Louisville Senior Erik Ballard wins $10K Thomas Family Scholarship

image of Erik Ballard at Black achievers award
photo by Clinton Bennett Photography

duPont Manual High School senior Erik Ballard won a $10,000 scholarship sponsored by Louisville Water at the 44th Annual YMCA Black Achievers Awards Celebration held at the Galt House on Feb. 18.

The Thomas Family scholarship is named after the first black family on Louisville Water’s payroll dating back to 1872. This is Louisville Water’s third year partnering with the YMCA Black Achievers Program.

To qualify for the scholarship, Ballard wrote several essays, including one on the importance of water in the environment.

“Water is the most important aspect of every ecosystem on the planet,” he wrote. “The health and safety of our water is a very serious issue that I believe is not discussed enough.”

According to Ballard’s application packet, he battled health adversities during high school but persevered to maintain a 3.5 GPA.

Louisville Water Digital Media Specialist Lauren Horton chaired the Thomas Family Scholarship selection committee. Ballard was the best of five applicants for the scholarship this year.

“He’s an aspiring engineer and that’s one of the things we look for when selecting a candidate because engineering is a part of what we do here at Louisville Water,” Horton said. “He also volunteers with community organizations while keeping a high GPA. We’re excited to help him advance in the next stage of his educational journey.”

At the end of the school year, Louisville Water will officially present the scholarship to Ballard upon his graduation, along with a followup article on his college choice and future career goals.