vernon E. Carne Scholarship, I plan to attend the University of Michigan and apply the award towards my tuition. Upon graduation, my ultimate goal is to create a youth orchestra that would target at-risk youth as performers in my community. Music does matter in our community.”


Emily Allen receives the Geraldine Tilson Scholarship for $7,500.      

Emily Allen attends Southeast Whitfield High School in Whitfield County and has been named Senior Class President of her graduating class. In addition to this noteworthy position, Allen holds the title of DECA president, AP Scholar and is a member of Key Club, National Honor Society and Raider Ambassadors Service Committee. Logging more than 400 hours across 25 organizations, Allen volunteers with a variety of charities that serve disadvantaged children and teens, participates in fundraising activities for literacy access in local elementary schools, teaches creative-movement classes to three-year-olds and supports food and clothing drives – just to name a few. After obtaining a degree in public relations from the University of Georgia, Allen intends to improve her community by connecting businesses and government to create a unified fight against poverty so that citizens can live independent and productive lives.

“I am so blessed to be given this opportunity! This scholarship helps me to make my interest in communicative studies a reality with a reduced financial burden on my family,” stated Allen. “I am so grateful to the Georgia United Credit Union Foundation for the honor and the community at Southeast High School for the encouragement.”  


Kathleen Cappello receives the Dorothy Dusenberry Pirkle Scholarship for $5,000.    

Kathleen Cappello is a senior at Lambert High School in Forsyth County. Actively involved in Varsity Track and Field, Cappello has been awarded three varsity shot-put and three varsity discus letter marks. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Girls Who Code and Recycling Club. Cappello volunteers with the Girl Scouts and YMCA Teen Leaders Club, is a camp counselor and basketball coach. With a major in environmental engineering at Georgia Southern, Cappello intends to help her community become less reliant on fossil fuels and work directly with engineers to help Georgia’s hydro-electric dams work more efficiently. In addition, her career aspirations include creating, developing and designing new, sustainable energy plants.

“I am very excited to pursue my academic career at Georgia Southern University, this scholarship that Georgia United has graciously awarded me will go a long way to help fund my dreams,” shared Cappello.


Denny Woong receives the Polly Hinde Scholarship for $5,000.    

Denny Woong is a senior at Duluth High School in Gwinnett County who promotes STEM education by assisting teachers and mentoring students at local elementary and middle schools. Woong is member of a number of clubs and holds the title of Robotics Team President for FIRST Robotics Competition Team, National Honors Society Secretary and Tri-M Music Honor Society Secretary. Active in BETA and Interact Club, Woong volunteers his talents by translating Vietnamese at parent-teacher conferences, organizing charity walks and festivals, supporting local food banks, tutoring students and playing the viola with the Duluth High Chamber Orchestra. Woong will attend Stanford, where he will major in mechanical engineering to pursue his career goal as a robotics engineer and serve as a mentor for the network of robotics teams. In addition, Woong aspires to further expand programs in STEM education so future students will also be inspired to improve their community.

"Georgia United's Scholarship will allow me to focus on my schoolwork without the worry of having to pay for it," said Woong.

Visit to view the winning video submissions and to learn more about this year’s recipients and program details.  

About the Georgia United Foundation:

Georgia United Foundation is committed to improving the quality of life for children and families in the communities they serve through impactful programs funded and delivered through volunteerism by way of corporate contributions, team members and community efforts.  The Foundation is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization and is the philanthropic arm of Georgia United Credit Union. For details on volunteering, participating or donating, visit

About Georgia United Credit Union:

Georgia United Credit Union is an award-winning financial leader and partner in education. Headquartered in Duluth, Georgia United is ranked as one of the state’s largest credit unions with $1.4 billion in assets, 165,000 members and 19 branch locations.  As a full-service financial institution, they offer competitive products and services for every stage of life. Visit to learn more and follow the credit union on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.