When it comes to future goals for Jefferson County Public Schools senior Caden Gunn, the sky is the limit.
Gunn will graduate from Doss High School’s Technical and Design Academy at the end of the school year.
He’s also the winner of the inaugural Louisville Water Company Thomas Family Scholarship.
Gunn was awarded the $10,000 annual scholarship at the YMCA Black Achievers Award Celebration in February.
The scholarship is named in honor of Louisville Water’s earliest documented Black employees: the Thomas family
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“Through Black Achievers, we narrowed the pool of candidates down to seven finalists,” said Louisville Water President & CEO Spencer Bruce. “Then we had a panel of employees who reviewed the remaining candidates and Caden came out on top. This is just one way we’re getting our employees engaged in our community.”
In addition to meeting exceptional grade requirements, applicants had to write an essay.
“Caden’s essay really stood out because he actually wrote about what water means to him and he also made references to the Thomas family, so he obviously did his research,” said Louisville Water Vice President of Communications and Marketing Kelley Dearing Smith. “It was really important for us to honor our history with this scholarship and the legacy of the Thomas family.”
Learning the history behind the scholarship’s namesake was impactful to Gunn.
“Having a scholarship named after the Thomases shows that Louisville Water really cares about Black excellence,” Gunn said.
In the fall, Gunn will be a freshman at Bellarmine University double majoring in computer science and industrial technology.
“Whatever I put my mind to, I accomplish,” he said. “I will be successful.”
When asked what motivates him to excel, Gunn credited his parents.
“My parents are members of the community and anything bad that I do or good that I do, it will impact them,” he said. “I don’t want to disappoint them because they motivate me to be the best.”
With this scholarship, Louisville Water celebrates Gunn’s accomplishments and appreciates that he values water. And as written in his scholarship essay, he understands that water is an essential part of life.
“Clean, safe water is required for all living organisms. Water can affect the earth just as much as plants and animals, and the safety of water itself is comparable to the quality of life. My relationship with water is ideal because of the Louisville Water Company being the reason my city is among the top cities with the safest drinking water which is something I won’t take for granted.” – Caden Gunn