EL DORADO, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) This day marks the anniversary of El Dorado High School graduates having an opportunity to pursue a college degree without any financial burden.
The El Dorado Promise, a scholarship program funded by the Murphy Oil Corporation, awards every EHS graduate who has continually enrolled in the El Dorado School District since at least ninth grade, a scholarship covering tuition and mandatory fees equal to the highest in-state, public university rate.
Murphy Oil made the surprise announcement to the district 14 years ago.
“On this day in 2007, we were all called to the gymnasium at the old school. We had no clue what was going to happen and then we found out that that year’s seniors and the seniors every year after that could go to college with Murphy Oil,” Director of the El Dorado Promise, Sylvia Thompson said.
Despite the company announcing that it would close its legacy headquarters office in El Dorado and occupy an existing office location in Houston as the new corporate headquarters, the company still intended to continue funding the El Dorado Promise which still remains strong.
According to the district, over 2,850 have benefitted from the promise scholarship. They have gone to 153 different colleges in 35 different states. In 2019, 80 percent of the graduating class attended college.
“It all began with Murphy Oil saying we want to do this for you so our community should forever be grateful for Murphy Oil reaching out to our community in this way,” Thompson said.
All week elementary schools have been celebrating the 14th anniversary of the El Dorado Promise by making videos, creating vision boards, researching colleges and wearing college shirts and other paraphernalia.
“They’re going to get the El Dorado Promise. There’s not a single student in El Dorado that hasn’t known that they could go to college since before they were in kindergarten,” Thompson said. “That shapes a child in their look at the future.”
Kindergarteners at Northwest Elementary celebrated by making a video “ABC’s of what I can be”.