West Rusk superintendent on scholarship deadline: 'We have trust - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

West Rusk superintendent on scholarship deadline: 'We have trust' in benefactor


With the deadline for East Texas Baptist University to receive scholarship money promised to local students looming, so far, the university said they have not seen any money.

West Rusk seniors were promised a free ride to ETBU in May, but since then, the benefactor has been silent.

West Rusk superintendent Tommy Alexander said he maintains faith that the deal will go through.

"We have trust in them," said Alexander. "We believe them when they tell you something is going to happen."

In May, West Rusk alum Robert Jordan announced that benefactor Nicholas Sturghill would pay for certain students' educations at ETBU in full. But since then, ETBU said they have not seen any money.

"We have not received any instruction since the very beginning, from May 29, considering the gift of the scholarship or how to distribute it," said ETBU spokesman Mike Midkiff.

Parents said their biggest problem is the uncertainty of the situation. One mom posted an open letter online, calling on Sturghill and Jordan to let them know what is going to happen.

"Some of these kids have overcome some pretty big obstacles just to graduate," said parent Daelynn Williams. "I kind of wanted them to know that these were young people that have a reason to go through with this."

Sturghill, an independent filmmaker in Houston, has had financial troubles before. According to court records, his production company was sued as recently as 2011 for breach of contract, ending in a judgment of over $400,000.

If Wednesday's deadline is missed, parent will have to either pay up or make other plans.

"Universities make their plans and decisions about who is coming for the fall and so they have to put deadlines for students to get their payments in," Midkiff said.

After two months of praying the deal goes through, it all comes down to one more day.

"Time will tell," Alexander said. "Time will tell."

But it is time that is quickly running out.

Both ETBU and Superintendent Tommy Alexander said they have not spoken to Sturghill following the deal's announcement, instead going through his representative in the deal, Robert Jordan.

Neither Sturghill or his representative returned calls for comment on Tuesday.

Tuesday evening, ETBU and community members established a donation account, asking the public to make donations to help cover some of the costs that were originally expected to be covered by the promised scholarships. More info on the fund is available on the group's Facebook page.

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